After dominating the first two games of a nonconference series against the University of San Diego with a combined score of 21-4, No. 8 Cal State Fullerton baseball could not overcome a five-run first inning from the Toreros, falling 11-6.
With runners on first and second, the Titans were able to get the second out of the first inning and looked to be in good shape to get out of the early jam.
However, San Diego center fielder Colton Waltner stepped to the plate and ripped an RBI single to left field to score Hunter Marcodo-Hood from second base, starting an onslaught of runs for the Toreros.
Titan pitcher Joe Wills walked the next batter to load the bases for San Diego. Brhet Bewley followed that up with a double to right field to score three runners and give the Toreros an early 4-0 lead.
San Diego added one more run in the first, scoring five runs on five hits. It was the third time Wills threw against the Toreros this season.
“Not a lot of guys in college pitch against the same team three times in one year, but we’ll go out and let him get his innings in,” said CSUF Head Coach Rick Vanderhook prior to Tuesday’s game.
Wills did not get his innings in. Vanderhook and pitching coach Blake Hawksworth elected to go with redshirt freshman Erik Cha to start the second inning.
Cha didn’t fair so well in his first inning of work either, giving up three runs on four hits, letting San Diego further extend its lead to 8-0 after two innings of play.
The Titans finally got on the board to stem the tide in the top fifth inning with some help from San Diego pitcher C.J. Burdick, who walked three batters and allowed third baseman Zach Weller to score on a wild pitch.
Following Burdick’s struggles, San Diego brought in relief pitcher Sean Barry to clean things up, but on his first pitch of the game he gave up the Titans’ second run on an RBI single from Scott Hurst on a fielder’s choice.
Fullerton added two more runs in the sixth on an RBI double down the left field line from backup catcher Nico Pacheco, allowing Hunter Cullen and Dillon Persinger to cross the plate and tighten the score to 8-4.
The Titans went on to score two more runs in the contest, but allowed San Diego to plate three runs to end the game in a lopsided affair.
CSUF will now head to San Luis Obispo for Big West play to take on Cal Poly in a three-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m. at Bob Janssen Field.