In a series thrown together at the last minute, Cal State Fullerton baseball split two games against the University of San Diego, winning 3-1 on Friday at home before falling 8-2 on Saturday on the road.
The Titans were originally scheduled to play a four-game series against CSU Bakersfield over the weekend, but the series was canceled due to Bakersfield’s COVID-19 regulations. Similarly, San Diego was set to play against Pepperdine University, but their series was also cancelled due to Pepperdine’s COVID-19 protocols.
Fullerton’s offense jumped ahead of the Toreros early in game one by sending seven batters to the plate in the first inning, giving them a one-run lead. The Titans’ junior ace pitcher Tanner Bibee threw seven innings, giving up one run on four hits, tallying three strikeouts in the process.
On the other side of the mound, the Toreros used three different pitchers to keep the Titans’ hitters at bay after giving up the lead in the first inning.
San Diego tied the game at 1-1 in the seventh inning, but Fullerton’s bullpen kept the game tied with a shutout eighth inning from Michael Weisberg.
The game was decided in the bottom half of the eighth inning when third baseman Zac Lew hit a triple to right center, giving Fullerton a 3-1 lead heading into the ninth. Pitcher Cameron Reppeti closed the game with a quick ninth inning and the Titans emerged victorious from the close battle.
Weisberg was credited with the win and Repetti earned the save for Fullerton, while San Diego’s Ivran Romero was credited with the loss.
Instead of playing the entire series in one location, the Titans traveled to San Diego for game two, giving each team the chance to play in their home stadium.
Things started off well for the Titans, in the midst of a scoreless battle after three innings. In the fourth inning, the Titans were able to get a run after bunting a man into scoring position, and driving him in with an RBI single from Brendan Bobo.
In the bottom half of the inning, San Diego scored two runs on an RBI double and single to take a 2-1 lead. Both teams remained stagnant until the Toreros’ Thomas Luevan added a solo homerun in the sixth inning, giving them a 3-1 lead.
Things took a drastic turn in the bottom of the seventh inning when San Diego managed to load the bases. Moments later, the Toreros added five runs, leaving the Titans down 8-1 with only two innings left to play.
Fullerton did their best to fight back, scoring a run in the eighth, but they were shut down in the ninth with a 8-2 loss.
Starting pitcher Kyle Luckham pitched well despite the occasional trouble, giving up three runs on five hits and one walk in six innings of work. He was replaced at the start of the seventh inning, but was still credited with the loss.
San Diego’s Conner Thurman got the victory, throwing a strong seven innings and surrendering only one run on four hits, striking out seven batters.
With the series split and it being a non-conference series, the Titans’ overall record moves to 10-14 and their conference record stays put at 5-3 for the fourth-place spot in the Big West conference, behind UC Santa Barbara, CSU Bakersfield and UC Irvine.
Up next on the schedule for the Titans is a three-game, non-conference home series against the California Baptist University Lancers. The opening pitch for game one of the series is set for 5 p.m. on Friday at Goodwin Field.