FULLERTON, Calif. – It's always wild in the Big West and this game was no exception, but luckily it was Cal State Fullerton coming up on the right side of this one, defeating Cal Poly 5-4 to clinch the series victory, Saturday afternoon at Goodwin Field.
For Fullerton (14-15, 3-2 Big West) the series marked its first conference series victory and equals its longest win streak of the season at four straight games.
Blake Workman (4-4) was fantastic in relief, as he pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, while giving up just three hits, walking one and striking out a career-high equaling six batters. Brett Conine picked up his third save over his last four games and recorded his sixth save overall. He tossed 0.2 inning and fanned two.
Ruben Cardenas was fantastic, as he went 2-of-3 from the plate, including a home run, two RBI and a run scored. Sahid Valenzuela went 2-for-4 from the dish with a run scored, while Hank LoForte scored two runs, collected a knock and drove in one.
Tyler Lasch was crucial, producing a pinch hit and a walk, while Cody Minnis made his first collegiate start and notched his first collegiate knock. Mitchell Berryhill also went 1-for-3 with a run scored
Cal Poly struck first, as Alex McKenna took the third pitch of the game to right center for a leadoff triple. He later scored after he took advantage of Bradlee Beesley trying to steal second.
However Fullerton struck right back, as LoForte was plunked in the back to begin the Titan half of the first. Valenzuela then singled on a perfectly placed bunt. Cardenas then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third before Cope flew out deep to left field to record the sacrifice fly and tie the game at 1-1.
The Titans weren't done offensively, as Berryhill led off the bottom of the third with a single to left, he then advanced to second on a passed ball before LoForte shot a rocket down the right field line to drive in Berryhill and make it a 2-1 Titan advantage.
Two batters later, Cardenas extended Fullerton's lead with a mammoth shot over the left field fence for a two-run jack for his second homer of the season to make it a 4-1 Titan lead.
However, Cal Poly kept the see-saw battle going, as the Mustangs struck for three runs on five hits in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 4-4.
Drama ensued in the bottom of the seventh, as the Titans had runners at second and third with no one out, but couldn't drive one in. However, Cal Poly returned the favor the favor in the eight, as the Mustangs left runners at second and third after Workman got two big strikeouts to end the inning.
The Titan offense broke through in the eighth though, as Valenzuela smoked one to center before Cardenas connected a single through the right side to put runners at the corners with one no one out. Two batters later, Pavletich proved to be the hero, launching a deep sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Valenzuela from third and put the Titans on top 5-4.
Conine then came in to shut the door with one way in the ninth.
The Titans will go for the series sweep, Sunday at 1 pm PT.
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