FULLERTON, Calif.--- UC Irvine's Andre Pallante tossed a wild pitch behind Chris Hudgins, allowing Hank LoForte to scurry to home plate and slide under the tag to clinch a 3-2 walk-off victory for the Titans over UC Irvine, as the two teams played into early Sunday morning at Goodwin Field.
Fullerton (26-14, 8-3 Big West) finally broke through in the 14th, as LoForte blasted a one out double down the right field line, before advancing to third and eventually scoring on back-to-back wild pitches by Pallante (4-3), who ended up taking the loss in relief.
The five hour and four minute (5:04) affair was the longest game the Titans have played in since defeating then-ranked No. 19 Arizona State also by the score of 3-2 in a 14-inning game that lasted 5:12 on May 30, 2015 in NCAA Regional play at Goodwin Field. It marked Fullerton's longest game innings wise since March 19, 2016 in a game also vs. Arizona State at Goodwin Field. That was also a 14-inning affair.
The Titans have now won 15 consecutive home games, which is the most since 2009, while they've notched their eighth series win of the year to improve to 8-2-1 in weekend series this season.
Jack Pabich (1-1) pitched a gutsy 2.0 shutout innings in relief, allowing just one hit and no walks to earn his first win of the season. Blake Workman was heroic out of the bullpen, tossing a career-high 6.0 innings of shutout baseball, while striking out a career-high equaling five batters. He surrendered just two hits and walked two.
Taylor Bryant led all hitters with three knocks in six plate appearances to go along with a walk and a double. Scott Hurst collected a hit and an RBI, while Dillon Persinger walked a career-high four times and drove in a run, while collecting a double and a stolen base. Persinger recorded the Titans' first four-walk performance since Hurst recorded a four-walk game last year.
UCI starter Raymond Louis was fantastic, tossing 8.0 innings while giving up just one earned run, but didn't factor in the decision. John Gavin also delivered a gutsy start, notching his fifth quality start of the year, surrendering just one earned run in 6.0 innings pitched.
Early on it looked as if offense was going to be easy to come by, as both the Titans and Anteaters struck for a run in the first inning. UCI collected two hits and a walk in the first, while Parker Coss delivered a base hit to center to score a run and make it a 1-0 Eater lead. A batter later, Mikey Duarte tried some trickery, but was thrown out trying to steal home.
The Titans took the momentum into their half of the first, as Timmy Richards singled through the left side to begin a two out rally. Bryant then followed with a single of his own, then Persinger doubled down the right field line to bring in Richards and tie things up at 1-1.
Irvine continued to make Gavin work early and loaded the bases with no one out, thanks in part to a lead off walk and two errors. However, Gavin dug deep and got out of the jam while just allowing one run.
The Anteaters took their 2-1 advantage into the fifth, but Fullerton capitalized on an error, just as it did in the series opener. Hunter Cullen reached base on a throwing error by the second baseman, then Hurst double down the right field line to score Cullen and tie things at 2-2.
The offense came to a standstill after that, as the Anteaters eventually went 12 straight innings without scoring a run, while the Titans went eight. UC Irvine left 13 runners on base for the game, while the Titans stranded a season-high 17.
Fullerton aims for its third series sweep of the season, as it'll take on UC Irvine in the series finale tomorrow at 1 pm PT.
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