April 19, 2009
Fullerton, Calif. - Nick Ramirez came out of a beleaguered Cal State Fullerton bullpen to throw 3.1 innings of one-run relief as the No. 6-ranked Titans held on for a 4-3 win over Pacific Sunday afternoon to salvage the final game of a 3-game Big West Conference series.
Ramirez entered with a bases-loaded situation in the sixth and got an inning-ending ground ball. He stranded five runners over the final three innings to get his second save and give starter Kyle Witten (4-2) his second win of the week. Fullerton improved to 24-11 and 6-6 while Pacific fell to 15-19 and 7-5 but went home with its first series win ever over Fullerton, which leads the all-time series 73-10. Starter Mark McCain (2-1) took the loss.
The Tigers outhit the Titans, 11-8, but left 10 men on base.
Pacific took a quick 2-0 lead. Nick Longmire was hit by Witten's first pitch of the game and he was safe at second when shortstop Christian Colon dropped Joe Scott's throw after the latter fielded Joey Centanni's ground ball. J. B. Brown delivered an RBI single and Centanni scored as Mike McKeever bounced into a force out.
Fullerton got its first run in the second inning when Nick Ramirez led off with a walk and came home on Khris Davis' 19th double of the season to the gap in left center. Davis was bunted to third but was hung up in a rundown between third and home when Dustin Garneau hit a one-hopper back to the mound.
The Tigers missed a golden opportunity in the top of the fourth when, with one out, Mike Walker hit into a first-to-short-to pitcher double play with men on first and third. The Titans took the lead in the bottom half. Ramirez walked with one out and the next four batters scattered singles -- Davis to deep shortstop, Newman to left, Garneau to center for two runs and Scott to right for one more, chasing McCain. Jamie Niley relieved and struck out Joey Siddons on a wild pitch that produced an out at home when Garneau was thrown out trying to score. Niley then fanned Colon to end the inning.
The Tigers repeatedly threatened to retake the lead. After two were out in the sixth they loaded the bases against Witten on singles by McKeever and Martin and a walk to Kurt Wideman. But Ramirez entered and got Mike Walker on a ground ball to second.
The Tigers put two on in the seventh but Ramirez got Brown to fly out to center, stranding runners at second and third. In the eighth, after a leadoff home run to left by McKeever made the score 4-3, they loaded the bases with one out. Ramirez got Ben Gorang on a short fly to center and Longmire on a checked-swing ground ball to short.
The Tigers went down in order in the ninth for only the second time in the game.
Fullerton plays two mid-week games before traveling to UC Davis for a Big West series. The Titans host University of San Diego on Tuesday night and visit Pepperdine on Wednesday afternoon.