Beach Completes Sweep Of Cal State Fullerton
Softball heads into weekend series with CSUN in second place.
Long Beach, Calif. - Sophomore Lauren Lombardi went 2-for-3 with five walks over the course of two games Wednesday, including hitting a grand slam in the opening game. The Beach took the opener 5-1 and then rallied to win a wild 7-6 contest with a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Lombardi went 2-for-3 with a walk and the grand slam in the first game, and after two grand slams in the series, the Titans had seen enough, walking the sophomore four times in four plate appearances in the second game. Two of those walks would lead to key runs in game two as the Beach rallied from a 5-2 deficit to win 7-6.
The script was the same in game one as in the opener, in a true case of De Ja Vu. Cal State Fullerton (27-20, 5-7 Big West) was able to get the first run of the game, pushing across a lone run in the top of the fourth inning.
Jasmine Antunez ran into trouble in the bottom half, however. The junior loaded the bases, and then a bases-loaded walk tied the game at 1-1, bringing up Lauren Lombardi. The Titans made the switch to Christina Washington, but the result was the same as the last time the teams played, as Lombardi lifted a ball over the fence in center field, the second grand slam of the series from the sophomore to make the score 5-1 in favor of Long Beach State (21-22, 8-4 Big West)
That was all that Christina Clermont needed, as the sophomore went the distance once more, finishing off the Titans for her seventh win in league play, as well as her seventh complete game in Big West action.
In game two, the Titans struck first, pushing across a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. A leadoff walk to Samantha Vandiver bit the 49ers, as the freshman came around to score on an RBI groundout. An RBI single from Bryanna Ybarra added one more run as the CSF took a 2-0 lead.
Long Beach State was able to bounce right back in the bottom half of the first. Leilani Tupua-Taualatasi singled, and Haley Tobler tied it up with one swing, hitting her second home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field.
Vandiver turned a two-out single into another run in the second inning. After stealing second, a bloop single from Courtney Rodriguez allowed the leadoff batter to score and give Cal State Fullerton a 3-2 lead.
The Titans added two more in the third inning, taking advantage of a bevy of illegal pitches by reliever Selene Polamalu to tack on a pair of insurance runs to take a 5-2 lead.
LT Torres got a rally going for the Beach in the bottom of the fifth inning, leading off the inning with a hit. A critical error kept the inning alive, as a popup from Tobler was dropped by Bryanna Ybarra, putting two runners in scoring position.
After a walk to Lauren Lombardi, Darian Tautalafua singled down the line to score a pair of runs, and Julia Lombardi followed with a double to bring home her sister and tie the game at 5-5. The Titans had one more rally in them. Clermont entered as the fourth pitcher of the game for LBSU, coming on in relief of Lacey Alderman, who had pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless relief for the Beach. Cal State Fullerton would load the bases with one out, and bring home the go-ahead run on a pinch-hit single from Sarah Moore.
Tupua-Taualatasi brought the 49ers right back into the action with a leadoff double in the bottom half of the seventh inning, and after a sacrifice, Lauren Lombardi was intentionally walked, putting the winning run on base. Turning way to a pinch runner in Rachel Loera, the 49ers loaded the bases as Tautalafua drew another walk.
The patience paid off, as a hard grounder from Julia Lombardi clipped off of the glove of Samantha Galarza, bouncing into the outfield and allowing both Tupua-Tautalatasi and Loera to score, ending the game.
Lauren Lombardi moved into the Top 10 in career home runs at the Beach on the day, tying Ashley Holmes for 10th place, while Tautalafua passed Jessica Smith for third on the school's career RBI list, now with 111, four away from the LBSU record.
Long Beach State faces a critical series this weekend, as the second-place 49ers host first place CSUN for three games at the 49er Softball Complex. The series kicks off with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 25.
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