The Cal State Fullerton baseball team needed extra innings Tuesday to complete their non-conference comeback against the No. 13 USC Trojans at Dedeaux Field.
Down three runs heading into the seventh inning, the Titans (23-20 overall, 8-4 Big West) surged back with five unanswered runs to win 5-3 in 12 innings. With the victory, CSUF split the season series with USC (30-13 overall, 11-7 Pac 12), each team nabbing a road win.
Redshirt sophomore Miles Chambers got the starting nod for the Titans and kept the Trojans in check to start the game. Chambers walked the first two batters he faced, but settled down and retired the side.
Chambers’ only blunder came in the fourth inning when his pitch hung up enough for USC’s AJ Ramirez to hammer the ball over the left field wall to put the Trojans up 1-0.
Chambers was lifted after the home run, finishing his day allowing one run, four hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts over 3.2 innings.
Freshman Connor Seabold took over pitching duties. Seabold was also tagged for a run in the fifth. The Trojans strung together a two-out rally with a Jeremy Martinez double followed by a Timmy Robinson single to bring home the second USC run.
The Trojans extended their lead in the sixth with some small ball. David Oppenheim led off the inning with a double down the left field line and then advanced to third from a balk. USC Head Coach Dan Hubbs made the call for a suicide squeeze, and Ramirez laid down the bunt perfectly to allow Oppenheim to slide in safely at home.
With the seemingly lifeless CSUF bats, it appeared as though USC would cruise to a season sweep of the Titans.
Trojan starter Bernardo Flores was in full control through six innings, allowing just three hits to the Titans. However, after a single by CSUF third baseman Jerrod Bravo, Flores was lifted by Hubbs and the floodgates opened for the Titans.
Three more singles by the Titans brought in two runners to cut the deficit to 3-2. The Titans knotted the game in the next inning when Bravo’s groundout allowed Josh Vargas to cross home.
Titan closer Tyler Peitzmeier was called in to pitch in the eighth inning and put in overtime to earn the win. He pitched masterfully in his career-high 5.2 innings of work, allowing just a hit and a walk while striking out five.
After the Titans left the bases loaded in the 11th, they were finally able to break through in the 12th with a clutch two-out liner up the middle by Richards to bring in Tristan Hildebrandt from third. USC allowed CSUF to pad their lead when a wild pitch brought home Richards.
Peitzmeier made quick work of the Trojans in the 12th, sitting them down in order to claim the sixth Titan win this season over ranked opposition.
The Titans now turn their focus back to the Big West Conference, traveling to Riverside over the weekend to face the last-place UC Riverside Highlanders.