Titans Win Roller Coaster Ride, 14-12, Clinch Series
May 14, 2011
Fullerton, Calif. - Richy Pedroza doubled home 3 runs with 2 out in the bottom of the seventh inning to overcome an 11-0 Long Beach State rally Saturday night as Cal State Fullerton escaped with a bizarre 14-12 Big West Conference victory over the 49ers.
Michael Lorenzen had 3 hits and drove in 4 runs as the No. 9-ranked Titans saw a 9-0 lead disappear before rallying to improve to 35-14 overall and 16-4 in the Big West. The 49ers got a home run and double for 4 RBI from Matt Marjama but fell to 24-24, 8-9 after letting an 11-9 advantage evaporate.
Jake Floethe (4-3) worked a scoreless eighth inning to get credit for the win and Nick Ramirez logged his 14th save despite allowing an unearned run and leaving two runners on base in the ninth. Fullerton starter Tyler Pill struck out eight in the first four innings and didn't allow a hit until the fifth but couldn't get out of that inning as the 49ers rallied with a total of 7 unearned runs off him.
Loser Jon Maciel's (0-1) own error set up three unearned runs in the seventh for Fullerton, which added two insurance runs in the eighth that proved decisive. Maciel walked Carlos Lopez to open the seventh before hitting Greg Velasquez and mishandling Keegan Dale's sacrifice bunt. He got Jared Deacon to pop out and struck out Ivory Thomas but Pedroza drove the ball over rightfielder Brennan Metzger's head.
Long Beach had taken its only lead of the game in the top of the seventh. Kirk Singer singled home Juan Avila with two outs and then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Matt Hibbert's single.
Fullerton jumped on Ryan Strufing for 9 runs in the first two innings but couldn't knock him out of the game until the sixth. Pedroza and Pill singled up the middle with one out in the first and both came home on Lorenzen's double off the left-field fence.
Fullerton sent 11 men to the plate in the second and seven of them scored. Lopez led off with a walk and came home as Velasquez and Blake Barber singled on the next two pitches. A sacrifice and a hit batter loaded the bases. Strufing got Pedroza on a pop up to first but then imploded. He walked Pill on four pitches for one run, hit Ramirez to force in another and then balked as Ivory Thomas broke from third. Lorenzen singled home Pill and Ramirez and he eventually came home on Lopez' single to center to make it 9-0.
The 49ers got back in the game with a 6-run fifth inning, scoring all of the runs after two were out and there could have been four outs. Metzger was safe on third baseman Barber's throwing error before Pill retired the next two men and got Hibbert to swing and miss strike three. But the pitch was wild, Metzger scored and Hibbert reached first. Jeff McNeil singled and Marjama hit a 3-run home run to left to make it 9-5. A walk, a single and a hit batter loaded the bases and brought on reliever Dylan Floro, who was greeted by Metzger's 2-run single to make it 9-7.
The 49ers tied it in the sixth with their first two earned runs. Singer singled, moved to second on a sacrifice, to third on a single by McNeil and came home on Marjama's double. McNeil scored to tie the game at 9-9 on Ino Patron's chopper to third base.
Long Beach's first run in the third inning also was unearned. Michaell Hill was safe when catcher Jared Deacon bobbled his topper in front of the plate. Singer walked and the 49ers pulled a double steal as Hibbert struck out. Hill scored when Deacon's wide throw went down the left-field line.
Fullerton's final two runs scored with two outs off Branden Pinder. Thomas beat out an infield hit with the bases loaded and Pedroza walked.
Ramirez' save was the 32nd of his career, tying him for second on the Titans' all-time list with Scott Wright. Chad Cordero is No. 1 with 34.
The Titans will go for a series sweep Sunday. Colin O'Connell is the probable Fullerton starter.