The Cal State Fullerton softball team returned home from their seven-game road trip to end a four-game skid in dominating fashion.
The Titans were back to Anderson Family Field over the weekend, earning an important three-game sweep against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The Titans earned a 5-4 victory Saturday, before taking the Sunday doubleheader by scores of 4-1 and 6-3, respectively.
Saturday’s back-and-forth encounter saw the return of redshirt junior pitcher Desiree Ybarra, who had not featured for Fullerton since a March 25 victory over Cal State Bakersfield. Things started off well for Ybarra, who managed one strikeout in the top of the first inning.
The Titans, however, were forced into an early deficit in the top of the second. After a quick two outs to open up the inning, Ybarra gave up a double, a walk and a single to load the bases for the Mustangs. She then gave up another single to Emily Ceccacci, whose hit up the middle drove in Breana West and put Cal Poly in the lead, 1-0.
Fullerton finally responded in the bottom of the third, thanks to junior outfielder Courtney Rodriguez. With the bases loaded, Rodriguez hit an RBI groundout that allowed Brooke Clemetson to cross home and tie things up at 1-1.
The Titans again fell behind in the top of the fifth inning. Ashley Torino hit a 2-RBI single to center field that gave the Mustangs a 3-1 lead. West then doubled to right center to drive in Stephanie Heyward and extend the lead to three.
Thankfully for Fullerton, the team was able to respond with three runs of their own in the bottom of the same inning. Rodriguez was the catalyst once more, hitting an RBI single that drove in Paige Kisling and cut the deficit to 4-2. Sarah Moore then managed two RBIs to level the game.
Ybarra was withdrawn in the top of the sixth to make way for Cerissa Rivera. Ybarra finished her return game with a walk and four earned runs on nine hits.
A wild pitch in the bottom of the inning allowed Gabrielle Rodas to cross home and give the Titans their first lead of the game at 5-4. Fullerton would hold on to the lead, notching the win in the process.
Rivera started in the circle Sunday in a game that saw the Titans take a lead they would not surrender.
Rodriguez again played the role of hero in the bottom of the fourth inning. In her second at-bat of the game, Rodriguez smashed a homer to left center field that gave her team the 1-0 lead.
A 2-RBI double from junior Missy Taukeiaho in the bottom of the fifth drove in Kisling and Samantha Vandiver and increased the lead to three. Moore then drove in Rodriguez in the same inning to make it a 4-0 game.
Cal Poly’s Chelsea Convissar hit a homer of her own in the top of the sixth to bring the score to 4-1, but her effort was not enough as neither team scored any more runs and the Titans walked away with their second win of the series.
Sophomore Christina Washington returned to pitching duties in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader.
Things got off to a hot start once again for the Titans, who took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning courtesy of a Melissa Sechrest home run to right center field. Sechrest was on fire, notching her second homer of the game in the bottom of the fourth to make it 2-0 for Fullerton.
Cal Poly struggled to respond, managing only four hits through the first five innings, all of which failed to put up runs.
Where the Mustangs struggled, the Titans prospered. Fullerton tacked on four more runs in the fifth inning.
Clemetson started the scoring by reaching home off a fielding error. Rodriguez and Moore crossed home and made it 5-0 with the help of a 2-RBI single down the left field line from second baseman Samantha Galarza. Sechrest crossed home and made it 6-0 thanks to a Rodas single.
Washington, however, was perhaps guilty of taking her foot off the gas and gave the Titans a scare in the top of the seventh as a result.
Washington gave up a homer to Amanda Sandoval, whose bomb to left field made it a 6-1 game. Washington then gave up another homer, this time to Convissar. Convissar’s home run also drove in Ceccacci to halve the Mustang deficit.
Despite there being only one out remaining in the game, Fullerton Head Coach Kelly Ford decided to take no chances and withdrew Washington in favor of Rivera.
Rivera stemmed the Cal Poly run, allowing the Titans to walk away with the final 6-3 victory. With the win, the Titans climbed to third in the Big West Conference.
The Titans will next travel north to UC Davis for a three-game series against the Aggies.