March 5, 2010
Tucson, Ariz. - Seth Mejias-Brean's single to right, drove home the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning as unranked Arizona downed Cal State Fullerton, 8-7, Friday night at Kindall Field.
With the win, Arizona improves to 5-3 on the year, while the Titans drop to 3-5.
Joe Allison (1-0), who hit a batter to load the bases and induced an Austin Kingsolver groundout to end the top of the 11th inning, picked up his first win of the year. He was Arizona's seventh pitcher of the night. Nick Ramirez (0-1) allowed just three hits over 3.1 innings of relief, took the loss.
Alex Mejia walked to lead off the final frame and moved to second on a slash ground out to second by Bryce Ortga. Mejias-Brean's single was hit at Kingsolver in right, but the throw to the plate was not in time to catch Mejia from second.
The Titans, who trailed 6-2 after six innings, mounted quite a comeback with the help of the long ball. Corey Jones' second homer of the year, a three-run blast, got the Titans to within a run at 6-5 in the seventh. Arizona extended their lead to 7-5 with a run in their half of the seventh.
The Titans used just three pitchers in their first extra-inning effort of the year. Ramirez, was on in relief of Tyler Pill, who was called into action a lot earlier than his scheduled Sunday start. Pill came in to replace starter Daniel Renken when he exited with lower back stiffness after just one-plus innings of work. Pill did a commendable job, striking out eight over six innings while allowing just one walk, but was touched for five runs (four earned) on six hits.
For the seventh time in eight games, the Titans' opponent got on the board first. Arizona's Bobby Rinard drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first off Renken to get things started. He stole second and then scored on Jett Bandy's double to left to give the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead.
U of A tacked on two more unanswered runs in the bottom of the second and also got into the Titan bullpen earlier than expected. Joey Rickard was hit by Renken's 2-1 pitch to start the inning and that drew Head Coach Dave Serrano out of the dugout with Trainer Chris Mumaw in tow.
Pill was inserted in lieu of Renken and the sophomore's first batter, Bobby Brown, grounded into what could have been a double play, but Christian Colon, after tagging second, uncorked a wild throw to first that allowed Brown to move around to second. He later moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on Alex Mejia's single to center. Two batter's and an out later, Mejia scored on Rinard's double to right-center.
Brown's 11th career triple (tied for 3rd all-time at CSF) with an out in the top of the third, and a single up the middle for Corey Jones got the Titans on the board, cutting the Wildcat lead to 3-1.
Arizona added a run in the bottom of the third on Bandy's fourth home run of the year, a lead-off shot off Pill to extend to a 4-1 lead.
The Titans inched a run closer in the sixth with freshman Carlos Lopez's first career home run to right, but gave up two runs in the bottom of the frame.
The Titans had a season-high 13 hits on the night led by Brown and Billy Marcoe who each had three apiece. Jones finished 2-for-5 with a game-high four RBI, while Lopez added a pair of hits as well.
Bandy was 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI for Arizona. Mejia added two hits and three driven in to lead the Wildcats.
Game two of the series will begin at 6 p.m. local time (5 p.m. PT) on Saturday. Noe Ramirez (0-1, 5.73 ERA) will be on the mound for Fullerton with Arizona countering with Kyle Simon (1-1, 3.55 ERA).
NOTES: Cal State Fullerton is now 44-43-1 all-time in extra inning games, and are 2-2 in extras against Arizona all-time. THis was the Titans' first extra inning game of 2010.