Big 9th Inning Evens Series with TCU
Feb. 26, 2011
Fort Worth, Tex. - A five-run outburst in the ninth inning propelled visiting Cal State Fullerton to an 8-4 non-conference victory over TCU Saturday afternoon to even the nationally-prominent series at Lupton Field.
The Titans not only evened the series, but evened their overall record at 3-3. TCU falls to 4-2.
Reliever Chris Devenski (1-0) was the beneficiary of the Titans ninth-inning rally, picking up the win. The right-hander had surrendered an RBI-double in the bottom of the eighth to Jerome Pena that tied the game at 3-3.
Joe Terry, who finished 2-for-4 on the afternoon, singled to left to lead off the last frame and moved to second on an Anthony Hutting groundout. Jared Deacon singled sharply to left to put runners on the corners for Austin Kingsolver. The centerfielder then laid down a bunt that the first baseman fielded, but threw too late at first to get the speedy runner. Terry, not running from third, probably made first baseman Joe Weik hesitate just long enough for Kingsolver to beat the throw by a step.
With the bases loaded, Richy Pedroza laid down a second straight bunt that scored Terry from third. On the play, there looked to be some word exchanged after catcher Jimmy Pharr came up hurt following Terry's slide into home. Both benches cleared, but nothing came of it.
With the Titans leading 4-3, the next batter, Anthony Trajano, was hit with a breaking ball by losing pitcher Erik Miller (0-1) that drove home a fifth Titan run.
Nick Ramirez dealt Miller a big blow when he cleared the bases with a three-run double to center, extending the Titan lead to 8-3.
Ramirez moved from first base to the mound in the ninth and surrendered back-to-back TCU doubles that produced a run, but wrapped things up for the Titans by inducing a couple of groundouts to end the game.
Fullerton starter Tyler Pill was great for six innings on Saturday, and left after walking back-to-back hitters with an out in the seventh. The right-hander allowed just two hits on the afternoon and struck out five. Eventually, the two walks would come around to score on a Jantzen Witte single off reliever Jake Floethe. That hit drove home two for TCU as they punched back after the Titans scored two in the top of the frame.
The Titans clung to a 1-0 lead through the first six innings of the game, scoring in the top of the first off TCU hurler Steven Maxwell. A Pedroza single and a Trajano sacrifice put a runner in scoring position for the middle of the Titan order. Pedroza moved to third on Ramirez's fly ball to center and came around to score on a fielding error by shortstop Taylor Featherston off the bat of Carlos Lopez. That was the only difference in the game until both teams scored two in the seventh.
Maxwell worked seven innings and scattered six hits and gave up three runs (2 earned) in the no-decision.
The rubber game of the series will take place on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. PT. Right hander Colin O'Connell (1-0, 1.29 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw Matt Purke (1-0, 0.00), but it looks like the Titans will face Andrew Mitchell (1-0), as Purke is reported to still be nursing a blister on his throwing hand.