9-Run Fourth Propels Titans Past UCR, 18-1

March 29, 2009

Box Score

Riverside, Calif. - Khris Davis doubled to trigger and then homered to cap a 9-run fourth inning Sunday afternoon as No. 1-ranked Cal State Fullerton routed UC Riverside, 18-1, in Big West Conference baseball action.

The lopsided win after two tense pitchers' duels gave Fullerton a 2-1 win of the conference-opening series, its first such victory at UCR in four tries and improved its overall record to 18-4. Freshman righthander Tyler Pill was the beneficiary as he improved to 5-0 with seven innings of 5-hit shutout ball. He struck out six and walked none.

UCR fell to 16-6 as starter Paul Applebee dropped his second game in a row to fall to 4-2.

The Titans collected 15 hits and benefited from four UCR errors. Fullerton outhit the Highlanders in the series, 35-17.

"Little ball got our offense ignited," said Coach Dave Serrano. "Joe Scott and Jeff Newman pushed those bunts and got us going. That will always be part of our game.

"Khris Davis was very sick today, but everytime we have someone sick they have a good game."

"I'm proud of the job Tyler Pill did today. He stepped up. Both freshmen (Noe Ramirez on Saturday) did extremely well. We overcame a tough loss on Friday and overcame ourselves. This could help us down the road. We beat a very good baseball team."

Fullerton used its little game to take a 2-0 lead in the third inning and then took full advantage of two throwing errors by shortstop Trevor Hairgrove. His wild throw to second led to the final five runs in the fourth and his low throw to first turned Fullerton's seventh inning into a 4-run frame.

Nick Ramirez led off the fourth with a single and went to third when Davis doubled off the batters' eye in right centerfield. Billy Marcoe singled for one run and Scott was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Newman lined the first pitch he saw into right field for a single to score Davis and send Applebee to the dugout. Reliever Dustin Emmons got Gary Brown to hit a grounder to short but Hairgrove's throw to second was wild, allowing two runs to score as Newman went to third and Brown ended up at second. After Fellhauer grounded to first, Newman and then Brown scored on wild pitches as Jared Clark was drawing a walk. Ramirez looped his second hit of the inning to left center and Davis cleared the batters' eye with his team-leading eighth home run to cap the explosion.

Scott and Newman pushed nearly identical bunts to first baseman Brian McConkey for singles to open the third inning. They each moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch. Brown popped to short but Colon hit a fly ball deep enough to right to score Scott and Newman came home on Fellhauer's two-out single that he dumped over the third-baseman's head.

Fullerton's next four runs were scored with only one hit in the seventh. Davis walked and went to third on two infield outs. Newman was hit by a pitch and Mike Wolford replaced Emmons. Brown got hit to load the bases and Hairgroves threw low to first for one run after fielding Colon's grounder that should have ended the inning. Pinch-hitter Joey Siddons walked to force home Newman and Brown and Colon scored on Clark's double down the left-field line.

The Titans were able to clear their bench for the final innings. Colin O'Connell made his Titan pitching debut and gave up an unearned run in the eighth. Shevis Shima replaced Scott at second base and was a magnet for the ball. He threw out the first batter but then booted a grounder. Carl Uhl doubled before Shima made a diving stop to rob Eddie Young of a single. Hairgroves scored on the play and the inning ended on another grounder to Shima.

Fullerton added three runs in the ninth. Brown was hit for the third time in the series. Colon was safe on a fielder's choice before Siddons beat out a dribbler to third. Both scored on pinch-hitter Wes Borba's double to right center. A single by Matt Fahey and another UCR error brought Borba home and the Titans had their season's high run total. It's the most they've scored since a 19-6 win over Southern Mississippi on March 9, 2008, at Goodwin Field.

Kyle Mertins pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth and the Titans' Div. I record at the Riverside Sports Complex improved to 3-9.

Fullerton plays a pair of non-conference games at Arizona State on Tuesday and Wednesday night and then hosts UC Irvine in a Big West series next weekend.