April 5, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - Matthew Fahey came through in the clutch with a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift No. 1 Cal State Fullerton (20-7, 3-3) to a 5-4 Big West Conference baseball victory over No. 8 UC Irvine (19-8, 5-1) at Goodwin Field, Sunday.
The Titans trailed for much of the game, but a late rally with two runs in the seventh inning and one in the eighth tied the game up at 4-4, and left the door open for Fahey's heroics in the 10th.
Tyler Pill led off the bottom of the 10th with a walk, then pinch runner Shevis Shima moved up to second when Khris Davis hit a sky-high pop-up to center field. For the third time on the afternoon the Anteaters couldn't find it in the sun and both runners were safe. Dustin Garneau moved the runners up with a sac-bunt and Gary Brown was walked to load up the bases. Cal State Fullerton head coach Dave Serrano sent Fahey to the plate to pinch-hit and UC Irvine head coach Mike Gillespie brought an outfielder in to play as an extra infielder. The move worked for the Titans and Fahey launched a single to left centerfield off of Eric Pettis, scoring Shima and clinching the come-from-behind 5-4 win for the Titans. With the win the Titans avoided their first home conference sweep since 2002 - when they were swept by Cal State Northridge (No. 23 in the nation at the time).
The winning pitcher for Cal State Fullerton was Ryan Ackland (2-0), who entered the game in the top of the 10th in relief of Michael Morrison. Morrison came in to pitch the ninth after starter Tyler Pill went eight innings, with three strikeouts, and allowed four runs on five hits.
UCI sent five pitchers to the mound on the afternoon. Crosby Slaught started the game and went 5 and 2/3, only allowing one run on seven hits. Kyle Necke and Noel Avison each allowed one run in relief, Cory Hamilton pitched a third of an inning and Pettis (2-1) picked up the loss, allowing two runs on five hits in 2 and 1/3 innings.
The Anteaters got on the board first when Jeff Cusick homered for the second day in a row in his first at-bat. Cusick's homer gave UCI an early 1-0 lead over the Titans.
Cal State Fullerton bounced right back in the bottom half of the frame when Christian Colon's high infield pop-up was lost in the sun by UCI shortstop Ben Orloff in front of second base. The ball fell right next to Orloff and Colon was in safely at first. Jeff Newman laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Colon to second and a wild pitch by Slaught gave the Titans a runner at third base with only one out. Josh Fellhauer grounded to first, but the ball was booted by Cusick and Colon scored to tie the game at 1-1.
UCI went back on top in the second when Francis Larson led off the inning with a single into center field, then moved to second when Casey Stevenson was hit by a Tyler Pill pitch. Larson gave the Anteaters a 2-1 lead when DJ Crumlich hit a bunt single to Joey Siddons. Siddons throw to first went wide of the bag allowing Larson to score. A double down the leftfield line brought home Stevenson and a sac-fly to center by Orloff sent Crumlich across the plate. Fellhauer's throw appeared to beat the runner, but Billy Marcoe couldn't hold on to it and the Anteaters went up 4-1.
The Titans came back with two runs in the bottom of the seventh when Siddons (3 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 run) led off with a single to left past a diving Orloff. Tony Harkey's pinch-hit dribbler down the first base line was picked up by Francis Larson, but his throw was high and Harkey was safe at first. Siddons moved to third on the play and scored on ground out by Fellhauer while Harkey moved up to second. Harkey went to third on a wild pitch and brought the Titans to within one at 4-3 when Jared Clark hit a grounder deep into the hole at short and beat the throw to score Harkey.
CSF tied the game up at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth when Marcoe singled up the middle and scored on Siddons third hit of the afternoon.
The Titans take the field next when the host Loyola Marymount at Goodwin Field on Tuesday at 6 p.m.