May 14, 2011
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FULLERTON, CA - Seniors K.C. Craddick and Torrie Anderson each finished with three hits and ignited a frantic Cal State Fullerton rally in the bottom of the seventh, but Cal State Northridge rebounded to strand the tying and winning runs on base to claim the final regular season series for both teams with a 4-3 victory on Saturday afternoon at Anderson Family Field.
The Titans finished 2011 with a 23-24 overall record, eliminating them from postseason consideration, and 12-9 in Big West Conference play, a three-game improvement from a season ago, good for a third-place finish in the league after being picked sixth by a vote of the conference's coaches prior to the season.
The Matadors finished their regular season 22-31 overall and 10-11 in Big West play, good for fifth place in the standings.
After digging themselves an early hole, Fullerton almost came all the way back, breaking up Northridge's bid for a second-straight shutout with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Anderson reached on an infield hit and moved to second when freshman Lauren Mario drew a one-out walk. That brought up freshman Leesa Harris, who chopped a ball off the tip of the third baseman's glove and into no-man's land, allowing Anderson to score and make it a 4-1 ballgame.
A double play got the Titans out of trouble in the top of the seventh and set the stage for their last half-inning. Craddick singled through the left side to start the inning and pinch-runner Jena Rubio moved up 60 feet on Nicole Johnson's single to center, knocking starter Mia Pagano (2-3) from the game. Morgan LeMond then tallied Fullerton's third-straight hit off reliever Hannah Fraijo, driving home Rubio to make it 4-2 and moving Johnson all the way to third with nobody out.
Anderson kept the hit parade going, singling to right centerfield to score Johnson and make it a one-run game. That hit chased Fraijo from the game in favor of Carly Wade, who shutout the Titans on Friday night in game two despite allowing 10 hits, and she was able to shut the door, getting a controversial batters interference call for the first out and then a pair of ground balls to end the game and nail down her third save of the year.
Pagano earned her second win of the year, allowing three earned on 11 hits, walking four and striking out two in six innings. Senior Ari Cervantes (16-14) suffered the loss for the Titans, allowing three earned on five hits in 3 2/3 innings before giving way to Katey Laban in the fourth, who kept her side in the game by surrendering just three hits and striking out two in 3 1/3 innings of work.
Northridge struck first with single runs in the second and third innings on a bases loaded walk to Kristen Mihm and a run-scoring double by Madeline Sale for the quick 2-0 lead. Mihm made it 3-0 in the fourth with an RBI double and later scored on Samantha Sloniker's double to the gap in left centerfield for a 4-0 advantage.
Craddick and Anderson were joined in the multi-hit club by Ashley Carter and Harris, who finished with two hits apiece for Fullerton, which pounded out double-digit hits for the second consecutive game and the fourth time in the last seven contests.
Tracy Allen, Jennifer Mosier, and Mihm each finished with two hits apiece to lead the Matadors.