Cal State Fullerton softball opened its season dominating in the Titan Classic
over the weekend, taking three of the four games against Rutgers, Utah State, Pittsburgh and Loyola Marymount.
“It feels awesome. The girls have put in so much hard work. Sometimes the wins don’t pay you back immediately, but this weekend they paid us back and I just appreciate their performance today,” said Titans Head Coach Kelly Ford.
The first day of the tournament began with a doubleheader where Fullerton faced Rutgers and Utah State. The Titans went 1-1 with a 6-5 win over Rutgers and a 5-2 loss to Utah State.
With a young bullpen, many freshman got their start this weekend including Taylor Dockins, Hannah Johnson and Janelle Rodriguez. However, the Classic began with high anticipation for Dockins’ debut.
She met her expectations, throwing six shutout innings, allowing only three hits and one walk against Rutgers, giving Dockins her first collegiate win.
“All three of them had very good freshman outings because sometimes the butterflies can get the best of you, and I didn’t see that. They were very smooth and looked very seasoned, so that’s promising for the future,” Ford said.
The Titans seemed to have claimed the game by the fifth inning with back-to-back walks from Ari Williams and Zoe Richard put runners on base. Freshman Deshea Hill hit a sacrifice fly that sent Richard to third and brought Williams home.
Richard was brought in with a RBI double from infielder Shianne Brannan. Infielder Bryanna Ybarra closed the busy inning with a line drive down centerfield to bring in Brannan. Fullerton scored three runs in the fifth, increasing their lead to 6-0.
A shutout win seemed inevitable for the Titans going into the final inning. However, Rutgers answered back by scoring five runs in the seventh.
The Titans held their ground and closed out the game with a 6-5 victory.
The excitement from CSUF was cut short early into the second game of day one. Utah State began the game with a home run from Riley Plogger in the top of the first.
In the third inning, Sam Kennedy scored off a wild pitch and advanced Brooke Clemetson to third. Williams hit a fly out to bring in Clemetson, taking the lead and the score to 2-1.
After the third inning, the Aggies claimed the game with two RBI’s from Plogger and one from Jazmin Clarke. They took the game 5-2 as the Titans were unable to answer back.
“I feel like we came out strong. I mean, we did lose one, but it’s a learning experience and we’re going to come back from it and fix whatever we did wrong,” Brannan said.
Fullerton dominated Pittsburgh and took the game 10-7 that showcased both team’s offensive firepower.
Aside from the seventh, not an inning went by where a team didn’t score. Pittsburgh started the game strong, scoring four runs in the third. However, Fullerton replied with four of their own in the fourth.
CSUF held a four-run lead into the fifth with the score at 10-6. Pittsburgh scored only one more run and the Titans secured the victory.
In the final day of the Titan Classic, Fullerton faced Loyola Marymount and claimed the lead early on. By the bottom of the second inning, CSUF gained a 5-0 lead and held it until the top of the fourth inning when LMU hit a homer to get on the scoreboard.
Brannan had an offense-powered game, racking up three RBI’s from one home run, her first of the season. She kept Fullerton’s lead up, scoring in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a sacrifice bunt from Julia Valenzuela. CSUF closed out the game 6-3 against LMU.
After receiving a glimpse of what the team looks like on the field, the coaching staff is now focused on fine-tuning its rotation to ensure it’s geared for success.
“We are going to be best when we combo our pitchers. As a coaching staff we’ve got to figure out who’s going to compliment who,” Ford said.
Fullerton will hit the road to San Diego on Friday, Feb. 16 to play in the Campbell Cartier Tournament.
“Coming out on a high note with the 3-1 (record), I think we’re going to be rolling into next weekend and hopefully continuing it on,” Brannan said.