March 25, 2007
Long Beach, Calif. - The No. 13 Cal State Fullerton Titans (15-10) rallied for four runs in the top of the ninth inning in a come-from-behind 7-5 victory over 18th-ranked Long Beach State (13-9) Sunday afternoon at Blair Field.
The win marked the Titans ninth win over the 49ers in their last 10 meetings and their eleventh win at Blair Field in their last 13 trips to Long Beach's park.
With two outs in the top of the ninth and trailing 5-3, Cal State Fullerton Head Coach George Horton went to his bench and called on left-handed hitting Matthew Fahey with the series on the line. Fahey stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded to face Long Beach reliever Bryan Shaw (2-2) and delivered the biggest Titan pinch-hit this year driving home two to knot the game at 5-5.
The 49ers then went to the bullpen and brought on Dustin Rasco who promptly walked Matt Wallach to reload the bases for junior Clark Hardman. The veteran outfielder scorched a single to right field bringing home both Khris Davis and Fahey, the go-ahead and insurance runs the Titans would need for the win.
Justin Klipp (2-0), who worked 3 2/3 innings in relief of starter Sean Urena, allowed the tying runs to get to second and third in the bottom of the ninth, but closed out the game retiring the 49ers, two-, three- and four-hitters to end the game. Klipp surrendered just two hits over Long Beach's final four frames, striking out three to earn the win. The Titan right hander earned both victories over Long Beach State this weekend, tossing seven scoreless innings, and allowing just two hits in both appearances.
The game looked one-sided through the first five innings as the 49ers plated four unanswered runs off Urena in the first two innings. A triple by Brandon Godfrey, a double by Danny Espinosa, and a single by Taylor Krick produced three runs in the bottom of the first, and set the tone for the first half of the game. Urena wound up surrendering five runs on five hits, in 5 1/3 innigns of work before handing the ball off to Klipp.
Fullerton inched back in the top of the sixth with a pair of runs courtesy of a John Curtis RBI-double and a Davis single through the left side to get the Titans to within two runs at 4-2. 49er reliever Andre Lamontagne allowed the two runs on three hits and a walk in the inning - and could have been charged with a couple of more. Adam Wilk struck out Titan pinch hitter Billy Pinkerton to avoid more serious damage in the inning.
Long Beach went on to add a run in the bottom of the sixth to increasing the 49er lead to 5-3. That lead would stand until the heroics of the Titan ninth erased the 49er's chance at their first series win over the Titans since 2005.
With the win, Cal State Fullerton earns its sixth series win, and their first since they took two of three from Rice at Goodwin Field Mar. 3-5.
The Titans will next step on the Field next weekend as they open Big West Conference play at Cal State Northridge next Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Matador Field.