LONG BEACH, Calif.--- Fifth-ranked Fullerton jumped out to an early lead, but couldn't hold on, as it fell to Long Beach State, 8-5, Saturday afternoon out at Blair Field.
The Titans (15-7) have now lost back-to-back games for just the second time this season, while Saturday's defeat clinches Fullerton's first series loss of the year.
Timmy Richards led the way for the Titans, going 2-for-4 from the plate, collecting two RBI, a home run and a run scored. He extended his on-base streak to 14 straight games. Dillon Persinger collected a hit, run and an RBI in two plate appearances, while Chris Hudgins also notched a run and an RBI.
Maxwell Gibbs (1-2) took the loss in relief, while LBSU's John Sheaks (2-1) recorded the win. Gavin Velasquez recorded a no decision for Fullerton, as he made is fourth start of the season. He surrendered three runs, seven hits, walked one and struck out three in four innings pitched.
For the eighth consecutive game, Fullerton struck first. Hudgins led the inning off by beating out an infield single, then Hildebrandt followed with a single up the middle. Hunter Cullen laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt on the first base side to advance both runners 90 feet, while Persinger then followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Hudgins to score from third base after a fantastic slide at the plate.
Richards then added a quick two more runs to the Fullerton tally, as he blasted his first home run of the season over the left field fence to spot the Titans a 3-0 advantage. The Titans have now recorded five round trippers over their last three contests.
Long Beach State (12-9) would put together back-to-back four-run innings in the fifth and sixth frames to build an 8-3 advantage.
Despite the five-run deficit, the Titans battled back. The first two Titan batters reached in the seventh inning, as Niko Pacheco was hit by a pitch and Sahid Valenzuela singled to right field to put runners at the corners with no one out. Hudgins grounded out to third base to score a run to bring Fullerton within 8-4. However, that's all the Titans were able to get in the inning.
Fullerton got after it again in the eighth, as the first three Titans reached to load the bases with no one out, as Persinger got hit by a pitch, Richards singled to left field and Scott Hurst drew a walk. Pacheco eventually delivered a sacrifice fly to bring Fullerton within 8-5, but again Fullerton couldn't quite put together the big inning. In all the Titans left four runners on base on the day.
The Titans and Dirtbags will play the series finale tomorrow at 1 pm PT out at Blair Field.
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