Behind a solid, all-around team effort, the Cal State Fullerton softball team handily defeated the visiting UC Santa Barbara Gauchos over the weekend to cap off its sensational regular season.
The Titans claimed their first Big West Conference title since 2006 in their 2-1 series victory over Cal State Northridge last weekend. Going into the series against the Gauchos, the Titans sought to defend their home turf and end the season on a high note in order to stay sharp for the postseason.
On Friday, Fullerton set the tone by taking the series opener 3-1. Despite a scoreless first inning, the Titans wasted no time in the second frame as they knocked in a couple of runs to take a comfortable 2-0 lead.
The first run came off a sacrifice fly from infielder Sydney Colenzo, bringing in outfielder Sarah Moore from third. Outfielder Delynn Rippy followed up with an RBI of her own, doubling the CSUF lead.
Both teams went on to knock in one run apiece in the fifth inning but remained scoreless for the rest of the game. Another Titan RBI sacrifice fly served as the team’s last run, but this time it came from catcher Alexis Gonzalez’s bat.
In the circle, Desiree Ybarra logged in a nice performance for the Titans as she pitched a complete game, allowing only one run and picking up six strikeouts.
The Titans returned to Anderson Family Field on Saturday to close out the Gauchos series with a doubleheader. CSUF came out firing early in the first game, jumping to a 3-0 lead after two innings of play thanks to RBI doubles from Melissa Sechrest and Rippy.
However, Fullerton struggled to capitalize with runners in scoring position through the remainder of the game. By the end of the contest, the Titans left nine runners on base.
CSUF’s scoring drought gave UC Santa Barbara the chance to formulate a comeback. The Gauchos ultimately recovered from their early deficit and scored a total of four runs in the third, fifth and seventh innings to win the game 4-3.
In the final game of the series, the Titans bounced back from their earlier loss by going on a rampage. In the first three innings, Fullerton notched six runs, including a four-run rally in the bottom of the second.
The Gauchos scored a single run in the first inning but a solid performance from the Titan pitching rotation made sure it was the only one of the game. CSUF added an insurance run in the sixth inning and cruised to 7-1 win over UCSB, taking the series 2-1.
Fullerton has now finished the regular season with an excellent 43-14 overall record and a 17-4 record in Big West play. The Titans only lost one conference series this year to Long Beach State.
The Titans are now set to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs in the NCAA Los Angeles Regionals on Friday. CSUF emerged victorious in a meeting earlier in the season by a score of 5-0.