After dropping two of three games to start the series against Hawai’i, Cal State Fullerton entered Sunday’s contest looking for redemption, but the Rainbow Warriors’ 12 hits were too much for the Titans to overcome as they lost by the final score of 8-2.
Fullerton’s bats were alive over the first three meetings of the series, averaging 10 hits per game against the Hawai’i pitching staff. However, just like the Titans, Hawai’i’s surging bats prompted Fullerton with a difficult task of conquering the Rainbow Warriors’ eight runs per game during Friday and Saturday’s double-header.
Sophomore right-hander Kyle Luckham received the starting nod for the Titans on Sunday, in which he recorded the loss after throwing five innings, surrendering six hits, four earned runs and striking out five.
“In the MLB they say you get a guy in a stressful situation — by the third time he’s going to crack,” said CSUF head coach Rick Vanderhook after Sunday’s game. “I think that third time turned into a crooked number.”
Hawai’i had eight players record a hit on Sunday, but none more impactful than designated hitter Dustin Demeter, who delivered four hits with six RBIs, including a two-run home run.
In the top of the sixth inning, Demeter cleared the bases with a three-run double after Stone Miyao worked a walk; Tyler Murray singled up the middle and Scotty Scott reached on a hit by pitch. Upon Demeter’s double, Murray was ejected from the game while standing on first base as a result of arguing calls with the first base umpire.
While the Titans registered seven hits, catcher Cole Urman delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, sending it through the right side of the infield as Deyland Pigford scored on an error by Hawai’i right fielder Tyler Best.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Urman tacked on another RBI to his evening, sending home Isaiah Garcia with a base hit to center field.
“Cole Urman is a good baseball player,” Vanderhook said. “He’s gotten things going. I thought he caught really good and he’s playing at a high level.”
Urman was Fullerton’s toughest out at the plate this weekend, distributing six hits over the three games in which he played, including four RBIs. Urman has improved his season average to .320, the third-highest on the team.
While Urman’s bat was a bright spot on Sunday, Hawai’i starter Logan Pouelsen gave the Titans very few opportunities to have a big inning. Pouelsen went the distance, as he threw a complete game in which he allowed two earned runs on seven hits and striking out eight.
The Titans move to a 18-21 record on the season and 11-9 in the Big West. Fullerton’s conference record puts them tied for third place, trailing just UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara in the Big West standings.
“We’re just looking at next weekend — that’s all we can do,” Vanderhook said. “We go out and play baseball. Hopefully Zac Lew, the littlest guy on the team, gets back pretty soon because he’s a pretty big part of the team.”
Fullerton will continue their conference slate this weekend, hosting UC San Diego for a four-game series. Game one is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m.