Clark's Bat, Nick Ramirez' Arm Top ASU Offense

March 31, 2009

Box Score

Tempe, Ariz. - Jared Clark homered and doubled and Nick Ramirez pitched 4.1 innings of shutout relief Tuesday night to lead No. 1-ranked Cal State Fullerton to a 7-5 non-conference baseball victory before 3,851 at No. 3-ranked Arizona State in the DeMarini West Coast Challenge.

Fullerton improved to 19-4 while the Sun Devils fell to 19-5 in the opener of a two-game mid-week series between two of the nation's perennial powers. Michael Morrison got the final two outs for his fourth save after Jason Kipnis' two-run homer in the ninth off Ryan Acklund.

Jeff Newman's two-out bloop single to left scored Dustin Garneau from third base to break a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning and the Titans added a single run in each of the final three innings to win at ASU for only the tenth time in 29 Div. I contests. Joe Scott had a pair of RBI singles but his error keyed a 3-run ASU second inning.

Ramirez (1-1) got his first collegiate win with his longest outing to date and didn't allow a hit. Jason Franzblau (1-1), the second of five ASU pitchers and the most effective allowing only one run in 4.1 innings, nevertheless took the loss. Kipnis' homer was the only Sun Devil hit after the third inning.

"It was good to come out on top," said Head Coach Dave Serrano. "There wasn't one phase of the game we excelled in but we got the job done and overcame a good team.

"Nick Ramirez was a good shot in the arm picking up (Kyle) Witten. The four picket fences in the last four innings said we did some good things offensively."

Fullerton jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. After two outs in the first, Josh Fellhauer singled and came home on a double to right-centerfield by Clark. In the second, Khris Davis extended his batting streak to 10 games with a single. He stole second, went to third on a sacrifice by Garneau and scored on Scott's single to right. Scott moved to second as Jeff Newman grounded out and scored on Gary Brown's double into the left-field corner. Franzblau relieved starter Matt Newman and got out of the inning when Brown got hung up between second and third after a pitch in the dirt.

The Titans' defense let starter Kyle Witten down in the second. After Drew Maggi singled on the first pitch, Scott booted Matt Newman's double play ground ball. Raoul Torrez then bunted with a 1-2 count and was credited with a single as Brown's throw bounced past Scott covering first. Maggi scored, Matt Newman went to third and Torrez ended up at second. Both runners moved up 90 feet on Zach MacPhee's sacrifice fly to center and Torrez came home to tie the game at 3-3 on a single to right by Kipnis. Only one run was unearned.

Witten got two quick outs in the third before Jeff Newman misjudged Matt Newman's drive which carried over his head for a double. But Whitten got Torrez to ground out. However, he walked MacPhee to lead off the fourth and gave way to Nick Ramirez, who pitched 4.1 scoreless innings despite twice walking the leadoff hitter.

The Titans squandered a great chance in the fifth. Jeff Newman singled to center and went to third on Brown's second double, this one to right centerfield. But Christian Colon bounced back to the mound and Fellhauer became the first ASU strikeout victim. After Clark walked to load the bases, Nick Ramirez grounded to second.

In the sixth, Garneau walked with one out, stole second and continued to third when Carlos Ramirez' throw went into center field. Scott grounded to third but Jeff Newman dropped a Texas Leaguer into left-center to put Fullerton ahead, 4-3. Kole Calhoun took over for Franzblau in the seventh and got two outs before Clark hit his fifth home run of the year, over the right centerfield fence, for a 5-3 lead.

What proved to the decisive runs came in the eighth and ninth. Brown's two-out single scored Garneau in the eighth and Scott's two-out single in the ninth scored Davis.

The series concludes Wednesday night at 6 p.m. with Kevin Rath (1-0) the probable Fullerton starter.