Cal State Fullerton softball went 1-3 in the Judi Garman Classic, with a walk-off win against Baylor on the last day of the tournament after dropping its first three games.
“Obviously we were 1-3, that’s not good. But we got better every game and that’s what I wanted to happen,” said Titan Head Coach Kelly Ford.
The Sun Devils took the first game of the Judi Garman Classic 10-1 in six innings Thursday at Anderson Family Field.
“We did a poor job. Offensively, defensively, pitching, coaching, we put it all in one basket and that’s what you saw on the field. It was just a very, very lackluster effort in that performance tonight,” Ford said.
Titan pitchers battled control issues all night, walking a total of eight batters and allowing 10 earned runs. Starter Trish Parks took the loss, only lasting three innings and giving up a home run in the process.
Offensively, the Titans only managed three hits off Arizona State, highlighted by a Parks solo home run to dead center field. It was the Titans’ only run of the night.
“We have the talent. Player for player, we can match up with anybody, but we definitely need to work on our confidence all the way around,” Ford said.
The Titans played a much closer and cleaner game against the Wolverines Friday behind redshirt senior Kelsey Kessler in the circle, but silent bats cost them the 2-0 loss.
“We competed at a much better level today. It was a whole different vibe out there on the field,” Ford said. “I think Michigan’s experience took over.”
Kessler threw a complete game for the Titans, going seven innings and striking out five against a double-digit win Michigan team. The right-handed pitcher took the loss but lowered her earned run average to 2.15.
The only blemish for Kessler was a fifth-inning two-run homer from Faith Canfield, which turned out to be the difference in the game.
“If we’re being honest, I did terrible,” Kessler said. “I had defense behind which was great, they really helped.”
Titan bats were once again silent, only mustering four hits while leaving seven runners on base against Michigan pitchers.
The Titans’ lack of offense extended their losing streak to four games with a 2-0 loss to the UCLA Bruins Saturday. Fullerton had strong outings in the circle with Parks, Sydney Golden and Kessler, but could not manage to score against Bruin starter Johanna Grauer. Fullerton has now lost four straight games to UCLA including two games last season which eliminated them from the NCAA tournament in the Los Angeles Regional.
A three-error sixth inning for the Titans proved to be the difference in the game. Two throwing errors put Bruins on first and third, then another one from Emily Randall allowed them to score.
“We had a play on and that play was in place to work perfectly but we threw a ball wild and it just got down the line and both (baserunners) went across the plate,” Ford said. “Like I said, I just want to simplify it and play a good game of catch.”
Grauer threw a complete-game shutout for the Bruins and set down Titan bats quietly in the bottom of the seventh to end the game. Once again, Titan batters only managed four hits against opposing pitching.
In the final game in the Judi Garman Classic, the Titans ended their four-game losing streak on a walkoff Irieanna Siofele RBI to give them a 1-0 win over Baylor. Kessler threw another complete game, getting her sixth win while lowering her ERA to 1.83.
“What a complete turnaround tonight,” Ford said. “(Our) pitching was brilliant by Kessler, our catcher Kylie Padilla throwing those two runners out were game changers right there, timely hitting at the end and defense just did a great job behind everybody.”
Fullerton was scoreless heading into the seventh inning, until it put runners on second and third. Siofele hit into a walkoff fielder’s choice that scored the deciding run and gave the Titans their first win of the tournament.
The Titans (9-11) will play next on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Long Beach/Fullerton Tournament where they take on San Diego State..