In a crucial three-game series against Cal State Northridge, the Cal State Fullerton softball team overcame a gritty Matadors team en route to claiming the elusive Big West Conference title.
Coming off an amazing month of April where they won 14 out of 16 games, the Titans entered the weekend series in first place, while the CSUN Matadors were right behind them in second.
Despite losing the first game, CSUF recovered and eventually prevailed to take the series 2-1.
The Matadors defeated the Titans 3-1 in game one of the series. Due to a rain delay, the game stopped after three innings and was postposed until the next day.
In the first inning, the Matadors jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to an RBI double by center-fielder Taylor Glover and a solo home run to left field by shortstop Savannah Horvath.
Despite the wet conditions, the Titan bats were dry, producing only four hits in that game.
Fullerton scored its only run of the game off a Melissa Sechrest homer in the fourth inning. However, the run was nullified in the same frame with another Matador home run.
CSUN ace Daphne Pofek was solid in the circle, recording three strikeouts in her complete-game effort. The CSUF pitching duo of Desiree Ybarra and Sydney Golden each went three innings, with
Ybarra allowing two Matador home runs. In relief, Golden allowed CSUN only one hit.
The Titans found their form in the following contest as they looked to make up for their uninspired performance in the previous game. Immediately, CSUF came out firing as Alexis Gonzalez blasted a two-run homer in the top of the first.
Gonzalez also smacked an RBI single in the fifth inning to bring in Samantha Vandiver and extend the Titan lead to 3-0. Titan offense continued to dominate throughout the game as Sechrest hit her second home run in as many days, a three-run shot in the seventh.
Fullerton went on to win the game 6-1 and even the series. In the circle, Golden surrendered a total of nine hits but only gave up one earned run in seven innings.
Ybarra went to the circle in Sunday’s game in hopes of closing out the weekend on a high note. She tossed a complete-game shutout and picked up six strikeouts as the the Titans cruised to a 2-0 victory over the Matadors.
Fullerton’s two runs came off of a Shianne Brannan home run and a Gonzalez RBI double in the third and fifth innings, respectively. The Titans were relatively quiet offensively, but their suffocating team defense kept the Matadors at bay.
Along with capturing the title, CSUF improved its overall record to an impressive 41-13 and 15-3 conference record.
The Titans look ahead to their final series of the regular season as they prepare to host the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (27-26 overall, 10-8 Big West) this Friday and Saturday at Anderson Family Field.