MALIBU, Calif. – In a battle of the unbeatens, No. 20 Cal State Fullerton dealt Pepperdine its first loss of 2013, prevailing 6-3 at Eddy D. Field Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
In his second save opportunity of 2013, Michael Lorenzen shut the door in the bottom of the ninth, retiring the side in order and recording two strikeouts.
Once again, Cal State Fullerton (5-0) pounced early, scoring in the first inning in the third straight game. The Titans showed their resilience in the top of the first taking a 3-0 lead, and doing all the damage with two outs on the scoreboard. Pepperdine starter Matt Maurer retired Richy Pedroza and Carlos Lopez quickly, but issued a two-out walk to Matt Chapman. A failed pick off by Pepperdine resulted in a stolen base for Chapman, setting the table for J.D. Davis' 12th RBI of the season with a single hammered up the middle. Lorenzen struck out, but reached first on a wild pitch, another mistake which cost the Waves when Chad Wallach drove a two-out, two-run double off the right field wall.
Wallach led the Titans at the plate on Wednesday, batting 3-for-4 and driving in three runs, while hitting two doubles.
The Titans' 5-0 start is their best mark since beginning the 2007 season 5-0.
Maurer (0-1) took the loss for the Waves (4-1) after allowing five runs on seven hits in four and 2/3 innings, while totaling six strikeouts.
In a controlled start, Davis (1-0) picked up the win in double duty. He allowed one run in three innings of work, striking out three. After he was relieved on the mound, he remained in the game as the Titans' designated hitter.
After establishing a 3-0 lead in the first, the Titans added a run in the second to hold a 4-0 advantage after back-to-back singles had runners at the corners. Austin Diemer scored from third on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the third, Pepperdine broke through as the Waves loaded the bases with an infield single sandwiched between two hit batters. Chris Amezquita's infield single proved problematic for Matt Orloff as the Titan second baseman could not record an out at either first or second, allowing a run to score.
The Titans tacked on a run in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead after base knocks put runners on the corners. Maurer then recorded his sixth strikeout of the game, but the Waves went to their bullpen with freshman right-hander Jackson McClelland taking over. The rookie failed to derail Wallach, as the junior recorded his third hit and third RBI of the game as his single to right brought in Lopez.
Pepperdine would not go away, as the Waves once again scored in the sixth to pull within three runs, 5-2, after David Oppenheim's RBI single.
Pepperdine made things interesting with scoring its third run in the bottom of the eighth. Kuhl surrendered back-to-back base hits and issued a walk to load the bases, bringing Ranny Lowe to the plate. Lowe's groundout RBI scored a run, before the Titans looked to Peitzmeier out of the bullpen. He held the Waves at bay by recording the third out of the frame as Hutton Moyer flew out to right.
The Titans added an insurance run in the top of the ninth as Waves' reliever Alez Najera plunked back-to-back batters in Pedroza and Lopez. The Titans were able to score their sixth run as Chapman's RBI single to left field allowed Pedroza to score from second.
The Titans remain on the road this weekend, and travel to No. 22 TCU for a three-game series against the Horned Frogs. No. 22 TCU and No. 20 Cal State Fullerton are meeting one another in a three-game series for the sixth consecutive season dating back to 2008.
Kirk Saarloos (TCU assistant coach), spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton, putting together a 77-38 (.670) record and winning two Big West titles in 2011 and 2012. As a pitcher at Fullerton, Saarloos racked up a school-record 127 appearances over his four seasons (1998-01) in a Titan uniform. As a senior in 2001, he went on to earn first-team All-American honors and was named the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year.
Notes: Pepperdine head coach Steve Rodriguez was ejected in the bottom of the seventh…Cal State Fullerton's 5-0 start is its best since 2007...the Titans have outscored their opponents 8-0 in the first inning this season…Cal State Fullerton totaled double digit hits (11) for the fourth time this season.