Cal State Fullerton softball received several solid pitching performances in their third game of the Judi Garman Classic at Anderson Family Field, but a three-error sixth inning proved to be the difference in a 2-0 loss to the UCLA Bruins. The defeat extended the Titans’ losing streak to four games.
The Titans were shut out by their opponent for the second consecutive night, only managing to get four hits against Bruins’ starting pitcher Johanna Grauer, who threw a complete game shutout.
Looking to rebound from her rocky start on Thursday against the Arizona State Sun Devils, Trish Parks took the bump for the Titans.
Parks walked two batters in the second inning and threw two wild pitches to put runners on second and third with two outs, but was able to work through the jam by getting Zoe Shaw to fly out to right fielder Delynn Rippy to end the inning. However, the Titans could not capitalize on a two-out base hit by shortstop Shianne Brannan in the inning and were held scoreless.
Titan sophomore Sydney Golden took over in relief for Parks to open up the top of the third inning.
“Boy, she had glimpses of greatness, but also, she’s really got to work on her control,” said Titans Head Coach Kelly Ford. “She is such a good pitcher but we’ve gotta be more consistent with her game.”
Golden pitched a scoreless inning, stranding a Bruin baserunner at second base on a Jelenicki lineout to short.
Golden struck out Shaw to open up the top of the fifth inning and was taken out for Kessler, who pitched seven innings on Friday for the Titans in their game against Michigan. Kessler was able to get the last two outs of the inning, putting another zero in the scorebook for Titan pitchers.
After Kessler got Jelenicki to fly out to Rippy in right field, Nickles singled and advanced all the way to third base on a two-base error by Rippy, giving the Bruins a runner at third with one out.
The next Bruin hitter, Brianna Tautalafua, reached on a Kessler error giving the Bruins another scoring opportunity with runners on first and third. Both Bruin runners were then able to score on the Titans third error of the inning, an errant throw to second base from Emily Randall that went all the way to the right field fence.
“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.”
Kessler was able to set down the next two Bruin batters to end the inning, but the Titans now found themselves down by two.
With the Titan bats unable to answer in the sixth, Kessler threw a scoreless seventh inning, recording one strikeout in the process to keep the score at 2-0 Bruins heading into the Titans’ last at-bats.
In their last chance to rally the Titans were stifled yet again by Grauer, who struck out Parks, got Grimes to groundout and got Brannan to strikeout swinging giving the Bruins a 2-0 win over the Titans.
“I was very proud of our athletes’ mental state. Coming off a 2-0 loss to Michigan, knowing we gotta play another top program and they just handled the competition,” said Ford. “We really stayed present every pitch and that was one of my goals.”
The 8-11 Titans will look to end their four-game losing streak and earn their first win in the Judi Garman Classic tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. against the Baylor Bears.