Softball splits doubleheader to take conference opening series

In Sports
The Titans didn’t get the best pitching over the weekend, but still won two of three weekend games. AMANDA SHARP / Daily Titan
The Titans didn’t get the best pitching over the weekend, but still won two of three weekend games.
AMANDA SHARP / Daily Titan

The Cal State Fullerton softball team split a doubleheader against Hawaii Saturday in Honolulu.

The Titans (23-14-1, 4-2 Big West) turned to sophomore Jasmine Antunez to start in the circle. She allowed a leadoff home run to freshman center fielder Lindsey Willmon.

Antunez followed the homer by hitting senior second baseman Jazmine Zamora with a pitch. Antunez walked back-to-back Rainbow Wahine hitters later in the inning to load the bases. She hit freshman left fielder Ulu Matagiese with a pitch to bring in another run.

Head Coach Kelly Ford pulled Antunez after the hit batter and gave the ball to freshman Christina Washington. Washington got out of the first inning without any further damage.

Freshman Heather Morales started in the circle for the Rainbow Wahine. Despite giving up three hits, she kept the Titans off the scoreboard through the first three innings.

Senior shortstop Gabby Aragon hit a leadoff home run in the top of the fourth inning to end Morales’s shutout bid.

Washington ran into trouble in the fifth inning. Sophomore Keiki Carlos led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Junior first baseman Leisha Li’ili’i hit a sacrifice fly to extend the Hawaii lead to 3-1.

The Titans rallied in the sixth though. They opened the inning with singles by Aragon and sophomore second baseman Samantha Galarza. Senior right fielder Lauren Mario hit a three-run homer to give the Titans a 4-3 lead.

Washington retired the first two Rainbow Wahine hitters in the sixth inning. She then allowed back-to-back singles to Zamora and Carlos. Li’ili’i drove in both runners with a double to put Hawaii back in the lead at 5-4.
Sophomore first baseman Melissa Sechrest blasted a solo homer in the top of the seventh to tie the game at five apiece.

Senior right fielder Sharla Kliebenstein reached on a fielding error by sophomore third baseman Missy Taukeiaho in the bottom of the seventh. Willmon drove Kliebenstein in with a walk-off single to give the Rainbow Wahine a win that evened the series.

In the second game, the Rainbow Wahine (19-16, 4-2) turned to sophomore Corona High School alumna Loie Kesterson to pitch.

The Titans jumped on Kesterson early. Taukeiaho hit a leadoff double. Sechrest continued her hot hitting and drove in Taukeiaho to give the Titans an early 1-0 lead.

Sophomore Monique Wesley took the circle for the Titans. She had a strong first two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three batters.

The Titans broke away from Hawaii in the third inning. Taukeiaho hit a leadoff single. Senior catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama followed with a single of her own. Taukeiaho scored on a fielding error by Willmon.

Aragon hit a double which scored Tsuchiyama. Galarza drove in Sechrest with a single and Mario drove in Aragon with a double. Junior Carissa Turang drove in two Titan runners with a double.

Hawaii Head Coach Bob Coolen pulled Kesterson and brought in Carlos to pitch. After an RBI single by Taukeiaho and a two RBI single by Tsuchiyama, the Titans held a 10-0 lead.

After a sacrifice fly by Sechrest, Coolen put Kesterson back in to pitch. Aragon hit a sacrifice fly to give the Titans a 12-0 lead. Kesterson got Mario to pop out to stop the bleeding for the Rainbow Wahine.

Wesley allowed back-to-back home runs to Willmon and Zamora in the bottom of the third to cut the Titan lead to 10. Matagiese hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to make it 12-3.

Kesterson and Wesley both pitched a perfect fifth inning to end the rout.

Eleven different Titans scored a run in the series win and seven Titans drove in runs.

The Titans will return to Anderson Field for a non-conference game Thursday against UCLA and a conference series against UC Riverside starting Saturday.

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