The Cal State Fullerton softball team returned to Anderson Family Field Thursday after a three-game road swing to San Luis Obispo and kept the Santa Clara Broncos’ disappointing season going with a 12-4 rout.
“We had a very calmed, relaxed approach about us and that definitely showed on the field and it reflected on the score,” sophomore Samantha Galarza said.
Head Coach Kelly Ford elected to go with Christina Washington (10-5) to start in the circle, and the freshman did not disappoint. Washington tossed four innings and surrendered only one run while striking out two batters.
The game was lopsided from the get-go. After the Broncos (7-31, 2-7 West Coast) were sat down in order in the first inning, the Titans (28-20-1, 8-7 Big West) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard.
A single by senior shortstop Gabby Aragon and a double by sophomore Samantha Galarza gave the Titans their first two runs of the game.
The Broncos avoided a potential blowout inning by managing to strike out senior Jena Rubio with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Titans put the Broncos back on their heels again in the second inning. They doubled their output of the previous inning with four runners crossing home plate to make it 6-0. The big blow came off the bat of Galarza, who ripped a two-run homer that stayed just inside the left-field foul pole.
“I figured she was going to come with a first pitch strike so I just figured to hop on that,” Galarza said. “You can be ready but you just have to believe it’s possible, and that’s the key there.”
Santa Clara starting pitcher Ciara Gonzales (4-16) was chased after just 1.2 innings. Gonzales was charged with the loss after giving up five earned runs on seven hits.
It took until the third inning for the Broncos to finally tag Washington for a run. Small-ball paid off for Santa Clara when Rochelle Rivera moved Casandra Padilla over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Breezy Bernard broke up Washington’s shutout with a single to right-center field.
CSUF answered back in the bottom of the inning, tacking on two more runs to give the Titans an 8-1 advantage. The outburst provided plenty of run support for Washington and gave her a boost in the circle.
“When your team is hitting just backing you up with that much support, you just go out there and you’re so confident. It makes you feel great as a pitcher,” Washington said.
Santa Clara pressured again in the fourth. A single and a double put runners on second and third, but Krista Jensen struck out on three straight pitches to end the threat.
The Titans not only set themselves up for a run-rule victory in the fourth, but they gave themselves a cushion after plating four more runs with a furious two-out rally. CSUF knocked two singles and worked four walks with two outs to pad its lead to 12-1.
Ford inserted sophomore pitcher Monique Wesley to shut the door on Santa Clara in the fifth.
The Broncos would not lie down, though, and almost clawed their way out of a run-rule loss. Padilla started the inning with a triple and Bernard knocked her in with a single.
The Titan fans were quieted after Stephanie Fisher blasted a two-run homer over the center field wall, but came back to life after Wesley struck out the next two batters to complete CSUF’s ninth run-rule win of the season.
“We’ve had some really great games and this was one that will go down in history as one of those offensive feel-good games,” Ford said.
For more information on the CSUF softball team and all Titan Athletics, go to FullertonTitans.com.