Titans Take Series in Thriller
FULLERTON, Calif. – Texas A&M had the game-tying run just 90 feet away and the bases loaded, but Cal State Fullerton's Michael Lorenzen maintained his composure and coaxed Troy Stein into a groundout to end the game as the No. 10 Titans took the series with a 7-6 victory on Sunday afternoon at Goodwin Field.
Fullerton (13-3) entered the ninth with a three-run, 7-4, cushion and brought Lorenzen out of centerfield for his fifth save attempt of the year, but the Aggies were able rough up the All-American scoring two runs on three hits and one walk in the frame.
Lorenzen loaded the bases with one out before Mitchell Nau's two-run single struck up the middle pulled the Aggies within one. Lorenzen surrendered the second out on a fly ball, and struck out Cole Lankford swinging, but the Titans were not able to escape the jam as a passed ball loaded the bases for the second time as Stein came to the plate.
For Lorenzen, it was his fifth save of 2013 and his second in the series as well as ninth consecutive successful save dating back to 2012.
With the win, the Titans have won their third weekend series, despite giving up a season high 15 hits to the Aggies on Sunday, as Texas A&M (10-7) left 10 base runners stranded.
The Aggies outhit the Titans 15-9, but the Texas A&M pitching staff issued 10 free bases on eight walks and two hit batters.
Texas A&M starter Rafeal Pineda (1-2) took the loss despite just throwing nine pitches.
Fullerton starter Grahamm Wiest improved to 2-1 after allowing four runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out seven in five innings of work. J.D. Davis tossed two and 1/3 shutout innings of relief, while Koby Gauna pitched 2/3 of an inning before Lorenzen took the mound.
At the plate, Richy Pedroza led the Titans with a 3-for-4 day (two doubles), driving in three runs – including the game winner - and scoring two. Austin Diemer also had a multiple-hit day for Fullerton with a 2-for-4 effort, while Anthony Hutting drove in two runs.
Pineda had control issues in the first, throwing just one strike in nine pitches. He walked Pedroza on a 3-1 count, and drilled Carlos Lopez on a 1-0 count. After throwing two balls to Matt Chapman, Pineda was relieved in favor of Grayson Long, but Texas A&M's reliever issued two more balls to load the bases. Long forced in a run delivering ball four to Hutting on a 3-1 count as Fullerton took a 1-0 lead.
Long's location trouble continued as he walked in a run after issuing ball four to Jared Deacon.
Fullerton added three runs in the second to take a 5-0 lead as Diemer led off the frame with a single that found a hole through the right side. He moved to second on Keegan Dale's sacrifice, and the Titans got a bit of luck when luck when Pedroza's knock deflected off the first base bag into right field, allowing him to stretch the hit into a RBI double as Diemer scored. Long then was called for a balk to move Pedroza to third, setting up Lopez's RBI single to left.
The Aggies went to the bullpen again, sending right-hander Andrew Vinson to the mound, and Fullerton added its fifth run of the game, as Hutting's RBI fielder's choice allowed Lopez to cross the plate.
Fullerton scored a solo run in the third to claim a 6-0 advantage when Pedroza's second double of the day drove in Dale after he launched a triple to center field.
The Aggies started to chip away at CSF's lead, scoring a solo run in the fourth as Nau led off the inning with a double off the left field wall that fell just a few feet short of exiting the park. He then scored as Lankford singled him in with a shot to left.
Texas A&M's rally continued in the fifth as the Aggies made a huge dent, scoring three runs on four hits to cut the Titans' lead to 6-4.
The Aggies loaded the bases on a base hit to right, walk and bunt. Nau then drove his second hit of the day to left to drive in a run, before Lankford's two-out single to right brought in two more runs for the Aggies as Mikey Reynolds and J.B. Moss crossed the plate.
In the seventh, the Titans score what proved to be the game-winning run when Greg Velazquez led off the frame with a single. David Olmedo-Barrera took over as a pinch runner and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before Pedroza drove in his third run of the game with a two-out RBI single.
Cal State Fullerton returns to action on Friday at Oral Roberts for the start of a three-game series.
Notes: Cal State Fullerton has outscored opponents in 19-2 in the first inning in 2013…Fullerton has outscored opponents 37-5 in the first three innings of a game this year…Texas A&M's Mikey Reynolds extended his hit streak to 16 games…Fullerton has won its third straight weekend series…Fullerton's 13-3 start is the program's best since 2009…Cal State Fullerton surrendered a season-high 15 hits.