The Titans kept their playoff hopes alive as they swept a doubleheader against the visiting Pacific Tigers by taking game two in comeback fashion in a 3-2 victory Friday night at Anderson Field.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama came through with a clutch two-run single to center field to give the Titans the 3-2 lead and eventual victory after a costly error on a routine pop-fly by shortstop Megan Allen.
“You know when Ariel has that look in her eye she is just going to produce, and that was beautiful,” said Head Coach Kelly Ford. “That pitch was off the plate and she just threw her hands and got a good piece of the ball and scored two for the win.”
The Titans (26-27, 11-10) struck first again as shortstop Gaby Aragon hit a line drive shot over the left field fence to give the Titans a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. The Titans put two runners on second and third base later in the inning but were unable to drive any of them home.
The Tigers (28-25, 12-9) didn’t lie down quietly as in the top of the third inning they quickly answered right back with a blooper that dropped out of the reach of the diving center fielder Ashley Carter that scored a runner from third base to tie the game at one.
The Titans had a chance to put more runs on the board in the bottom half of the inning but once again stranded two runners on base.
Pacific then made the Titans pay for their inefficiencies as they put another run on the board in the top of the fifth inning on a two out rally that was started with a single by second baseman Alexi Johnson. The single was then followed by a huge double by center fielder Megan Hom to score Johnson from first base for the 2-1 lead.
After stranding two more runners in the bottom of the fifth, the Titans finally got a clutch hit with Tsuchiyama’s two-run single in the bottom of the sixth to give the Titans the 3-2 win and the doubleheader sweep.
“We kind of struggled with not being able to score runners up and down, and this time we knew we were just going to end up doing it and we had confidence,” Tsuchiyama said. “I was just seeing the ball really well and it was about time as I was struggling lately and I’ve been working really hard and I knew this was my time.”
Titan starting pitcher Monique Wesley and reliever Desiree Ybarra kept the Tigers honest all game. Wesley allowed only two runs on six hits with one walk in 4.1 innings pitched. Ybarra finished the game with no hits allowed on two walks in 1.2 innings pitched and earned the win, her eighth of the season and second win on the day.
Jasmine Antunez then came in to shut the door in the top of the seventh inning as she allowed no hits on one walk for her second save of the season.
The Titans now look to add more wins to their current four-game winning streak after finishing the series sweep of Pacific with a 5-2 victory on Saturday as they push for the playoffs.
The Titans will wrap up their regular season next weekend, as they will play host to the visiting Cal State Northridge Matadors at Anderson Field starting with a doubleheader this Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. while the second game is scheduled for 6 p.m.