Pacific Rallies in 9th to Beat Titans, 5-4
April 17, 2009
Fullerton, Calif. - Mike McKeever's bases-loaded single keyed a 4-run ninth inning and Pacific snapped a 19-game losing streak to Cal State Fullerton Friday night with a 5-4 Big West Conference victory.
McKeever's single drove in the tying runs and set up a fielder's choice grounder by Brian Martin that scored J. B. Brown with an unearned run from third base.
Cole Akins (3-1) got the final four outs for the Tigers to get the win that improved them to 14-18 overall and 6-4 to keep them in second place in the Big West. Fullerton fell to 23-10 and 5-5 in losing to the Tigers for the first time since 2002 and the first time in Fullerton since 1997. Pacific is only 9-72 all-time vs. the Titans.
Michael Morrison (1-2), the third of five Titan pitchers, took the loss.
After scoring only one run on 10 hits through the first eight innings, the Tigers rallied for four runs in the ninth against four Fullerton pitchers. Josh Simms led off with a single that chased reliever Nick Ramirez. Morrison was greeted by a bloop single by Ben Gorang. After a fly out, Joey Centanni singled home a run on a 3-2 pitch for his fifth hit and J. B. Brown was hit by a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Ryan Acklund came in and gave up a line drive single to McKeever. Brown went to third when centerfielder Josh Fellhauer bobbled the ball and he was able to score when Brian Martin bounced into a force out at second base.
Starter Daniel Renken went 6.2 innings for the Titans and allowed only one run but failed to win for the fourth outing in a row. Centanni went the first 7.1 innings for the Tigers with Jamie Niley coming on to retire all four batters he faced before Akins got the final out in the eighth.
Fullerton scored in the first inning for the 18th time this season. Christian Colon walked, Jeff Newman beat out a bunt and each moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Fellhauer. Jared Clark lined a two-run single to center to stretch his team-leading RBI total to 44.
Pacific, which had two men thrown out at third in the first inning and later saw two runners cut down trying to steal second, got on the board in the fourth. McKeever led off with a double and scored on a triple down the right-field line by Martin. But Martin was stranded at third as Renken got two ground balls and a strikeout to preserve his 3-1 lead.
The Titans regained a 3-run lead in the fifth. Colon walked again, moved up on a ground ball and scored on Fellhauer's single to left.
Renken came out with two out in the seventh after Centanni singled for the Tigers' ninth hit. Nick Ramirez came on in relief with two men on to strike out Brown after Brown's drive off the right-field wall was foul by inches.
Centanni was relieved with one out in the seventh after Colon's bloop double. Niley wild pitched Colon to third but then struck out Newman and Fellhauer.
The crowd observed a moment of silence before the game in memory of Courtney Stewart, Nick Adenhart and Henry Pearson, killed in an auto accident last week that critically injured former Titan catcher Jon Wilhite. One thousand Livestrong bracelets were sold at \$5 each during the game by volunteers to support the Wilhite family and their mounting medical bills.
The series continues Saturday night at 6 p.m. with Tyler Pill (6-0) scheduled against a Tiger to be announced since Akins was the projected starter.