Big Sixth Inning Propels Fullerton to Series Win Over Gauchos

Brooke Putich (Photo by Randall Lamb)

FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton came from behind on Saturday afternoon to defeat UC Santa Barbara, 5-4, and capture the weekend's Big West Conference series at Anderson Family Field.

All three of the weekend's games were decided by one run with the Titans taking game one, 2-1, and the Gauchos capturing a 5-4 victory in game two. UCSB now stands at 16-25 on the season and 3-3 in league games. Fullerton is 16-18 overall and 4-2 in Big West play.

Fullerton's Jena Rubio hit her first career home run, a three-run, line drive sent over the left field fence in the bottom of the sixth inning to carry the Titans to the win. A Gaucho error earlier in the inning allowed another run to come home as Fullerton responded to a three-run sixth inning by the Gauchos.

The Titans grabbed an early lead when Nicole Johnson hit a two-out solo home run over the left center field fence.

UCSB did not trail for the long. Keilani Jennings led off in the top of the second with the first of her two walks during the game. Kathryn Pilpil was able to reach on a bunt single during the ensuing at-bat to put two runners on. After a pair of fly outs that failed to move either runner, DeJanee Moore loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. 

Brooke Putich's single up the middle sent Jennings home for the game-tying run. The Titans stopped the bleeding with a strikeout to end the inning.

The game remained tied until the sixth inning. Jennings was able to reach on a Titan fielding error and then Pilpil followed with a single hit tot right field. Lainey DePompa moved both runners with a ground out to second base before Jenessa Jeppesen's base hit to right field sent Jennings home to give UCSB its first lead of the game.

Moore was able to reach on a fielder's choice hit to third base, once again setting the table for Putich. The senior delivered with another single, this time to left field. Pilpil came home and so did Jeppesen after a Titan throwing error to put UCSB ahead, 4-1. 

Unfortunately, Fullerton was able to battle back. Johnson led off with a double hit down the left field line and one out later, Anissa Young was able to reach on a fielding error while Johnson came home. Pitcher Shelby Wisdom got the second out when Gabby Aragon flied out to left center, but she walked Kirsten Lambertson to put two runners on. Rubio followed with the game-winning shot to left field. 

Jennings drew a walk at the top of the seventh inning, but the Gauchos couldn't get their runner home as the Titans sealed the victory. 

Wisdom tossed all six innings for the Gauchos and allowed five runs, just one of which was earned, on six hits. She walked one and struck out four.

Pilpil went 2-for-4 with a run scored and Jeppesen went 2-for-2 with a run and an RBI. Putich led the squad going 2-for-3 with two RBI. 

The Gauchos will take a brief break from Big West action on Tuesday when they host Cal State Bakersfield in a double header at Campus Diamond. First pitch is slated for 1:30 p.m.

To purchase tickets, visit the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB or click here