WACO, Texas – No. 4 Cal State Fullerton managed just three hits and failed to capitalize on their opportunities as their six-game winning streak was snapped with a 1-0 loss to Baylor Saturday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
It was the first time the Titans have been shutout this season and the first time they've been shutout on the road since losing 1-0 at Arizona State on March 27, 2012.
Sophomore Justin Garza suffered his first career loss as a member of the Titans (8-4) despite allowing just one run. The right-hander gave up six hits, walked one and struck out five Bears (7-7), but was touched up for a run in the opening frame which proved to be the difference.
Garza had gone 14-0 in his first 20 starts with Cal State Fullerton, pitching a total of 135 and two-third innings during that stretch.
The Bears took the lead for good in the first after putting together some very good at bats against Garza, who made 29 pitches in the first inning. Darryn Sheppard hit a one-out double to left. Adam Toth then guided a single through the left side of the infield and Sheppard was waved around. Greg Velazquez's throw appeared to beat Sheppard to the plate but the umpire ruled catcher A.J. Kennedy did not make the tag in time and the hosts took the early lead.
The Titans offense struggled on Saturday, collecting just three singles on the afternoon, their lowest offensive output this season and the fewest they've managed since recording four hits in their 6-1 loss at USC on Feb. 18.
Despite their struggles, the Titans had plenty of chances thanks to some control issues by the Baylor pitching staff, who issued the Titans six walks and one hit batter on the afternoon.
The Titans had at least one runner in scoring position in five consecutive innings beginning in the fourth but could not cash in those chances. They got the first two batters on base in the sixth inning when Tanner Pinkston singled to lead off the frame and Matt Chapman drew a walk on five pitches, but the Titans came up empty. They also had two on with one out in the eighth inning but a 4-6-3 double play put an end to that rally.
Baylor starter Brad Kuntz went six innings for the Bears and no-hit the Titans through four and two-thirds innings. Despite issuing five walks, the lefty allowed two hits on the day and struck out two to collect his second win of the year.
Josh Michalec earned his fifth save of the year for the Bears after pitching two and one-third innings of scoreless relief, allowing no hits and one walk.
The teams will meet in the rubber match of the series Sunday afternoon as Grahamm Wiest will draw the start on the mound for the Titans while Austin Stone goes for the Bears.
Notes: Saturday night's game was the 500th played at Baylor Ballpark, where the Titans are now 3-2 all-time… Dale's two-out single in the fifth broke up Kuntz's no-hit bid… Chapman drew a walk in the sixth inning, marking the 12th consecutive game in which the third baseman has reached safely… J.D. Davis and Austin Diemer each saw their six-game hitting streaks come to an end Saturday.