Rookie Dale Comes Up Big In Series Opener

April 29, 2011

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Fullerton, Calif. - In just his second game of the year, freshman Keegan Dale went 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead Cal State Fullerton past visiting Pacific, 12-6, Friday night in Big West Conference baseball action at Goodwin Field.

Raymond Hernandez (3-0) was the winner as the Titans (29-12, 10-3) came from behind, scoring three times in the bottom of the fifth inning. Hernandez worked 2.2 innings behind starter Colin O'Connell, allowing a run on three hits while striking out two. Chris Devenski logged his second save of the year with four scoreless innings and six strikeouts.

John Prato Matthews was touched for seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits over 4.2 innings and took the loss as the Tigers fell to 13-24, 5-8.

Dale's RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning, his first of the night, capped a three-run rally and brought home the tying and go-ahead runs, knocking Prato Matthews from the game. It came on the heels of a one-out double by Carlos Lopez and a single by Greg Velazquez that moved Lopez to third. Lopez then stole home when Tiger catcher Aaron Hassell threw down to second with Velazquez stalling in between first and second and then retreating back to first without a throw.

A balk call not only moved to Velazquez to second, but got Tiger Head Coach Ed Sprague ejected after a lengthy discussion with home plate umpire Bradley Hungerford. Hutting was then hit by Prato Matthews to put runners on first and second. A fly ball by Jared Deacon moved Velazquez to third and Dale's single to left, scored him. On the play, Hutting wheeled around to third and scored when he and the ball got to third at the same time, and the ball was kicked into the Titan dugout for an extra base and the decisive run.

Fullerton scored four more times in the sixth and once in the seventh. A base hit, three straight wild pitches by reliever Jared Wagner and a sac-fly by Lopez brought the first two runs of the inning home and then Dale's two run single brought in two more to make it 11-6. Nick Ramirez drove home his second run of the night in the seventh with a single to right after walks to Anthony Trajano and Tyler Pill.

A Dustin Torchio double just inside third base and a single to center by Brian Martin gave the Tigers a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of O'Connell, but the Titans strung together four hits in the first five batters in the bottom to take a 3-1 lead. Pill Ramirez and Lopez each drove home a run in the inning.

Pacific sent nine men to the plate in the third and scored four times off O'Connell. A walk, a hit batter, two base hits and two Titan errors led gave the Tigers a 5-3 lead. A throwing error by Ivory Thomas gave Pacific one run and RBIs from Martin and Johnston off O'Connell scored two more. Hernandez came into the game with the bases loaded and hit the first batter he faced, Hassel, to bring home the fourth run of the inning.

The teams traded runs in the bottom of the fourth and tip of the fifth. Ivory Thomas had an RBI single for Fullerton. Allen Riley had one for Pacific.

Torchio and Martin matched Dale with three hits on the night for the Tigers. Thomas, Trajano, Ramirez and Lopez each had two hits apiece for the Titans.

The two teams will square off on Saturday night for Game two of the series at Goodwin Field beginning at 6 p.m.