Thanks to a four-run seventh inning, the Cal State Fullerton softball team rallied for a stunning come-from-behind 7-6 victory in Sunday afternoon’s series finale versus host UC Davis.
The win clinched the Titans’ three-game series versus the Aggies, with a 4-1 defeat Saturday afternoon offset by a 3-1 triumph in the second leg of the doubleheader.
With the series victory, the Titans improved their season record to 32-21 overall. Fullerton is 10-8 in conference and tied with Hawaii (29-22 overall, 10-8 Big West) for third in the Big West Conference.
A defeat seemed a foregone conclusion for Fullerton Sunday, as the Titans entered the seventh inning trailing 6-3.
Fullerton’s rally began with a walk and stolen base for Gabrielle Rodas, who then trotted home on a run-scoring single from Sydney Colenzo.
A two-run single from Courtney Rodriguez followed a double from Missy Taukeiaho and knotted the score at six. Rodriguez eventually scored the go-ahead run due to a fielding error to give Fullerton a 7-6 lead.
CSUF redshirt junior pitcher Desiree Ybarra (10-6), who entered the game in the fourth inning, recorded three quick outs in the seventh to secure the win.
Overall, Ybarra tossed 3.1 innings of relief, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk. Taukeiaho finished 2-for-3 with two doubles and one run batted in.
While late offense was on display Sunday, it was pitching that took center stage for the Titans in Saturday’s second game of the doubleheader.
Fullerton starting pitcher Christina Washington was masterful in the Titans’ 3-1 victory and improved her record to 16-6. The sophomore allowed one run on two hits with three walks in a complete-game effort.
UC Davis actually held a 1-0 lead after three innings, but Fullerton rallied for single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Lexi Gonzalez singled in Brooke Clemetson in the fourth, Sarah Moore singled in Samantha Vandiver in the fifth and Vandiver singled in Kylie Padilla in the sixth to account for Fullerton’s scoring.
While Fullerton’s pitching was stout in game two, UC Davis’ pitching was also strong in game one. In Saturday morning’s opening game of the series, the Aggies showed off some of that tough pitching.
In that contest, a 4-1 victory for the Aggies, UC Davis pitcher Leah Munden improved to 10-12 by allowing only one run on six hits over seven innings.
Fullerton briefly held a 1-0 lead in the contest when Vandiver singled to lead off the third and then scored two batters later on a double from Courtney Rodriguez to center.
The Titans could have tacked on more runs in the inning, but Rodriguez was thrown out while running the bases. Immediately after the play, Titans teammate Moore doubled. Moore was stranded at second, though.
UC Davis responded to the deficit by taking a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third on a three-run blast from Kelly Zboralske.
Up next for Fullerton is the final season series of the year versus conference-leading Cal State Northridge (40-13 overall, 15-3 Big West).
The Matadors have already clinched a share of the Big West Conference crown and can take the title outright with one victory over Fullerton.
The teams get underway at Anderson Family Field on Friday at 5 p.m. before closing out the season with a doubleheader Saturday.
A series victory would establish a new high mark for victories for Head Coach Kelly Ford during her three-year tenure at CSUF. Fullerton enters the series with 32 wins, one fewer than last year’s total of 33.