Highlanders Down Titans in 11

April 29, 2006

Box Score

Fullerton, Calif. - A sacrifice fly in the top of the eleventh inning by UC Riverside's Kyle Barratt broke a 7-7 tie as the Highlander's defeated the No. 1 Cal State Fullerton Titans, 9-7, in a Big West Conference baseball match-up at Goodwin Field Friday night.

UCR, 7-3 against the Titans over the past three years, improve to 22-15 overall and 4-3 in conference play while the Titans fall to 31-11, 8-2.

It was not a good night for the Titan pitching staff as they surrendered a season-high nine earned runs in the longest game of the season at 4:34.

Vinnie Pestano was tagged with the loss and fell to 1-1, in a game that saw the elite closer walk a career-high seven Highlanders, four in UCR's final frame, in a 2 1/3 inning appearance. The side-armer allowd just one infield single on the night, but it was a pair of free passes to Brett Bigler and Brian Steinmeyer to lead off the 11th that proved costly. Barratt's sac-fly was the go-ahead run and a bases-loaded walk to Drew Garcia served as insurance as the Titans were unable to make a second comeback.

Daniel Stange (1-1), blew the opportunity for his 10th save of the season, but worked the final 3 1/3 for the Highlanders to earn the win. UCR's closer allowed three singles in the bottom of the ninth, including Justin Turner's big two-out knock that tied the game at seven, before striking out four, including two in the bottom of the 11th.

Fullerton jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings, thanks to a pair of two-run home runs by Brandon Tripp (his team-leading seventh) and Brett Pill (his fourth) but the Highlanders would get to Titan ace Wes Roemer in the top of the fifth, scoring five times to tie the game at 5-5.

Roemer, seemingly on cruise-control, had struck out five of the 10 hitters he had faced through three innings, but UCR would erupt for eight hits by their next 11 hitters to score six times in the fourth and fifth innings.. Former Titan Sergio Pedroza's little brother Jaime would have a big two-run double in the fourth, while back-to-back extra base hits by Bigler (triple) and Steinmeyer (double) would push across the go-ahead run in the fifth.

Roemer, coming into Friday night's start, held a 1.46 ERA, but would end up surrendering six runs for the first time this season as well as 10 hits, also a season-high. The sophomore was eventually lifted after seven innings of work and eight strikeouts for southpaw Ryan Paul.

Riverside's starter James Simmons was relieved after 6 1/3 innings of nine-hit baseball, surrendering five earned runs while striking out five. The righty stood to get his eighth win of the season before the Titans tied the game in the ninth.

Blake Davis extended his hitting streak to 11 games for the Titans, going 4-for-6 on the evening, matching Binger's four-hit performance for the Highlanders.

The Titans' Evan McArthur (3) and Brandon Tripp (2) were the other players in Fullerton's lineup to pound out multiple hits, while UCR's Jeff Dunbar (3) and D.J. Hollingsworth (2) countered for the opponents. Fullerton out-hit Riverside 15-14.

The two teams will pair up once again Saturday evening at 6 p.m. as Fullerton's Lauren Gagnier (9-3, 2.51 ERA) looks to extend his nation-leading win total to 10 while the Highlanders will counter with Haley Winter (3-3, 5.19 ERA).

TITAN NOTES: Fullerton now falls to 1-3 in extra inning games...coming into tonights game, Vinnie Pestano who walked seven on the night, had only walked six hitters all season...