March 31, 2006
Fullerton, Calif - A single by Evan McArthur slipped under the glove of leftfielder James Scott and rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Jared Clark to score the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as No. 2 Cal State Fullerton defeated Cal State Northridge, 2-1 Friday night. The speedy game at Goodwin Field was the Big West Conference opener for both squads, lasting just 2:14, the shortest of the season for Fullerton.
The Titans remain red hot with the victory and improved to 22-7 overall and 1-0 in conference play. Fullerton has won 13 of its last 14 and has now strung together five straight victories. The Matadors even up their record at 15-15 and snap a six-game winning streak with their first conference loss of the season.
It was a well pitched game by both team's starting pitchers but it was Wes Roemer who came out on top improving to 6-0 on the year.
The sophomore pitched eight innings of four-hit baseball and tied a career-high with 12 strikeouts. Roemer surrendered just one run on the night, scored by Jonathan Sakurai who walked to lead off the sixth inning. That's right, Roemer, who had not walked a batter in 65 2/3 innings dating back to last season, took Sakurai to a 3-2 count before missing outside for ball four. His streak, the best in the nation, came to an end, but the righty has still compiled a pretty good strikeout-to-walk ratio (70:1) on the season.
It wasn't until the bottom of the fifth inning that either team scored, but an RBI single by Clark off of Matador starter Craig Baker (4-5) gave the Titans the 1-0 advantage. Bryan Harris led off the frame with a single through the left side and was then sacrificed over by catcher John Curtis. Harris scored from second on the single, eventually improving the Titans record to 14-2 when the team scores first.
Baker pitched well enough to win, handling the Titans for eight innings surrendering just six hits and striking out four without a walk. The Matador faced the minimum number of hitters in six of the eight frames and just four over the minimum in the entire game.
Clark, who led all players with two hits on Friday night, was again in the mix in the eighth when the Titans took the lead for good. The right fielder knocked a single to left to start off the eighth, moving to second on a Brandon Tripp sacrifice bunt. McArthur then stepped up to the plate and lined a shot to left field that would not have allowed Clark to score from second. But as Sakurai went down for the ball, it slid under his glove and rolled another 100 feet to the base of the leftfield wall, allowing Clark to score and McArthur to go all the way to third base.
Vinnie Pestano picked up his conference-leading eleventh save of the season with a dominant ninth. The junior struck out pinch-hitter Erik Hagstrom, Kris Kasarjian, and Scott Lyons to secure the victory for Roemer and the Titans. In Pestano's last eight appearances, the side-armer has collected six saves and a win without allowing a run while striking out 14 in seven innings.
The two squads will return to the Goodwin Field tomorrow night at 6 p.m. with Lauren Gagnier (6-2, 2.86 ERA) on the hill for the Titans and Chuckie Fick (3-4, 5.08 ERA) countering for the Matadors.
NOTES: Roemer hit three batters on the night, to close in on his own single-season hit-batter record of 18. The pitcher has already plunked 15 on the season...Pestano's 11th save was also his 25th career save, just one short of his pitching coach Ted Silva's career-mark of 26. Silva, a Titan from 1993-95, ranks third on the all-time saves list at Cal State Fullerton and also tenth on the all-time wins list with 26.