LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton softball team received a pair of strong performances from pitchers Desiree Ybarra and Cerissa Rivera as the Titans shut down Mississippi State, 2-0, and Princeton, 4-0, Saturday at the Louisville Slugger Invitational hosted by Long Beach State.
Cal State Fullerton's pitching helped the Titans improve to 16-8 on the year, while the Bulldogs of Mississippi State dropped to 18-4, and the Tigers of Princeton fell to 3-7.
Game 1: Cal State Fullerton 2, Mississippi State 0
The Titans handed the Bulldogs, who are receiving votes in the national poll, just their fourth loss of the season as Ybarra (4-4) kept Mississippi State scoreless in the seven-inning affair.
Ybarra was masterful in the circle scattering just four hits over 7.0 innings of work, while allowing three strikeouts and a trio of walks.
The product out of Riverside, Calif., did not allow a base runner until the fourth inning after pitching 3.0 perfect frames.
Alexis Silkwood (0-1) got the start for the Bulldogs and kept the Titans off the board until the third inning when she allowed a lead off walk to Sydney Colenzo. Ariana Williams, who pinch ran for Colenzo, moved to second on a one-out single to right-center from Delynn Rippy and the pair scored on a two-out double off the wall by Missy Taukeiaho.
Taukeiao's two-run double would prove to be the difference in the game as neither team would allow another run throughout.
Following the two-run third inning, Silkwood regained her composure and never allowed a base hit for the remainder of the game. The Titans' only base runners following the three-hit frame, would come in the form of base on balls.
Ybarra got into a few jams in the fourth and fifth, but managed to keep the Bulldogs from scoring. She relied on her defense as Mississippi State left the bases loaded in the fourth and runners at the corners in the fifth.
Ybarra earned the win after pitching her fifth complete-game and second shutout of the season.
Silkwood suffered the loss after surrendering two runs on three hits in 7.0 innings pitched. She walked three and fanned two.
Taukeiaho, Alexis Gonzalez and Rippy were the only Titans to collect a hit in the game. Taukeiaho finished batting 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Game 2: Cal State Fullerton 4, Princeton 0
Following their shutout win over Mississippi State, the Titans came right back out and received another solid outing in the circle, this time from Rivera (1-1) who also threw a complete-game shutout en route to earning the win over Princeton.
Rivera held the Tigers scoreless allowing just two hits in 7.0 innings of work. She struck out six batters and walked just one.
Cal State Fullerton's offense did its job providing run support for Rivera as the Titans tallied their first run of the game in the fourth inning.
Gonzalez led off the frame with a single to right and Williams came in as a pinch runner. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and moved to third on a grounder to second. With catcher Kylie Padilla at the plate, the Princeton shortstop committed a fielding error, which allowed Padilla to reach, while Williams scored.
The Titans added three more insurance runs in the fifth after Princeton's starting pitcher Shanna Christian (2-3) gave up back-to-back singles then loaded the bases with a walk as Taukeiaho stepped to the plate.
The senior third baseman laced a two-run double to leftfield and advanced to third on the throw that caught the runner, Samantha Vandiver, heading home.
With one out and Taukeiaho at third, Gonzalez doubled her home to plate the third run of the frame and give the Titans a 4-0 lead over the Tigers.
With a four-run cushion, Rivera continued to shutout the Tigers and earned her first win of the year while collecting her first complete-game shutout.
Christian suffered the loss after pitching 5.1 innings of work and allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits. She walked two and struck out two.
Ashley La Guardia came on in relief of Christian and pitched 1.2 innings, allowing just one hit and fanning one.
Fullerton finished the game with nine hits as Taukeiaho, Gonzalez and Shianne Brannan each collected a pair.
Cal State Fullerton looks to continue its winning ways on the final day of the Louisville Slugger Invitational on Sunday, March 13 against Iowa State (9 a.m.) and Mississippi State (11:30 a.m.) at the 49er Softball Complex.