Clutch Hutting: Pinch Hit Wins Series
April 6, 2012
Fullerton, Calif. - - Anthony Hutting's pinch-hit single over a drawn in outfield in the bottom of the ninth drove home the game-winning run as No. 14 Cal State Fullerton rallied for three runs in the final frame to upend UC Davis, 5-4, in a Big West Conference match-up Friday night at Goodwin Field.
The Titans (20-10, 4-1) strung together four straight hits in the ninth off losing pitcher Anthony Kupbens (2-4) to win their 20th game of the season and their seventh consecutive series. Kupbens (8.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) had held the Titans to just two hits over seven innings before giving up six of their eight total hits in the last two frames.
The Aggies, for the second straight night, gave up three runs in a late inning for a loss. They have dropped their fifth straight game and fall to 11-15 overall and 0-2 in Big West play.
Richy Pedroza made Kupbens work in the eighth inning and won a 12-pitch showdown with sharp line drive to center that drove in the Titans' second run of the night and make it 4-2. After a one-out walk to Greg Velazquez in the ninth, Matt Orloff blooped a single to right to move a runner into scoring position. Matt Chapman followed with a sharp single through the right side to make it a one-run game. Chad Wallach then laced a double into the left field corner to drive home Orloff to tie the game and set up Hutting's opportunity.
Hutting, pinch-hitting for outfielder Austin Diemer, took a ball and then drove Kupbens' last offering over leftfielder David Popkins' head for the Titans' first walk-off of the year. Willie Kuhl (2-2), who relieved Titan starter Kenny Mathews, got the win with three outs in the ninth.
Titan lefty Mathews wound up with a better pitching line than the Davis southpaw, but it wasn't the case the entire night. Mathews (8 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) endured two tough innings and was trailing, 4-0, after five innings while Kupbens held Fullerton to two hits through seven innings.
Hits by Evan Heptig and Popkins sandwiched around a hit batter (Kevin Barker) loaded the bases with an out in the third. Paul Politi gave the Aggies a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to right, deep enough to score Heptig from third. Then a successful double steal with runners at the corners produced the second run of the inning after Mathews guessed correctly and picked to first with Popkins running. Barker scored when Titan first baseman Carlos Lopez's throw went to second too late.
Popkins made it 4-0 in the fifth with a two-run homer, his second of the series and third of the year, off Mathews. The homer came on the back of a stand-up triple by the previous batter Barker.
Fullerton's only hits before the eighth scored their first run in the fifth inning. Velazquez legged out an infield single, Orloff walked and Chapman drove home the run with a hit of his own.
The series finale will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Goodwin Field.