March 30, 2007
Northridge, Calif. - Matt Wallach delivered a two-out, RBI-single to left in the top of the ninth to give No. 13 Cal State Fullerton a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Cal State Northridge on opening day of Big West Conference play Friday afternoon at Matador Field.
The Titans improve to 16-10 overall and 1-0 in conference, in their 12th-straight win over Northridge dating back to 2003. Northridge falls to 12-17, 0-1.
Fullerton's Wes Roemer (4-3) tossed his first complete-game of the year, striking out nine to earn his first win since Mar. 2 against Rice. The junior righty surrendered nine hits and just one intentional walk in the 130-pitch effort.
Roemer trailed for a good portion of the matinee, as Cal State Fulerton trailed 2-0 for the first seven frames. The Matadors plated a pair of earned runs off Roemer in the bottom of the third. Singles by Jowen-James Murray-Thornton and Richard Cates led off the inning and later scored, but Cates' hit proved the most costly to Fullerton.
With Murray-Thornton on first, Cates squared around to bunt and was about to beat out Roemer's throw that faded into the runner. First baseman Jake Vasquez reached for the ball with his glove hand and was clipped by the speedy Cates knocking Vasquez's glove off, sending the senior to the ground. He was immediately replaced by Jon Wilhite and sent to Northridge Hospital for x-rays. Results would eventually reveal fractures to his wrist.
A grounder by Jason Dabbs and a single by Jonathan Sakurai drove home both Murray-Thornton and Cates for the first two runs, giving starter Jimmy Jolicoeur the runs he would need as he held the Titans scoreless for seven innings. Jolicoeur allowed just four Titan hits, while striking out three before being removed after walking the leadoff hitter in the eighth.
Sunday's starter Edwin Quirarte came on and hit pinch-hitter Matthew Fahey to load the bases. Senior John Curtis then sent a chopper to second that brought home the Titans' first run, cutting the Matador lead to 2-1.
Two batters later freshman Josh Fellhauer drove home McArthur and Fahey with a single to give the Titans a 3-2 advantage heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Amiel Traynum came up with a clutch two-out, bases loaded, seeing-eye single in the bottom of the eighth, again putting the game in a dead lock.
Bryan Harris got things going again for Fullerton the ninth with a towering double to right-center field off reliever and eventual loser, Phil Hann (0-1). Hardman immediately followed with a grounder to second that was misplayed by Sakauri to give Titans runners at the corners with one out. McArthur popped up to the first baseman for the second out of the inning, setting the stage for Wallach's liner to left for the win.
The two teams will square off in a 1:00 p.m. affair on Saturday with Jeff Kaplan toeing the rubber for Fullerton, while the Matadors will send out Joe Rocchio, who was supposed to go on Friday, will get the nod on Saturday.