Pill's Walk-off Double Wins it For Titans
Feb. 20, 2009
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Fullerton, Calif. - Freshman Tyler Pill's first career at-bat produced a game-winning double in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift No. 5 Cal State Fullerton (1-0) to a 7-6 victory over visiting TCU (0-1) in Friday night's college baseball season opener at Goodwin Field.
Losing pitcher Eric Marshall (0-1) hit Christian Colon and intentionally walked Jared Clark to open up the bottom of the ninth for the Titans, who had given up a two-run lead in the top half of the inning. After Josh Fellhauer grounded into a force at third, Pill, Sunday's scheduled starting pitcher, was called on from the bench to deliver the deciding blow, a long drive to deep right center. Ryan Ackland (1-0) notched his first win of the year, after getting the final three outs in relief of Kyle Mertins.
TCU's Jason Coats opened the game's scoring with a solo home run off Fullerton starter Daniel Renken in the top of the fourth inning. It was one of two homers the sophomore hurler surrendered Friday night.
The Titans and Horned Frogs exchanged blows in the fourth and fifth innings. Freshman Nick Ramirez began his perfect 4-for-4 debut in a Titan uniform driving in Clark in the bottom of the fourth with a sharp base hit to right.
In the fifth, Taylor Featherston handed the Frogs another brief lead, with his first home run of the year, pushing the score to 2-1 in favor of the visitors with his blast to left. Renken finished the night going 5 2/3 innings allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out five in the no-decision.
The back and forth continued as Fullerton tied the game at 2-2 with a successful safety squeeze by Jeff Newman, bringing home Joe Scott from third. The score remained unchanged into the seventh inning when TCU pushed across a pair of runs off reliever Travis Kelly.
Again the Titans countered, this time taking the lead in the bottom of the seventh with a four-run rally off Steven Maxwell. After Ramirez singled to lead off the inning and Dustin Garneau became the third of six Titan hitters to get plunked on the night, Scott's sacrifice bunt attempt turned into a run when Maxwell's throw went wild to bring home Ramirez. Gary Brown promptly sent a run-scoring fly ball to right, tying the game at four.
The Titans got their first lead of the night and extended it with some aggressive base running with a two-run single by Christian Colon. With Scott at third, and Newman at first (HBP) running on the pitch, Colon's hit went between the second base bag and Featherston at short, as the fielder was moving with the runner. The ball went into center, scoring Scott, but third base coach Greg Bergeron kept Newman in motion as the Frogs let down their guard getting the ball back to the infield, plating the Titans' sixth run.
A two-run double by Ben Carruthers off the left field wall off Ryan Ackland again locked the game up at 6-6 in the top of the ninth, as his ball drove home Bryan Holaday and Featherston, who reached base to open the inning off Mertins.
Colon finished 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Fellhauer had three hits in five trips to the plate.
The two Titan freshmen (Ramirez and Pill) making appearances finished 5-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI.
The two teams will square off Saturday night with Kyle Witten toeing the rubber for Fullerton and Sean Hoelscher going for TCU. First pitch will be at 6:00 p.m.