March 18, 2006
Tucson, Ariz. - Lauren Gagnier held Arizona hitless for five innings and scattered just two hits over seven innings as No. 7 Cal State Fullerton defeated the Wildcats, 5-3, Saturday night at Jerry Kindall Field.
The Titans improve to 16-6 on the year and extend their current winning streak to seven games while earning their fifth series victory. The Wildcats drop their fifth contest in a row and even their record at 10-10.
Titan closer Vinnie Pestano made the end of the game interesting for the second night in a row allowing the possible winning run to come to the plate before battling out of trouble for the save. The side-winding righty gave up-back-to-back singles in the bottom of the ninth to Eric Berger and David Plante, then put both runners in scoring position with a wild pitch with no outs. Pestano then induced a weak ground ball back to the box by Jon Gaston, struck out Stephen Pearson, and forced a ground out to Brett Pill to end the game. Pestano earned his seventh save of the season while preserving Gagnier's fifth win.
The Titan starter Gagnier cruised for five innings, facing just one batter over the minimum, before a pinch-hit double by Stephen Pearson in the bottom of the sixth was lifted over the head of Brandon Tripp in centerfield to break up the no-hit bid. Just two hitters later, after a single by Colt Sedbrook, Gagnier also lost the shutout as Brad Boyer drove in Pearson with a sacrifice fly. That would be the only run Gagnier would allow and the only run the Wildcast would muster until the eighth.
Fullerton would jump out two a 4-0 lead after four innings, posting a pair of runs in both the third and fourth innings off of losing pitcher Preston Guilmet (1-3). Preston surrendered eight of the Titans' 11 hits on the night including a Justin Turner blast over the left field fence some 370 away. It was Turner's first round-tripper of the year and a two-run job that put the Fullerton on the board first.
The Titans didn't let Guilmet off the hook in the fourth either capitalizing on three consecutive singles for two more runs. Jared Clark and John Curtis both singled to left and advanced when the Wildcat starter uncorked a wild pitch moving both runners up 90 feet. Third baseman Bryan Harris then made it hurt when he singled back up the middle driving both Clark and Curtis home for the 4-0 lead.
The Wildcats would score off Gagnier in the sixth, but the Titans would get that run back in the top of the eighth. Left fielder Clark Hardman singled home John Curtis, whho doubled earlier in the inning, to increase the Fullerton lead to 5-1.
Titan reliever Justin Klipp came on in relief of Gagnier in the eighth and was roughed up for two runs in just .2 of an inning. The big blow was a two-run triple by Bill Reinhardt narrowing the gap to the eventual 5-3 score.
Turner, Curtis, Harris and Hardman each collected two hits while Blake Davis' one-out single in the fifth extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Turner and Harris each drove in a pair of runs.
The Titans will conclude their Arizona road trip tomorrow at 11 a.m. PST. Dustin Miller will be on the hill for the Titans looking for his fifth win.