BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Christian Duarte's first goal of the season in the 84th minute proved to be the game-winner and Bakersfield goalkeeper Eric Shannon made nine saves on the night, helping lift the host Roadrunners to a, 2-1, victory over visiting Cal State Fullerton at the CSUB Main Soccer Field on Monday.
The loss for the Titans was their second-straight, dropping them to 1-5 overall on the year. Each of Fullerton's last four matches has been decided by a single goal with three of those ending in defeat. CSU Bakersfield earned its first victory of the season in improving to 1-1-3 overall.
"The boys played hard tonight," Head Coach Bob Ammann said. "Lots of very good scoring chances were squandered. We need to do more with our opportunities if we want the results to change."
Titan senior Jesse Escalante netted his second goal of the year off a turnover just 49 seconds after Duarte's game-winner had put the Roadrunners up, 2-0. Escalante, who had another chance clang off the crossbar in the 35th minute, capitalized on a miscue by the Bakersfield defense, sending it home from five yards out for the final score. Fullerton had a chance to pull even a minute later off a corner, but Jesse Vega's header was gobbled up by Shannon to preserve the lead.
Titan freshman goalkeeper Adam Zepeda also did his best to keep his side in the match, finishing with a career-high nine saves while facing 21 shots (11 on frame) from the Roadrunners' offense, but Bakersfield was the side that struck first in the 37th minute when David Velasquez netted his first of the year from 10 yards out for the 1-0 lead.
That score stood until Duarte's strike at the 83:03 mark, as he took off on a long run, beat two defenders and fired it home from eight yards out.
The Roadrunners finished with a, 21-16, shot advantage led by six shots from Velasquez off the bench. Escalante and senior Bobby Reiss each finished with three shots apiece to lead the Titans.
Fullerton leaves the state of California for the first and only time in 2012 this weekend as the Titans head to Las Vegas to take on a pair of New York schools at the UNLV Nike Invitational. Fullerton opens against Canisius on Friday (Sept. 14) at 4:30 p.m., before meeting Syracuse on Sunday (Sept. 16) at 11 a.m.