Titans Edge Oregon to Clinch Series
EUGENE, Ore. – Greg Velazquez's sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning proved to be the difference as No. 5 Cal State Fullerton scored a 3-2 victory over No. 9 Oregon Saturday afternoon at PK Park.
The Titans (6-3) have now won three consecutive games on the season and have taken four of the last five meetings against the Ducks (8-2).
The teams were tied 2-2 heading into the ninth and neither side could get anything going offensively after a brief rain delay in the top of the fourth inning.
The Titans did not have a base runner since the third inning as they entered the ninth but Matt Chapman changed that with a single through the left side of the infield. J.D. Davis followed with a hit through the right side on a hit-and-run play, advancing Chapman to third with no one out. Greg Velazquez cashed in Chapman on a deep sacrifice fly to left field to give the Titans the 3-2 edge.
Chapman was 2-for-4 with a run scored while Davis was also 2-for-4 on the afternoon. Velazquez was 0-for-3 but did collect his ninth RBI of the season, tying him with Chapman for the team lead this season.
Gauna came in for the ninth inning in relief of Garza, who retired the last 13 Oregon batters he faced. Gauna gave up a leadoff single to Tyler Baumgartner and Mitchell Tolman sacrificed him into scoring position. But Gauna got Kyle Garlick to ground out to third and then A.J. Balta flied out to right to seal the win for the Titans.
Garza went eight innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits. He struck out four to collect the 14th victory of his career. Gauna made nine pitches in the ninth and shrank his ERA to 1.15 on the season.
The Titans jumped on the scoreboard first for the second straight game against the Ducks, plating a pair of runs in the second inning on just one hit. Clay Williamson reached when he was plunked on the shoulder by Ducks pitcher Matt Krook. Catcher Jared Deacon followed with a fielder's choice to erase Williamson from the base paths and put the Titans up against it with two outs. But Taylor Bryant and Keegan Dale drew consecutive walks to load the bases and Austin Diemer came through with the two-out hit, driving a single up the middle to drive in two and put the Titans up by a pair.
The Ducks got one back in the third off Garza thanks to some two-out hitting of their own. Connor Hofmann got on with a one-out single and advanced to second on a groundout to short. Aaron Payne then stepped up and drilled a single through the right side of the infield to bring in Hofmann and cut the Titans lead to 2-1.
In the fourth inning, the Ducks pulled even after a pair of singles from Kyle Garlick and Jack Kruger put runners on the corners with two out. The Ducks then pulled off a double-steal as Kruger broke for second and then Garlick headed home and scored on Garza's throw to second.
Notes: The game was delayed for 23 minutes by rain prior to the start of the 4th inning… Saturday marked the first time the Titans have won a game when they were out hit by their opponent… Williamson was hit by a pitch in the second inning, marking the 16th time a Titans player has been hit this season.