Titan Ninth-Inning Rally Clinches Series
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – After watching its one-time three-run lead evaporate, No. 4 Cal State Fullerton scored two runs in the top of the ninth to clinch the series with a 6-4 victory at No. 23 Cal Poly on Sunday afternoon at Baggett Stadium.
The Mustangs (26-11, 7-5) trailed 4-1 after the third, but scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to bring the game to a 4-4 tie entering the ninth, before the Titans (34-6, 10-2) were able to respond.
Austin Kingsolver then beat out a potential double play ball, and instead provided the game-winning RBI as Diemer was able to score on the fielder's choice. Richy Pedroza reached on a called catcher's interference, and Carlos Lopez provided the insurance run as he roped a RBI single to right, allowing Kingsolver to score from second as the Titans took a 6-4 lead.
Michael Lorenzen (2-0) then retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the victory.
Cal Poly reliever Reed Reilly (2-2) was charged with the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in two innings of work.
It was the Mustangs that actually took command of the game first when Elliot Stewart drove a two-out triple off the left field wall and over the reach of Anthony Hutting in the bottom of the second. Elliot scored on the next pitch as starter Grahamm Wiest's offering was wild, allowing the Mustangs to take a 1-0 lead.
But Chapman evened the score quickly, leading off the third, hammering Cal Poly starter Bryan Granger's 3-1 offering over the left field wall. The line drive home run was his second of the season and the fourth of his career.
In the third, Fullerton sent seven batters to the plate to chase Granger early as Cal Poly made a pitching change before the Mustangs were able to record their first out. Michael Holback took over on the mound to retire three consecutive batters, but not before the Titans scored four runs in the frame.
Chapman's home run started the rally as the Titans followed by loading the bases on two base hits sandwiched around a walk. With the bases juiced, J.D. Davis drove a two-run single back up the middle to score Kingsolver and Pedroza. Lorenzen followed to plate Fullerton's fourth run as his RBI single to left allowed Lopez to score from second.
In the start, Granger allowed four runs on five hits and two walks in two innings of work.
Cal Poly cut Fullerton's lead to 4-2 in the sixth as David Armendariz drove a two-out RBI double to the wall in left center, scoring Stewart all the way from first.
In the seventh, once again Cal Poly was successful with two outs on the scoreboard. Koby Gauna took over on the mound for Wiest, and quickly retired the first two Mustang batters, but Jordan Ellis was able to dump a two-out single to shallow left extending the inning. Ellis stole second to get into scoring position as Jimmy Allen drove a two-out RBI single back up the middle to cut the Titans lead to 4-3.
In his10th start of the year, Wiest allowed two runs on seven hits while walking just one batter and striking out six.
Cal Poly tied the game in the bottom of the eighth as Brian Mundell led off the inning with an infield single and was sacrificed into scoring position. The Titans went to the bullpen for Willie Kuhl, but he surrendered a single to Armendariz, putting runners on the corners with one out.
Fullerton then pulled Lorenzen out of center field to face Peter Van Gansen. His grounder to Keegan Dale was a potential double play ball, but the Titans could not execute the play, allowing Mundell to score the game-tying run.
Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook was ejected in the top of the eighth.
Lopez and Chapman led the Titans with two hits apiece.
Armendariz, Mundell and Allen led Cal Poly with two hits apiece.
Notes: Fullerton's 34-6 record is the best start to the season since the 1996 squad opened the year with a record of 38-4…the Titans won their ninth weekend series of the season, and are yet to lose a three-game series…for the second time in 2013, Fullerton came back from losing the series opener to win the series after falling to Texas A&M, 6-1, on March 8 before winning the following two games…in 20 Big West series between Fullerton and Cal Poly, the Titans have won the series 18 times…this was Fullerton's first series win in San Luis Obispo since 2009…in 2013, Fullerton is now 8-2 against ranked opponents… Chapman's home run in the third was his second of the season and fourth of his career…Fullerton has overcome a one-run deficit on seven occasions and has come from behind to win 13 times.