After winning two straight conference series, Cal State Fullerton baseball split a hard fought four-game series on the road against the Cal State Northridge Matadors.
The Titans looked to continue their strong play on Friday, but were immediately met by a productive Matador offense. Northridge scored at least one run in every inning except the fifth and seventh.
On the mound for Fullerton was ace Tanner Bibee who was uncharacteristically banged around by the opposing offense. After pitching well in four consecutive starts, Bibee only threw three innings on Friday and gave up six runs, three unearned, on four hits and three walks.
Pitching for Northridge was Blake Sodersten who was masterful, limiting Titan hitters to one run on three hits in eight innings while striking out seven along the way. After all was said and done, Northridge emerged victorious by a score of 11-1 with the win going to Sodersten and the loss to Bibee.
The teams played a double-header on Saturday and game one was a hotly contested showdown that went to extra innings.
Things started much better for the Titans in game one by taking an early one-run lead in the first inning. The Matadors answered with a run in the fourth and two in the sixth, which gave them a 3-2 lead before the Titans tied it at three in the next inning.
The game stayed tied until the tenth inning when Fullerton exploded with a three-run lead and held on to win the game by a score of 6-4. Michael Weisberg got the win with three strong innings out of the bullpen for the Titans and Cameron Repetti got the save in the 10th.
The second game started slow for both teams, with the game tied at one by the end of the fourth inning. Things went very bad for Fullerton when Northridge exploded for six runs in the fifth inning, two in the sixth inning and another one in the seventh inning to give the Matadors a 10-1 lead.
Fullerton showed they weren’t going to quit by tacking on a run in the eighth inning, but ultimately fell by a score of 10-2.
Michael Knorr was credited with the loss for the Titans after pitching four innings and being tagged for five earned runs. Jeremy Hassel earned the win for the Matadors, as he pitched five strong innings, gave up one run on five hits and struck out four Titans.
The final game of the series took place on Sunday afternoon and like game one on Saturday, it was another close contest that was decided in extra innings.
It was another pitcher’s duel to start the final game with Fullerton’s Kyle Luckham, throwing 6.2 innings, giving up just one earned run, battling against Blaine Traxel, who pitched eight innings and gave up three earned runs. Northridge was winning 3-1 when the Titan offense scored four runs to take a late 5-3 lead in the eighth inning.
The lead would not be for long as the Matadors had their own late rally to tie the game at five to send the game to extra innings.
The game was decided by a huge two out RBI single from Dylan Pigford that gave the Titans a one-run lead. In an unusual decision, usual starter Bibee came out of the bullpen to finish the ninth and close out the tenth to give the Titans a 6-5 victory, and series split.
Despite the loss on Friday, Bibee earned the win on Sunday out of the bullpen while Kyle Hoskins was credited with the loss for Northridge.
Fullerton’s record moves the Titans to 10-6 in conference play which puts them at fourth place in the Big West behind Cal State Bakersfield, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine. Up next is a four game home series at Goodwin Field against the visiting University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Game one is on Friday with first pitch slated at 5 p.m.