No. 6 Cal Falls No. 7 Fullerton (5-4), Northwestern (4-3)
Feb. 28, 2003
The sixth-ranked California softball team (12-5) lost two heartbreakers in its first games of the Worth Softball Tournament Friday afternoon at the Titan Softball Complex, falling No. 7 CS Fullerton, 5-4, in the bottom of the seventh and Northwestern, 4-3, in eight innings.
In a rematch of Cal's first two games at the 2002 regionals where the Bears defeated the Titans, 4-2, and 1-0, both teams received gutsy pitching performances by their starting hurlers. Jodie Cox collected the win (4-4), notching nine strikeouts, five walks and three hits. With the loss, Kelly Anderson falls to 5-3 as Fullerton scattered four hits (7 K, 4 BB).
California broke open the game in the fourth, scoring its first of two runs with two outs and runners on the corners, courtesy of a hit batter, a walk and a fielder's choice. With an 0-2 count, sophomore Chelsea Spencer swung at a high pitch that blazed off the tip of Titan catcher Jennifer Holt's glove, as pinch runner Jen Deering crossed the plate before a play could be made on her. With the bases loaded, sophomore Kaleo Eldredge took an inside pitch to her foot, collecting an RBI on the play and stretching Cal's lead to 2-0.
Fullerton (14-5) responded with one run in the bottom of the inning, breaking up the perfect game as Anderson walked the lead off batter, who eventually scored off Jenny Topping's single up the middle. With runners at first and second, Anderson smoked the next three straight batters, for a string of K's.
Cal amplified the damage in the fifth, as senior Courtney Scott stepped up to the plate with no outs and the bases juiced - courtesy of three consecutive walks. Scott roped a 2-2 count double to the right-center wall, scoring Vicky Galindo and Eryn Manahan. Cox gunned out the next three Cal batters, but not before the damage was done for a 4-1 score.
The Titans scored again the fifth off a RBI single and again in the sixth off a one out homer to left field by Amy LaRocque.
Fullerton won the game in the bottom of the seventh with one out, started by a blooper base hit from Gina Oaks. Cox blasted a triple to the right-center wall, scoring Oaks who knocked the throw to the plate out of Scott's glove as she nudged her way in for the tying run. Cox scored the winning run as the ball dribbled towards the backstop, for a final score of 5-4.
Scott collected two of the three Cal hits (2-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 run) as the Titan's four hits came from four separate players.
In the first game, senior hurler Jen Deering got the starting gig, giving up three runs off two hits in 1.0 innings before freshman Kristina Thorson took the mound in the second. Thorson suffered the loss (2-1, 7.0 inns., 4 hits) despite pitching a season-high 10 strikeouts. Freshman Courtnay Foster collected the win for the Wildcats (7-3), improving her record to 3-2 (8 hits, 2 BB's, 9 K's).
Northwestern tallied three quick runs in the first, as lead off batter Brett Nakabayashi walked, scoring off a base hit to centerfield from Carri Leto. With two outs, senior Cindy Muran muscled a high and inside pitch over the left centerfield wall, for the second and third runs of the game, her first career home run.
Cal rallied back with one run in the bottom of the first. With one out, left fielder Lindsay James was hit by the pitch, advancing to second off freshman Haley Woods' single to right center. Scott hit a grounder to Northwestern's third baseman, as its first baseman was unable to handle the throw, scoring James from second.
In the fifth, Nelson tied the ballgame with a mile-high dinger over the left field fence, scoring Woods who reached on a fielder's choice. The homer is Nelson's four of the year, her 46th career.
Completing seven full innings tied at 3-3, the Wildcats led off the eighth with Nakabayashi placed on second base (international tie-breaker rule). Erin Mobley bunted Nakabayashi over to third, reaching on a fielding error by Thorson. Next up, Leto flied out to left, as the tagging Nakabayashi crossed the plate for the winning run.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Bears had a runner on third with one out, but were unable to bring a run across the plate as Foster struck out the next two batters to end the game.
Nelson and James led the offensive attack for the Bears in the first game, batting 2-for-3. Muran led the Wildcats with two hits in four trips to the plate.
The Bears take on No. 20 Ohio State and Pacific tomorrow at Titan Softball Complex at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, in day two of the 10-team Worth Softball Invitational, hosted by Cal State Fullerton.
Softball Results at Titan Softball ComplexFullerton, CAGAME 1Northwestern (7-3) 300 000 01 - 4 6 2California (12-4) 100 020 00 - 3 8 2Foster and Kira. Deering, Thorson (2) and Scott. W - Foster (3-2). L - Thorson (2-1).HR - Muran, Northwestern. Nelson, Cal (4).
GAME 2California (12-5) 000 220 0 - 4 3 2CS Fullerton(14-5) 000 111 2 - 5 4 1Anderson and Scott. Cox and Holt. W - Cox (4-4). L - Anderson (5-3).HR - LaRocque, Fullerton