Third Comeback's a Charm, Titans Win, 8-6
April 17, 2012
Greg Velazquez's eighth inning single tied the game at 6-6 and Anthony Trajano's double punched down the right field line brought home the go-ahead run for No. 12 Cal State Fullerton as they defeated visiting Pepperdine, 8-6, in the non-conference see-saw battle Tuesday night at Goodwin Field.
The Titans (24-12) had to play come-from-behind three times to beat out the Waves (22-14) in their only meeting of the season. Closer Michael Lorenzen (1-0) was called on trailing 6-5 ¬- for just his second time in a non-save situation - and delivered a scoreless 1.1 innings to earn his first career win. Aaron Brown, the fourth of five Wave hurlers took the loss by giving up all three of the Titans' eighth inning runs.
Titan Head Coach Rick Vanderhook was not getting the results he was looking for from the starting line-up after six innings as they trailed 2-1. In the seventh he sent up four pinch-hitters and a pinch-runner that produced four runs and gave the Titans' a brief 5-2 lead. Up to that point, The Titans had just four hits and a run on a Lorenzen double in the fourth inning off starter Matt Maurer (6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO).
Greg Velazquez got a one-out, pinch-hit to get things going and was followed by a J.D. Davis single to center. Davis was pinch-run for by Keegan Dale. Pinch-hitter Ivory Thomas then drew a walk off new reliever Mat Sinder to load the bases. A passed ball tied the game at 2-2 and then pinch-hitter Clay Williamson was intentionally walked to re-load the bases. Pinch-hitter Jared Deacon worked the count to the new pitcher Michael Swanner and then delivered a sharp single to the right-center gap to drive home two and give the Titans a 4-2 edge. Deacon had gone to second on the throw in from the outfield and was then able to score on Richy Pedroza's single that just got through the right side of the infield.
After the four-run seventh inning, the Titans seemed poised for a quick finish to the game, but Pepperdine rolled for four runs of their own in the top of the eighth, large-in-part to Joe Sever's three-run home run to left off reliever Willie Kuhl. Dimitri DeLaFuente started the inning after taking over for Koby Gauna, who had just completed a career-best 7.0 inning stint on the mound and was in line for the victory. DeLaFuente hit and walked the eight and nine hitters and was swiftly lifted for Kuhl.
Zach Vincej singled on Kuhl's first pitch to load the bases and Austin Davidson made it 5-3 in favor of the Titans with a sacrifice fly to center. Sever then erased the Titans' four-run frame with one for the visitors with his three-run shot to the left of the scoreboard in left field to make it 6-5, Pepperdine.
Lorenzen reached and went to second on an errant throw by the third baseman Davidson to lead off the Titans' half of the eighth. Velazquez tied it with a sharp single to right off Brown who began his 0.2 inning stay with Lorenzen. On the play, Velazquez went to second on the throw to the plate. Austin Kingsolver, now in the game playing center, drew a walk in his first plate appearance and saw Velazquez go to third on a wild pitch on ball four.
Kingsolver moved up on a passed ball charged to Miles Silverstein, but Velazquez was retired at the plate trying to score on the ball that didn't get far enough away. Trajano, getting his first action of the night at the plate, sent a ball down the right field line that dropped fair to make it 7-6. On the play, rightfielder Tony Cooper had trouble picking the ball up and was charged with an error allowing Trajano to slide into third safely. A batter later Williamson singled with a line-drive to center to bring home the Titans' final run.
Pepperdine scored their first two runs on a Floyd Given sacrifice fly in the the second and a double, a wild pitch and a run-scoring grounder by Sever in the sixth.
Pedroza was 3-for-4 and reached base four times and Velazquez and Davis each had two knocks in the Titans' 11-hit attack. Vincej, Cooper and Sam Meyer had two for the Waves, who also had 11 hits.
Fullerton bench players went 5-for-6 with 5 RBI and six runs scored.
Lost in the shuffle was a strong pitching performance by Gauna. The righty allowed two runs (one earned) while scattering just five hits over seven innings. He struck out four without a walk. Gauna's ERA dipped below 3.00 for the first time since mid-March and now rests at 2.74.
Fullerton hosts Cal Poly this weekend at Goodwin Field, Friday through Sunday.