Softball defeats Fullerton 2-1 to split Campbell/Cartier Classic


Photo by Abraham Jewett

Senior Zaria Meshack scores the game winning run in the fifth inning of the Aztecs 2-1 win over Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 18 at SDSU Softball Stadium.

by Abraham Jewett, Sports Editor

San Diego State softball finished up the Campbell/Cartier Classic with a 2-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Sunday afternoon at SDSU Softball Stadium.  

The event ran from Thursday to Sunday, and SDSU now sits at 3-8 on the year after splitting two of the four games in its annual welcome home tournament.

“I think this weekend was big for us because we struggled so much last weekend,” associate head coach Stacey Nuveman Deniz said. “We really felt like we needed to get some confidence back.”

SDSU fell to Kentucky by a score of 5-0 in the first game of the classic, before splitting a back-to-back set with North Dakota University on Friday and Saturday. 

The Aztecs found the right opponent on Sunday to help the team right the ship, with the usually formidable Titans (3-6) losers of all four games they’d played in the classic coming in.

“We just really need to get back to feeling good again, and we absolutely accomplished that,” Nuveman Deniz said. “It was obviously a great win today and a good weekend for us to get some confidence.”

Freshman pitcher Taylor Dockins (2-1) got the start for CSF, and gave up 10 hits and two earned runs in a complete game loss.

Sophomore pitcher Marissa Moreno got the start for SDSU, and pitched four innings, giving up four hits and one earned run before she was pulled after giving up a leadoff walk to begin the fifth.

Senior pitcher Alex Formby (1-4) came on in relief and pitched the final three innings, giving up two hits and allowing no runs while being credited with the win.

Formby gave up 11 runs and eight hits in the first inning of the team’s 23-2 loss against the University of Georgia on opening day, but has since worked her earned run average down to 3.23.

“The Georgia game just felt like a really big letdown, I felt like I let down my team,” Formby said. “I just felt a sense of pride that I need to step up and get it together for my team so we can start getting some dubs.”

Nuveman Deniz said that Formby’s performance against Georgia was not a correct representation of the type of pitcher she is, and that her senior will be a valuable arm out of the bullpen this season.

“The Georgia game was really an outlier for her performance this year,” Nuveman Deniz said. “She’s been solid in that relief roll really shutting down teams no matter who it is, she’s really gotten comfortable, it seems like she’s found a niche for herself.”

The Titans took an early lead in the first inning, after senior outfielder Brooke Clemetson (0-3, one run) walked to start the game, advanced to second base on a sacrifice, and came around to score on an infield bunt single by junior outfielder Ari Williams (2-3, one RBI).

SDSU answered right back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the first after back-to-back doubles from redshirt junior second basemen Katie Byrd (1-3, one RBI, one run) and junior catcher Molly Sturdivant (2-3, one RBI) tied the game at one apiece.

Neither time would score again until the bottom of the fifth inning, which started with a pinch hit single from senior outfielder Zaria Meshack (2-2, one run).

Meshack would advance to second on a sacrifice bunt before stealing third and scored the game winning run on a close play at the plate after Byrd hit into a fielder’s choice.

“It was a close game and I was just like well this is an opportunity, all I have to do is hit something on the ground and make something happen,” Meshack said. “Honestly it felt good because I knew my coach had a lot of faith in me, she put me in this position for a reason.”

Meshack acknowledged that it has been a less than ideal start to the season, but she said that she expects the team to keep getting stronger.

“We started off a little rough, but hey, brighter days are coming,” she said. “Honestly I think from here were finally actually coming together and figuring out what we all can do as a team.”

SDSU will get three days off before heading to Cathedral City, Calif. for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, which the team opens against Liberty University on Feb. 22.