Lopez' 9th Inning Slam Wins It for The Titans
April 27, 2010
San Diego, Calif. - Carlos Lopez' grand-slam with two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday afternoon completed Cal State Fullerton's best rally for a victory this season as the No. 13-ranked Titans pulled out a 13-10 non-conference win at the University of San Diego.
The Titans won their seventh in a row to improve to 25-13 and won for the third time in three tries against the No. 25-ranked Toreros, who fell to 23-16 as their 6-game win streak ended abruptly.
San Diego reliever Matt Hauser (3-2), who is one of 45 candidates for national reliever of the year, was one out away from getting the win after blowing a save by giving up a run in the eighth on Corey Jones' RBI single, his fourth hit of the game. But Richie Pedroza bounced a grounder up the middle for his fourth hit, Christian Colon walked and Gary Brown was credited with an infield single when shortstop Zach Walters threw late to third trying to force Pedroza. Lopez hit Hauser's first pitch on a line less than a yard fair and less than a yard over the right-field fence at the 329-foot sign.
Nick Ramirez (1-3), who gave up a go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth on a double by pinch-hitter Scott Schauer and Zach Kometani's RBI single on consecutive pitches, retired all three men in the bottom of the ninth to pick up his first win.
Fullerton fell behind 6-0 and overcame a 7-2 deficit with a 6-run sixth inning for its biggest comeback of the season.
Six Toreros picked up first-inning hits and all came around to score off starter David Hurlbut, who lasted just an inning. Chris Engell and Kometani each hit two-run home runs that were sandwiched around run-scoring singles by Walters and Nick McCoy.
Fullerton finally broke through in the fourth after going hitless in the first three innings off Chris Jensen. Brown doubled on a ball shot through the right side to lead off the frame and went on to third on Lopez's bloop single to left. Lopez then stole second to put runners in scoring position for Tyler Pill. Pill scored Brown with a grounder to third and Jones drove home Lopez with a lined shot back up the middle.
San Diego punched back with its third home run of the day in its half of the fourth to put the Toreros in the lead, 7-2. First baseman Bryan Haar jumped on Colin O'Connell's offering and sent it out to the short porch in left. It was the only run O'Connell allowed in four innings.
The Toreros escaped a bases-loaded jam with the Titans' three and four hitters coming to the plate in the fifth, but took a blow in the sixth as the Titans scored six times on five hits with 12 men coming to the plate to take an 8-7 lead.
Jones singled and Zach Tanida was hit by reliever Matt Thompson to open the inning. Nick Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 17 games with an RBI-ground rule double down the left field line scoring Jones to make it 7-3. Joey Siddons and Pedroza both drove in runs with singles to make it 7-5. With Siddons at third and Pedroza at first, Colon grounded to third for what should have been at least one out at second, but the shortstop, Zach Walters, inexplicably cut in front of second baseman Tony Strazzara to take the throw and missed tagging the base. Pedroza was safe at second and Siddons scored. With two outs and the bases loaded, Jones singled in two runs.
Kyle Mertins gave up runs in the sixth and seventh innings. He wild pitched Kometani to second from where he scored on a two-out single by Kevin Muno in the sixth. Engell led off the seventh with a double and continued to third when Tyler Pill's throw to the infield was errant. Strazzara hit a sacrifice fly for a 9-8 lead.
Fullerton tied the game in the eighth at 9-9 when Pill doubled with one out and pinch-runner Ivory Thomas scored on Jones' single to left.
Fullerton plays a 3-game Big West Conference series this weekend at Pacific.