FULLERTON, Calif. – Texas A&M eliminated any chance of a Titan comeback with a four-run, five-hit ninth inning, propelling the Aggies to a 6-1 victory over No. 10 Cal State Fullerton on Friday at Goodwin Field.
Freshman right-hander Thomas Eshelman (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season despite another solid outing. The rookie pitched into the ninth inning, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and no walks while fanning six.
To start the ninth, back-to-back hits put runners on the corners, and the Titans (11-3) looked to the bullpen as Eshelman left the mound after eight innings of work. Right-hander Willie Kuhl surrendered a single to Daniel Mengden that plated a run, and Titan center fielder Michael Lorenzen failed to field the hit, allowing Krey Bratsen to score on the error.
The inning continued to go south for Fullerton as Cole Lankford's RBI single plated the third run of the ninth, before Troy Stein doubled and eventually scored the fourth run of the frame on a sacrifice fly. Releiver Tyler Peitzmeier helped Fullerton escape the top of the ninth by retiring pinch hitter Mitchell Nau.
Fullerton left nine runners on base, including seven that reached scoring position.
It was Texas A&M (10-5) starter Kyle Martin (1-2) that got stronger as the game went along. The right-hander finished the day tossing six and 2/3 innings, and allowing just one run on six hits while fanning four.
At the plate, the Aggies were led by Blake Allemand's 3-for-4 effort, while Lankford batted 2-for-4 and drove in two runs. Richy Pedroza led the Titans with two of their six hits.
Texas A&M took a 1-0 lead in the fourth as Allemand's one-out double turned into a run for the Aggies. The inning was kept alive on a Matt Chapman error, and Allemand was able to score from third as Lankford's RBI single into shallow center field put Texas A&M ahead 1-0.
The Aggies took a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth as Mikey Reynolds extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a leadoff double. He moved to third on a sacrifice and scored courtesy of Allemand's RBI groundout.
Cal State Fullerton chipped into the Aggies' lead, pushing a run across in the seventh as Texas A&M's pitching staff failed to find the strike zone. Martin issued a two-out walk to Keegan Dale, and the Aggies went to the bullpen with left-hander A.J. Minter. Two more walks were issued as Pedroza and Lopez loaded the bases. Teas A&M went back to the bullpen with Jason Jester, and he walked in a run after issuing ball four to Chapman. Jester then kept the game-tying run at third by striking out J.D. Davis.
The Titans and Aggies resume their series on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. from Goodwin Field.
Notes: In 28 and 2/3 innings, Thomas Eshelman has struck out and 26 batters without issuing a walk…the Titans' six hits matched a season low…the Titans' one run also matched a season low.