Titans Rally Late to Defeat Matadors, Stay Alive in Big West Race
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.--- The Titans trailed for six innings and didn't grab the lead until the ninth, but a heads up dive by Dillon Persinger across home plate and a gritty save by Brett Conine, clinched a 3-2 victory for Fullerton over CSUN, Friday afternoon in the series opener at Matador Field.
After trailing for most of the ballgame, the Titans (32-18, 13-6 Big West) and Matadors entered the ninth inning tied at 2-2. Persinger was a hero on the bases, as he drew a one out walk to take first base and then advanced first to third on a Hank LoForte single to right center. Then came the play of the game, as Hunter Cullen chopped one to second base to score a speedy Persinger who left third on contact, diving across home plate just ahead of the tag to spot the Titans a 3-2 advantage.
Brett Conine then came in and locked down his 12th save of the year to preserve the win and put him tied with Chad Cordero for 10th on the program's single-season saves list.
The save didn't come without some adversity though, as the first two Matadors singled to begin the inning. Alex Hull then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third. Conine walked the next man to load up the bases with just one out, but then got a huge swinging strikeout of Alvaro Rubalcaba and then a ground out by Jake Spurlin to leave the bases loaded and end the game.
With the Titans tailing 1-0 heading into the eighth, Timmy Richards came through with a clutch two-out single through the left side to tie things up and score Scott Hurst who previously reached on a one-out single and advanced to second base on an error by the left fielder.
Titan starter Connor Seabold (9-4) was magnificent on the mound, as he tossed 8.0 strong innings, gave up just two earned runs and struck out seven on the day to earn the win.
Richards was the lone Titan to produce a multi-hit hit game, going 2-of-4 from the dish with a run scored and a run driven in. Persinger was 1-of-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Cullen drove in a run on a hit.
CSUN's (25-28, 11-11 Big West) Tei Vanderford was fantastic, but didn't factor in the decision, as he went 7.1 innings and surrendered two unearned runs on five hits.
The Matadors struck first in this one as they loaded the bases with no one out, but only managed to get one run as Seabold managed to get 6-4-3 double play and a strikeout to wiggle out of trouble.
CSUN extended its lead to 2-0 after Rubalcaba singled up the middle and Fred Smith drove him in with a triple.
The Titans cut the lead in half in their half of the fourth, as Persinger came through with Fullerton's first hit of the game, a liner right over the second baseman's head to score Richards who had previously reached on an infield single and advanced to third on a two-base error.
The Titans kept themselves alive in the Big West Conference championship race, as they entered the day trailing Long Beach State by 3.0 games with six left to play, including a three-game series between the two sides next weekend at Goodwin Field. LBSU is playing Hawaii this weekend.
Fullerton will try and clinch the series victory over CSUN tomorrow at 1 pm PT.
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