FULLERTON, Calif. – No. 9 Cal State Fullerton managed just three hits on the night and none in the final four innings as they fell 3-2 in a non-conference game against Long Beach State Saturday night at Goodwin Field.
Freshman Phil Bickford took the loss for the Titans (12-8) in his third career start despite pitching very well. The right-hander went five and 2/3 innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on five hits and struck out six.
Andrew Rohrbach was the winning pitcher for the Dirtbags (11-10), going six innings and allowing two runs on three hits. He walked two and struck out four.
For the Titans, J.D. Davis, Tanner Pinkston and Jared Deacon each had hits, making up the entirety of the team's offense on the night. Pinkston's single in the fifth inning was the last hit the team recorded as the Titans saw 14 of their last 15 batters retired including the final seven in a row.
It was the first time the Titans have dropped a game to the Dirtbags since 2012, snapping an eight-game winning streak against their Big West Conference counterparts.
The Titans did not get their first hit until the third inning, but it was good enough to plate the first two runs of the game and give them a lead. Davis hammered a double to left center field off Rohrbach after Keegan Dale and Matt Chapman got aboard to lead off the inning. Both came around to score to give the Titans a 2-0 lead.
Davis would finish the day 1-for-4 with two RBIs while Chapman reached base twice on the night, drawing one of the team's three walks.
But the Dirtbags cut the deficit in half with a run in the fourth inning and then plated two runs in the sixth inning to take the lead for good. Garrett Hampson hit his second double of the night with one out and then Ino Patron single him in to tie the game and put an end to Bickford's night. The Titans summoned Willie Kuhl from the bullpen but he surrendered a walk to Richard Prigatano.
Michael Hill then came up and lined a ball to center field where Austin Diemer had a tough time reading the ball. He started back and then rushed forward but the ball careened off his glove, allowing Hampson to score what would be the game-winning run.
Hampson finished the day 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored. He was the only player on either side to collect multiple hits on the night.
The Titans had a chance to tie the game in the seventh inning after Chapman drew a walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch with two outs. Pinkston came to the plate and sliced a ball to the opposite field for what looked to be a game-tying double. But Hill made a spectacular diving catch going full speed to his right to rob Pinkston and keep the Dirtbags out in front.
Notes: Saturday's loss was the Titans first defeat against Long Beach State since May 26, 2012 and their first loss at Goodwin Field since March 18 of that same season… Kuhl gave up three walks, a new season high and one shy of his career high. It was also the most free passes allowed by a Titans pitcher in a game this season… Both teams combined to leave seven men on base on Saturday night, six by the Titans... The Titans are now 2-4 in Saturday games.