Judi Garman photo

Judi Garman looks on as Titan Kika Ramirez swings. Ramirez scored her only three RBIs of the season against UCF on Saturday. (Mario Leal / Daily Titan)

In the annual Judi Garman Classic at Anderson field, two walk-off hits secured the Titans’ only wins of the weekend tournament.

Named after Cal State Fullerton’s first ever softball head coach, Judi Garman, The Titans won two out of their five games, with both victories coming in dramatic walk-off fashion against San Jose State and UCF. The Titans also faced UCLA, Michigan and Minnesota.

Anderson Family Field was home to another edition of the Judi Garman Classic featuring softball teams from across the nation, including top teams like No. 2 ranked UCLA, No. 15 LSU and the University of Central Florida.

“We fell short this weekend, but with the outcome and record, we had some personal growth. We were playing one heck of a schedule as far as our opponents go and we are knocking them off and having a lot of close games,” said softball head coach Kelly Ford. 

CSUF’s bats were cold throughout the first three games, only scoring six runs in 26 innings. However, strong performances by the pitching staff kept their opponents' offenses at bay.  

Titans senior starting pitcher Myka Sutherlin ended the tournament leading the Big West in strikeouts with 64. Sutherlin faced 73 batters over 18.1 innings throughout the tournament.

Sunday brought the toughest challenge for the Titans as they faced the Bruins. 

The Bruins entered the matchup having won all of their games at the Judi Garman Classic, beating the likes of Michigan 8-0, a team that the Titans had lost to earlier in the tournament.

Despite giving away a short lead to start, the Titans came back into the game after left fielder Evenlyn Savan hit a two run blast down the center field in the bottom of the fifth. 

However, the Bruins responded right away in the next inning with a four-run rally to take a 6-2 lead going into the later stages of the game. 

Following this, the Titans were unable to put together any more runs, losing their final game 6-2.   

On Saturday, the Titans split their doubleheader, beating the Knights, 8-6, but losing 7-4, against the Golden Gophers. 

Fullerton played four extra innings against Minnesota. In the top of the 11th inning, Minnesota’s Kayla Chavez hit a three-run blast off Sutherlin over the left field fence giving the Gophers a three-run lead going into the bottom of the inning. 

Sutherlin threw 191 pitches in that game before being replaced by freshman Raci Miranda in the top of the eleventh inning after Chavez’s late homer. 

“I just knew my teammates had my back, and I had to keep going for them,” said Sutherlin of her performance against Minnesota.

Coach Kelly Ford backed Sutherlin until the end despite the high pitch count.

“She was just dealing, it’s almost like she deserved those innings,” Ford said. 

In their second game Saturday, Fullerton put together their best offensive performance of the tournament, scoring eight runs against UCF. Titans’ catcher Jessi Alcala was the hero of the night after hitting a three-run walk-off homer to end the game in the bottom of the seventh. 

Friday was a great day for the Titans, second baseman Alexa Neil hit a seventh-inning single with the bases loaded splitting the diamond and giving the Titans their first victory of the tournament against the San Jose Spartans.

Fullerton’s pitcher Hailey Rainey took the victory after a dominant relief, only allowing one run on two hits and seven strikeouts in four innings. 

Thursday featured an extra-inning pitching matchup between the Titans and the Wolverines, with both starting pitchers going all the way for their teams. 

Both teams remained scoreless until the eighth inning when Wolverine Blair Lexie hit a two-run single to left field to give her team a 2-0 lead. 

The Titans’ comeback attempt fell short in the bottom of the inning after outfielder Megan Delgadillo hit a two out RBI single, but Neil failed to continue the rally striking-out to end the game. 

Next, the Titans will resume action at Anderson Family Field next Wednesday when they face No. 19 Baylor University at 4 p.m.  

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