FULLERTON- Cal State Fullerton softball started its three-game series against Texas strong with an extra-innings comeback win against the Longhorns before dropping the last two games of the series to finish 1-2.
“A lot of shortcomings were exposed,” said Titans Head Coach Kelly Ford. “That’s my job to set up our practices to now fill those shortcomings. We’ve got a short turnaround time between now and (the) LMU series and then between LMU and conference.”
Titans 3, Longhorns 2
Fullerton came from behind to take its first game against the Longhorns, winning 3-2 in an extra-innings affair. Titan ace Kelsey Kessler picked up her 10th win of the year while pitching a complete game, going nine innings and giving up two earned runs.
“Wins are a team thing, I don’t ever consider that a pitching stat,” Kessler said. “Kylie (Padilla) stayed strong back there with the few that I missed that they just happened to swing at.”
The Longhorns struck first in the fourth inning, scoring two against Kessler, including an RBI triple. After the Titans responded with a Shianne Brannan solo home run in the fourth, they were able to rally in the seventh inning on an RBI Lexi Gonzalez walk to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
CSUF broke through in the bottom of the ninth, walking off on an error that allowed Delynn Rippy to score from second base.
“It’s something that we’ve been working for and tonight it all came together,” Ford said. “Defense stepped up big time, Kessler was outstanding again and then some timely hitting tonight.”
Longhorns 10, Titans 1
Texas roughed up CSUF pitching in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday. The Titans fell in a 10-1, sixth- inning run ahead rule loss.
CSUF pitchers gave up nine earned runs and 11 hits, four of which were for extra bases. Titan starter Trish Parks lasted 2.1 innings, battling control issues all afternoon and giving up four earned runs and walking three batters while taking the loss.
“We got to take out Trish’s walks, we can’t have any walks,” Ford said. “She puts herself in a position there where we can’t afford to give up a hit that turns into three runs and then we’re digging ourselves out.”
Texas took control in a five-run third inning that knocked out Parks.
Longhorns’ starting pitcher Tiarra Davis stifled the Titans all game, limiting them to only three hits while striking out seven Titans in her five scoreless innings pitched. The Titans only run came on an RBI single by Samantha Vandiver in the sixth inning.
Longhorns 4, Titans 0
Fullerton fell again in its second game of the day to Texas, losing 4-0 due to a stellar performance from Texas starter Erica Wright.
Kessler got the start in the back end of the doubleheader for the Titans and threw her second straight complete game. She gave up four earned runs and took the loss.
Texas continued its hot hitting from earlier in the day, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. An RBI bunt single in the fifth inning pushed the Longhorn lead to 4-0, more than the struggling Titan offense could overcome.
Longhorns’ starting pitcher Erica Wright kept Titan hitters off balance all day, not allowing a hit until the seventh inning. She threw a complete-game shutout, only allowing three Titan baserunners.
“Today we just let the game slip away from us,” Ford said. “With all respect to Texas, they are an outstanding team, but we just didn’t play our game. We played very tentative, our pitch selection was just poor today, just poor. All the way around, they outplayed us.”
Fullerton (14-15) will play next Thursday at 1 p.m., starting a road series against Loyola Marymount (10-16).