Cal Poly Stifles Fullerton in Opener
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – No. 4 Cal State Fullerton scored a run in the first, but Cal Poly's pitching staff shut out the Titans for the next eight innings as the No. 23 Mustangs erased the early deficit in a 2-1 come-from-behind victory at Baggett Stadium on Friday night.
Cal Poly (26-9, 7-3) starter Joey Wagman (8-2) allowed a run in the first, but shut out the Titans (32-6, 8-2) for the next six innings, surrendering six hits and issuing in two walks in seven innings on the hill.
Closer Reed Reilly did the rest of the work, allowing just one base runner – issuing a one-out walk to J.D. Davis in the eighth – and striking out one in two innings to record his 10th save of the season.
The Titan offense failed to support a solid outing from Thomas Eshelman. Fullerton scored one run on six hits and stranded seven runners. The Titans put the leadoff batter on base on five occasions, but failed to score the run four times. Fullerton twice stranded a runner at third, and after the fourth had just two runners reach scoring position.
In the loss, Eshelman (7-2) allowed two runs on seven hits and no walks in seven and 1/3 innings of work while fanning three. Right-hander Willie Kuhl recorded the final two outs of the eighth.
Center fielder Jordan Ellis' 3-for-4 performance inflicted the most damage, as he scored both of Cal Poly's runs.
The Mustangs claimed a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the sixth as Ellis produced his second hit of the game, a single through the right side. Ellis moved to second on Jimmy Allen's sacrifice bunt before Eshelman and Nick Torres battled to a full count. Torres fouled off two additional pitches before roping a two-out RBI single back up the middle. Ellis was able to beat Micahel Lorenzen's throw to the plate and scored what proved to be the game-winning run.
Cal State Fullerton wasted little time taking a 1-0 lead in the first as Richy Pedroza led off the game with a single through the left side. He moved into scoring position on a groundout, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored courtesy of Lorenzen's sacrifice fly.
Ellis led off the bottom of the fourth hammering a triple to deep center field and scored to tie the game as Allen grounded out to Pedroza.
In addition to driving in the game-winning run, Torres batted 2-for-3 in the series opener.
Austin Kingsolver led the Titans with a 2-for-3 performance.
Fullerton's 11-game road winning streak was also snapped in the loss.
The second game of the series is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch on Saturday at Cal Poly.
Notes: The Titans are 23-2 when scoring first…the Titans have now blown a one-run lead on two occasions in 2013…Fullerton has outscored opponents 43-7 in the first inning this season…Fullerton had the leadoff batter reach base five times, but the runner was only able to score on one occasion in the first inning…Fullerton has lost two consecutive conference games for the first time since dropping the final two games of a three-game series to UC Riverside on May 19-20, 2012…Fullerton also lost the opening game of a weekend series for the second time in 2013, falling 6-1 to Texas A&M on March 8...Fullerton's 11-game road winning streak was also snapped in the loss...the Titans are 6-2 against ranked opponents.