After a doubleheader split Wednesday, the Titans suffered another loss Friday at Anderson Family Field to the Long Beach State 49ers 8-4 in the final game of the series.
Despite dropping the series, Fullerton (39-12 overall, 13-2 Big West) remains in good position to take the Big West Conference with only six games to play in the regular season.
Alexis Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to give the Titans an early edge. The Titan lead stood through the second with Desiree Ybarra in the circle, but Long Beach crept onto the board with a single run in the top of the third.
The Titans brought runners on second and third in the bottom of the fourth inning, but failed to capitalize on the opportunity. The 49ers punished Fullerton, breaking away with five runs to take a 6-2 lead in the top of the fifth.
After walking one batter, Cerissa Rivera replaced Ybarra in the circle in the fifth and immediately loaded the bases. Long Beach sophomore infielder LT Torres hit a single to left that was good for two RBIs and the lead.
The 49ers continued to pack it on as Darian Tautalafua tripled to right field, tacking on another two runs. The Titans were not able to stop the bleeding until after Julia Lombardi hit a sacrifice fly to score Tautalafua, giving Long Beach a four-run lead.
The 49ers continued their offensive onslaught in the following inning, scoring their final two runs to make the game 8-2.
The Titans narrowed the margin in the bottom of the sixth inning when Delynn Rippy singled to right field, bringing in two runs. Long Beach held the Titans off in the seventh inning, serving Fullerton its first conference series loss of the season.
The Titans’ big hits belonged to Gonzalez and Rippy, who drove in the team’s only runs with two apiece.
Junior catcher Kylie Padilla got in on the action as well, going 2-3 at the plate with a run scored in the rough loss.
Courtney Rodriguez and Missy Taukeiaho also found themselves on base in time to score two of the Titans’ runs.
While Fullerton sent three pitchers to the circle, Rivera (4-2) took credit for the loss as she sacrificed six earned runs on three hits in 1.2 innings pitched. Ybarra gave up two hits, two earned runs and struck out three batters in four innings pitched.
Christina Washington also came in to close out the game and gave up just one hit in 1.1 innings pitched.
Regardless of the loss, Cal State Northridge (30-20 overall, 10-5 Big West) is still four games behind Fullerton in the Big West standings. Long Beach remains in third place with an 8-7 Big West Conference record.
Titan softball returns Friday when it travels to Cal State Northridge to take on the Matadors at the Matador Diamond for two games Friday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., followed by a single-game contest Saturday at 1.p.m.