FULLERTON, Calif.--- For the second straight night the Titans managed to squeak out a one-run victory, this time rallying from three runs down to defeat New Mexico 5-4, thanks to a huge eighth inning Sahid Valenzuela RBI single, Friday night at Goodwin Field to clinch the series and the team's sixth straight victory overall.
For Fullerton (13-5), the win goes down as its fifth victory by one run this season, including its fourth over its last six contests. The Titans are now 5-0-1 in series this season and have gotten off to their best 18-game start since the 2013 season.
The bullpen was fantastic for Fullerton, as Erik Cha, Dillon Brown and Brett Conine combined to pitch 6.0 innings of shutout baseball, while allowing just four hits and walking two against one the nation's most potent offenses. Brown earned his first career win, while Conine picked up his fourth save in his last five appearances. Cha's four innings pitched were also a career high. Gavin Velasquez started the game and picked up the no decision, as he went 3.0 innings, surrendered six hits and four runs.
New Mexico starter Johnathon Tripp also picked up a no decision, going 6.0 innings, allowing six hits and two runs, but his younger brother Christian Tripp recorded the loss, surrendering one run and two hits while recording two outs.
Dillon Persinger and Hank LoForte were the lone Titans to record multi-hit performances, as both went 2-of-4 from the plate, while Persinger also scored a run. Timmy Richards recorded a knock, extending his on-base streak to 11 straight, while Taylor Bryant also went 1-for-3 with a hit, two runs scored, an RBI and a walk. He now has at least one knock in 15 of the last 17 games and he's scored at least one run in 10 of the last 13.
Persinger led the inning off with a triple, while Richards walked to set the tone early for Fullerton. Scott Hurst then grounded into a double play, but the run scored, making it 1-0 Titans after one.
However, New Mexico (11-7) would score the next four runs to make it a 4-1 ballgame heading to the bottom of the fourth.
But the Titans stayed collected, as Bryant drew a leadoff walk to begin the fourth, then LoForte reach on an infield single to put runners at the corners with no one away. Hudgins laid down a perfect bunt for a single to score the Titans' second run of the game to make it 4-2. The lone run would be all Fullerton would get in the fourth, as the Titans eventually stranded six runners on the evening.
Fullerton continued to chip away, scoring another in the seventh as Boston Romero went to third base with one away, after singling up the middle and taking advantage of the Lobos' lone fielding error on the evening. Hunter Cullen then grounded out to the right side, allowing Romero to score from third and make it a 4-3 game.
Then it was time for the eighth inning dramatics. Hurst reached base after getting plunked with a pitch with one out, then Bryant doubled to left field to score Hurst all the way from first and make it a tie game at 4-4.
Bryant's heroics didn't stop there, he managed to advance to third base a batter later after Hank LoForte struck out. The catcher was forced to throw down to first after the dropped ball, allowing Bryant to make the heads up tag up play.
Then with two outs it was Valenzuela providing the game-winning knock, stroking a 1-2 pitch through the left side to score Bryant and bring the final score to 5-4.
The Titans aim for their first series sweep of the season, as they'll take on the Lobos in the series finale tomorrow at 1 pm PT out at Goodwin Field.
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