WICHITA, Kan. – No. 9 Cal State Fullerton managed just four hits on the afternoon and just one in the final five innings as they suffered a 3-2 walk off loss to Wichita State Saturday afternoon at Eck Stadium.
Tanner Dearman singled up the middle with one out in the bottom of the ninth to bring in the game-winning run from second base to give the Shockers (15-10) the victory and even the series with the Titans (14-9).
Joe Haddox drew a walk off Titans reliever Willie Kuhl with one out in the ninth. Kuhl then had a slider get away from him and spike up into the leg of Cody Bobbit to put the game-winning run in scoring position. That's when Dearman came up and hit a 1-1 pitch back up the middle to plate Haddox and give the Shockers the victory. Dearman finished the day 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
Kuhl suffered his second loss of the season after going one and 2/3 innings of relief, allowing one run on one hit with a walk, two strikeouts and a hit batter.
Freshman Phil Bickford drew the start for the Titans and went six and 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out nine, matching his career high.
For the Shockers, Cale Elam earned the complete-game victory, tossing nine innings of four-hit baseball. He surrendered two earned runs, walked one and struck out eight to remain undefeated on the season, earning his fifth victory.
The Titans jumped on the board first for the second consecutive game in the series, this time in the first inning. Austin Diemer drew a walk to start off the ballgame and then, with one out, J.D. Davis continued his hot hitting by blasting a double to deep center field to score Diemer all the way from first and put the Titans up 1-0.
But the Shockers responded in their half of the inning with Dearman leading off with a walk. Bickford struck out Tanner Kirk for the first out of the frame but Shockers first baseman Casey Gillaspie unloaded on Bickford's first pitch and sent it well over the right field fence for his fifth home run of the season to give the Shockers their first lead of the series, 2-1.
It stayed that way until the fourth inning when Titans left fielder Greg Velazquez stepped up to the plate and blasted his third home run of the season over the left-center field fence to pull the Titans even 2-2.
But that was the last of the Titans offense until Tanner Pinkston singled with one out in the ninth inning as the team went 15 consecutive batters between base hits.
Both teams will return to the field Sunday for the rubber match as Grahamm Wiest takes the hill for the Titans while the Shockers will send out Sam Tewes.
Notes: Davis extended his hitting streak to five games on Saturday…Bickford was called for a balk in the seventh inning. He has three of the four balks charged against the Titans this season… Gillaspie's home run in the first inning was the fifth allowed by the Titans pitching staff and second allowed by Bickford… The Titans have not won a game on Saturday since March 1 at Oregon when they swept the then No. 9 Ducks.