LOS ANGELES, Calif. – No. 3 Cal State Fullerton made three costly errors and could not capitalize with runners on and that was all Southern California needed as they downed the Titans 6-1 Tuesday night at Dedeaux Field.
The Titans (2-2) allowed the Trojans (4-0) to score four unearned runs and had three wild pitches. Freshman Chad Hockin got the start and went two and two thirds innings, allowing three runs, only one earned, on five hits and drew the tough-luck loss.
The Titans troubles started in the bottom of the first inning when Timmy Robinson led off the frame with a single. A.J. Ramirez attempted to sacrifice him over but Hockin could not field the ball cleanly and just like that the Trojans had two one with no one out. After the Trojans sacrificed them over into scoring position, Hockin got Kevin Swick to pop out to second and the Titans were one out away from getting out unscathed. But Hockin bounced a pitch into the backstop and Richards came in to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead.
The Titans came back to tie it in the third inning when Jared Deacon led off with a single up the middle of Trojans starter Brent Wheatley. Deacon then took advantage of a wild pitch from Wheatley to move over to second and then freshman Timmy Richards sacrificed the Titans catcher to third and Tyler Stieb brought him in with an RBI groundout to short, knotting the game at 1-1.
Deacon finished the day 1-for-1 with a walk before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. Stieb was 1-for-4 with a RBI, J.D. Davis was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and Greg Velazquez was 1-for-4.
Wheatley went four innings for the Trojans and allowed one earned run on two hits and walked three to go along with two strikeouts. He did not factor into the decision.
But the bottom half of the inning proved to doom the Titans as they surrendered three unearned runs, all with two outs. Hockin retired the first two hitters of the inning on six pitches but Vahn Bozoian and Jake Hernandez hit consecutive singles to chase Hockin from the game.
Freshman Phil Bickford came in to face Frankie Rios and smoked a high fastball past the Trojans shortstop's swing attempt for the strikeout, but the ball sailed to the backstop. Rios took off for first and Deacon's throw went into right field to allow the go-ahead run to score. The Trojans would tack on two more runs in the inning and never looked back.
The Titans had various chances to put some runs on the board, getting the leadoff man on base in the first five innings. In the sixth, they loaded the bases with one out but back-to-back strikeouts by Trojans reliever Sean Adler ended that threat.
The lefty went three innings for the Trojans to pick up his first victory of the season. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out five.
The Titans will return to Goodwin Field on Friday for a three-game series against San Francisco.
Notes: Cal State Fullerton's four-game winning streak against the Trojans was snapped with Tuesday's loss… The Titans are now 20-20 all-time at USC while they hold a 24-15 edge over the Trojans at home… Miles Chambers made his first relief appearance of the season in the seventh inning. He retired Frankie Rios on a grounder to second base to end the frame and went one and a third innings of hitless relief… Bickford's appearance was his third in relief for the Titans. His four innings pitched Tuesday were a season-high…The Titans went final nine hitters were retired in a row… Bozoian hit a home run off Bickford in the fifth for the Trojans. It was his second of the year and the first off Titans pitching.