May 7, 2010
Fullerton, Calif. - Christian Colon was 2-for-4 and drove in two runs and Noe Ramirez was solid in his return to the mound as Cal State Fullerton upended UC Riverside 6-4 in a Big West Conference game Friday night at Goodwin Field.
The Titans, winners of 10 of their last 11 games, held on to their 2 1/2 game lead over UC Irvine with the win and improved to 28-14, 13-3. Riverside came into the game in third place in the Big West, fell into fourth behind Pacific. Riverside is now 23-16, 7-6.
Noe Ramirez, making his first start since Apr. 10 (at UC Irvine) worked six solid innings, giving up three runs on seven hits on 104 pitches. All three runs scored on two home runs, one by Tony Nix in the fourth, the other by Michael Hur, a two-run job in the sixth. Ramirez (7-2) has won six of his last seven outings.
Ramirez missed three starts after suffering a fracture to his left wrist (non-throwing arm) in a freak accident back on Apr. 14.
The Titans' fourth and final arm of the night, Nick Ramirez, worked a perfect 1 2/3 to notch his sixth save of the season. The lefty, who saw his 20-game hitting streak come to an end at the plate, came on with two on and one out in the eight, and got a pop-up and a strikeout to end the threat. Ramirez got a strikeout and two fly ball to close the door on Riverside in the ninth.
Matt Andriese (4-4) suffered the loss despite hurling his third complete-game of the season. Fullerton worked Andriese for six runs on 12 hits, and drew a pair of walks, while the righty notched three strikeouts.
The Titans scored five unanswered runs over the first three innings.
After Andriese hit Colon in the bottom of the first and Gary Brown reached on an infield single, a swinging bunt by Carlos Lopez moved the runners up 90 feet to set up RBI opportunities for Tyler Pill and Nick Ramirez. Pill drove home Colon with a grounder to second, and Ramirez brought home Brown with a sacrifice fly to give Fullerton a 2-0 lead.
The Titans sent eight men to the plate in the second and scored two more times, off the bat of Colon and Brown. Corey Jones led off the inning with a hit and was sac'd to second. Richie Pedroza singled through the left side to put runners at the corners for the top of the order. Colon reached on an error by shortstop Trevor Hairgrove and was credited with an RBI as Jones scored on the play. Brown then doubled home Pedroza with a lined shot to center.
After the two long-balls got Riverside to within two runs at 5-3, Fullerton added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Anthony Hutting walked to lead off the frame and was sacrificed to second. Colon singled through the 5-6 hole to drive home Austin Kingsolver, who came on as a pinch runner for Hutting.
Kyle Mertins came on in relief of Noe Ramirez in the top of the seventh and got himself into some trouble after getting the first out. He hit Hairgrove, and then walked Brian McConkey before giving up an single to right by Joey Gonzalez to load the bases. Fullerton quickly went to their bullpen and brought in Dylan Floro, who promptly got Hur to strikeout looking with a 3-and-2 breaking ball and induced an inning-ending grounder off the batt of Robert Brantly.
Floro gave up an unearned run in the eighth as Nix reached on a Matt Orloff error at second, and came around to score on an Eddie Young single. Floro's night was over after a walk to Bryan Horst put runners at first an second with an out. Nick Ramirez replaced his first base glove with his pitching glove and got Floro and the Titans out of the jam.
The Titans had their second-biggest crowd of the year on Friday night, drawing 3,078 fans, the biggest attendance since opening night against the University of Oregon.
Colon, Brown, Marcoe and Jones each had two hits to lead the Titans offensively. Gonzalez, Nix and Young each had two for Riverside.
Game two of the series will begin at 6 p.m. Daniel Renken (7-2, 4.69 ERA) will be on the mound for Fullerton, with Riverside countering with Dustin Emmons (6-3, 3.00 ERA).
Cal State Fullerton will honor members of the 1995 national champion baseball team prior to the first pitch of Saturday's game. The 1995 squad is celebrating its 15th anniversary of bring home the school's third national title.