After a rough start to the season, the Cal State Fullerton baseball team is slowly starting to build momentum and gain confidence heading into the heart of their Big West Conference schedule.
The Titans (17-14 overall, 4-2 Big West) got their nine-game road trip started on the right foot with a 6-4 non-conference win over the University of San Diego Toreros (17-13 overall, 9-3 West Coast) Tuesday at Fowler Park.
CSUF exacted revenge Tuesday for a 9-4 blowout at the hands of the Toreros earlier this month at home. The Fullerton victory snapped a four-game losing streak to the Toreros that dated back to 2013 and marked the sixth win in the Titans’ past eight contests.
The offensive sparks were on display right from the start when Fullerton jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
After junior Dustin Vaught was drilled to begin the game for the Titans, Josh Vargas’ bunt to third base forced an errant throw by Jerod Smith and allowed Vaught to advance to third while Vargas cruised to second.
With the bases loaded after David Olmedo-Barrera was intentionally walked, Jerrod Bravo came through with a single over the Torero shortstop to plate Vaught and Vargas.
CSUF freshman starter Connor Seabold struggled, as San Diego answered right back by putting up a 3-spot in the bottom of the inning. Seabold allowed five hits, capped off by a 2-RBI double by Ryan Kirby to put the Toreros ahead 3-2.
The Titans would continue to surge in the next inning as they took back the lead at 4-3. Vaught and Vargas drew two-out walks before first baseman Josh Estill roped a double to center field over Austin Bailey, who was playing shallow.
Redshirt sophomore reliever Miles Chambers took over on the mound in the second and pitched 3.2 innings of shutout relief. Chambers would be credited with the win, his second of the season.
Fullerton extended their lead to 5-3 in the third inning when Bravo reached first on another error by Smith, stole second and was driven in by a Tyler Stieb double with two outs.
Stieb added one final insurance run for the Titans in the seventh when his groundout-double play brought home Scott Hurst.
CSUF Head Coach Rick Vanderhook called in senior closer Tyler Peitzmeier in the eighth after a leadoff walk to begin the inning. The runner would eventually score off of a sacrifice fly, but Peitzmeier did well to stem the tide and get out of the inning.
Peitzmeier made quick work of the Toreros in the ninth, sitting them down in order on six pitches to secure the 6-4 win and earn his 11th save of the season.
If the Titans can continue to draw walks and produce clutch hits with two outs against opposing pitchers, they could become a dangerous team to be feared by their conference opponents.
The Titans will look to continue their three-game winning streak when they return to Big West Conference action against UC Davis this weekend.