The Cal State Fullerton baseball team failed to take advantage of multiple scoring opportunities in its 2-0 rubber duel loss to the Arizona Wildcats on Wednesday, putting the Titans at 4-3 overall on the season.
Only four Titans managed to get a hit against Wildcat pitching. Three of those players made it into scoring position, but never managed to cross the plate. Fullerton went 0-6 with runners in scoring position.
Freshman right-hander Brett Conine started the game for the Titans, having only pitched two innings with three strikeouts on the season going into Wednesday.
Conine took the mound against Arizona’s Nathan Bannister, who had only allowed opposing batters to hit .225 prior to Wednesday’s matchup.
The Wildcats took the lead in the second inning after J.J. Matijevic tripled off of Conine, sending Bobby Dalbec in to score. Conine then found himself in a bases-loaded jam, but gave up only one more run in the frame, leaving the game at 2-0 Wildcats going into the third inning.
The Titans attempted to strike back in the top of the third as junior infielder Dakota Wix singled up the middle to advance senior outfielder Dalton Blaser into scoring position.
However, they ended up squandering the opportunity, as Bannister retired senior infielder Josh Vargas and junior infielder Timmy Richards to end the inning.
The pitching duel continued as both hurlers showed mastery of the art of inducing outs on contact. Conine was removed from the game in the sixth after giving up two runs on five hits.
Alfonso Rivas led the Wildcats in batting average at .476 with seven runs batted in going into Wednesday, but went 0-3 against Conine.
Bannister continued to put zeros on the scoreboard until he was pulled in the seventh. He finished the game pitching six full innings with four strikeouts and no earned runs.
The only Fullerton player to get a hit through the sixth was Wix. In the seventh, Hurst finally made some noise against Bannister, shooting a single to left, then stealing second. The inning would end without a Titan run, leaving the score at 2-0 Arizona.
Conine earned the loss on Wednesday night.
The next challenge for the Titans will be a series on the road against Texas Tech University from Friday through Sunday before returning home to face Arizona State University on Tuesday at 6 p.m.