May 27, 2011
Northridge, Calif. - Vincent Roberts held No. 9 Cal State Fullerton to just one unearned run and two hits over 6.2 innings to lead Cal State Northridge to a 5-4 Big West Conference victory and hold off the Titans' attempt at clinching at least a tie for the league championship on their own.
Fullerton can still clinch on Friday night if Long Beach State beats UC Irvine. The Titans fall to 38-15 overall and 17-5 in Big West play. Northridge improves to 23-31, 6-16.
Roberts (3-6), who picked up the win, bested Fullerton's Noe Ramirez (8-3) who allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits over six innings to take the tough-luck loss. He also struck out seven in his first loss since Mar. 11 at LSU. Paul Tremlin logged his third save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning.
Fullerton mustered just five hits on the afternoon, the fewest hits since the loss at Cal Poly on Apr. 22.
After a 7-6-2 relay cut down a potential Fullerton run in the top of the third, Northridge pushed across an unearned run in bottom half without the aid of a hit. Ridge Carpenter was hit by Ramirez with one out and then moved around to third on a stolen base/passed ball charged to Jared Deacon. Adam Berry walked to put runners at the corners and proceeded to steal second. On the play, Deacon came up and threw to third to try and catch Carpenter off guard, but his throw went wide and down the line to allow the game's first run.
In the sixth, Ramirez struck out the first two batters of the inning and then surrendered a pop fly double that landed just fair between shortstop Keegan Dale and left fielder Ivory Thomas. The next batter, Matthew Moreno singled sharply to left-center to give Northridge a 2-0 lead.
The Titans cut the lead to 2-1 on a successful double-steal with runners at first and third. Michael Lorenzen had walked and went to second on an error charged to Roberts on an errant pick-off attempt. A one-out bunt single by Keegan Dale moved Lorenzen to third. After the double steal, a wild pitch moved Dale to third where he remained. Deacon grounded weakly to first with the infield drawn in, and Thomas, facing new pitcher Chris DeBoo, was fooled and struck out on a high fastball.
Dylan Floro on in relief of Noe Ramirez, had his second-straight rough outing. He faced five batters, four of which reached via a hit. Marty Bowen's two-run double down the left field line broke the game open at 4-1, and ended Floro's outing at two thirds of an inning.
Fullerton scratched out a pair of runs in the eighth to get back within one run. Richy Pedroza led off the inning with a double into the right field corner and Tyler Pill was hit by DeBoo. Nick Ramirez grounded to second to put runners in scoring position and Carlos Lopez's grounder to short made it 4-2. A third straight grounder went to third, but Moreno's throw was air-mailed to first, allowing Michael Lorenzen to reach and Pill to come home with the Titans' third run.
Back-to-back pinch-hit singles in the ninth by Casey Watkins and Austin Kingsolver got the Titans going in the ninth off DeBoo. Thomas, facing Tremliln, bunted home a run and moved Kingsolver into scoring position for the heart of the Titan order. Pedroza flew out to left for the second out of the inning. Pill was hit by Tremlin and he and Kingsolver stole second and third to put the go-ahead runs in scoring position for Nick Ramirez, but the first baseman looked at strike three to end the game.
The second game of the three-game series will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.