O'Connell Fans 9 in Relief as Titans Win, 5-4

April 16, 2011

Box Score / Photo Gallery

Fullerton, Calif. - Anthony Trajano drove home the game-winning run in the sixth inning and Michael Lorenzen's bullet throw from right cut down the tying run at the plate in the ninth as No. 8 Cal State Fullerton held on to edge visiting UC Santa Barbara, 5-4, in a Big West Conference baseball game Saturday night at Goodwin Field.

The Titans win their eighth weekend series and fifth game in a row to improve to 26-9 overall and gain a game in the Big West standing as UC Irvine lost, 6-4, to Pacific. Titans now stand 7-1 in league. UC Santa Barbara falls to 14-15, 2-3.

Colin O'Connell (5-2) picked up the win with a sparking 5.1 innings of relief. The right-hander came on in favor of Jake Floethe who was touched for 4 runs on four hits over 1.2. O'Connell scattered five hits and tied his career high with 9 strikeouts without a walk.

Nick Ramirez earned his ninth save of the year, and the 27th of his career moving him into a tie with Vinnie Pestano (2004-06) for third all-time in a Titan career. He came on with a runner on second and one out in the ninth in place of Dylan Floro and surrendered a single to right to the first batter he faced, Brandon Trinkwon. On the hit, Derek Eligio, who doubled off Floro, was waved to the plate, but a 275-foot bullet throw from Lorenzen cut down the run at the plate to preserve the one-run lead. Sean Williams popped out to third for the final out of the game.

Gaucho starter Greg Davis suffered the loss allowing all five runs (three earned) over 5.0 innings. Four Santa Barbara hurlers tossed three scoreless innings in relief, allowing just two of Fullerton's six hits on the night.

The Titans forged ahead in the bottom of the sixth as Carlos Lopez and Chad Wallach singled to lead off the inning. After a pitching change and a strikeout of Jared Deacon, Santa Barbara went to the bull pen again to face Matt Orloff. The Titans went to their bench in Richy Pedroza who was promptly walked intentionally by Matthew Brady. Ivory Thomas tied the game at 4-4 with a run-scoring fly ball to left. A batter later, Trajano singled sharply to center to bring home the go-ahead run.

The Titans' sixth erased a Santa Barbara lead that was gained in a four-run second inning. Three consecutive doubles by Mark Haddow, Trevor Whyte and Ryan Palermo quickly gave the Gauchos a 2-1 lead off Floethe. A fourth double, a two-out shot to the left field corner by Eligio, drove home two more and a walk to Trinkwon ended Floethe's night after just 1.2 innings.

After falling behind 4-1, Fullerton rallied for a pair of runs without the benefit of a hit in the bottom half of the inning. Wallach walked and Jared Deacon hit into what should have been a double play, but the first baseman Whyte's throw sailed wide leaving both runners safe without an out. Matt Orloff bunted both runners up 90 feet and Davis hit Thomas a second time to load the bases. Trajano "drove home" the second run of the game when, he too, was hit by Davis. Ramirez made it 4-3 with a fly ball to deep right, scoring Deacon.

Thomas led off the bottom of the first for Fullerton by getting plunked by Gaucho starter Greg Davis, then stole second and went to third on a groundout by Anthony Trajano. After Nick Ramirez popped up, Tyler Pill lined a single to left to score Thomas and give the Titans a brief 1-0 lead.

The series finale will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Tyler Pill (4-0, 2.39 ERA) will be on the mound for Fullerton, Matthew Vedo (3-4, 4.84 ERA) for Santa Barbara.