It was the bottom of the sixth on March 30, 2014 at Anderson Family Field. The score was tied at seven, and Cal State Fullerton was up to bat. Runners were on second and third when redshirt senior Gabby Aragon came to the plate.
UC Santa Barbara pitcher Shelby Wisdom intentionally walked Aragon to load the bases. Second baseman Samantha Galarza, a sophomore at the time, was now at the plate.
Up to this point, Galarza was 0-for-3 with two fly outs and a strikeout. With the bases juiced, Galarza made UCSB pay with a booming shot that would not come back.
She hit the game-winning grand slam, emptying the bases and giving her team the four-run lead. Galarza finished the game 1-for-4 with four runs batted in and one run scored.
This was her first career grand slam. It was her only hit of the game, but it came at the perfect time.
“That was pretty unreal. I actually was struggling that game. They walked a batter intentionally so that they could get to me, so it was basically saying, ‘Let’s pitch to her because we know she’ll be an out,’” Galarza said.
“I just took it as, ‘There’s always a plan,’” Galarza said. “So I just have to stay in the present moment. I can’t focus on what’s in the past. It was pretty amazing.”
Galarza began her career playing baseball at four years old with her three elder brothers.
“I wanted to do what they were doing,” she said.
She continued to play baseball for four years until she was introduced to softball.
Galarza measures achievement in staying positive despite playing a sport where failure is a constant reality.
“This sport is a sport where you fail a lot and so it’s easy to get caught up in negativity. Just to be able to stay positive and get up the next morning and believe that you’re going to get the job done is a great accomplishment to me,” Galarza said.
In her tenure at Cal State Fullerton, Galarza has earned accolades on and off the field.
On the field, she has received: 2014 All Big-West Conference Second Team, 2014 College Sports Information Director of America Academic All-District Team, 2013 Cal State Fullerton Big West Scholar Athlete of the Year and 2013 Big West Sportsmanship Award.
Off the field, she is a president’s scholar and has received a Dean’s Scholarship from the College of Communications.
“(Accolades) feel good; it makes you feel proud of yourself, but at the same time I have to focus on the present moment and the present task at hand,” Galarza said.
While many amateur athletes look up to professionals for inspiration, Galarza is more motivated by her teammates.
“Everyone has something that they inspire me with,” Galarza said.
Outside of playing softball Galarza enjoys leisurely activities.
“Whether it’s going to the arboretum or going to the beach. It doesn’t take much to entertain me. I can go to a public place and just people watch, just sit back and observe. I just love life in general,” Galarza said.