Gauchos come out on short end again against Titans

FULLERTON — For the second night in a row, UCSB pushed seventh-ranked Cal State Fullerton to the limit, but, the Titans eked out a one-run victory over the Gauchos, 5-4.

The loss, UCSB’s third in a row by one run, drops the Gauchos to 14-15 overall and 2-3 in the Big West. First-place Fullerton improves to 26-9 overall, 7-1 in league.

UCSB came within an eyelash of tying the score in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Derek Eligio belted his second double of the game. The double by the Gauchos’ center fielder forced Fullerton to bring in its closer, Nick Ramirez, who moved from first base to the mound.

The first batter Ramirez faced, freshman shortstop Brandon Trinkwon, singled into right field. Eligio was waved around but was gunned down at the plate on a throw from Michael Lorenzen to Jared Deacon. Sean Williams then popped-up to end the game.

The Titans scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first when Ivory Thomas was hit by a Greg Davis pitch and then stole second. A ground ball moved Thomas to third and one out later, he scored on a single to left by Tyler Pill.

Trailing 1-0, the Gauchos parlayed four hits and a walk in the second inning into four runs to take a 4-1 lead. Consecutive doubles by Mark Haddow, Trevor Whyte and Ryan Palermo opened the inning. Whyte’s two-bagger chased Haddow home with the first run and Palermo’s drove Whyte in to give UCSB the lead, 2-1.

After Joe Wallace grounded out, moving Palermo to third, Lance Roenicke walked. One out later, Derek Eligio smacked a double down the line in left, chasing starting pitcher Jake Floethe and scoring two more runs to put the Gauchos out front, 4-1, heading to the bottom half of the second.
The 4-1 lead didn’t last for long.

Chad Wallach was walked by Davis to open the bottom half of the second. On a hit-and-run, Jared Deacon hit a chopper to the first baseman Whyte whose throw to cut Wallach down at second was high, giving the Titans runners on first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice moved the runners to second and third, Thomas and Anthony Trajano were each hit by pitches, forcing in Wallach and moving Deacon to third. A fly ball to right field by Nick Ramirez scored Deacon and cut the Santa Barbara lead to 4-3.

The score remained 4-3 until the Titans scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Carlos Lopez grounded a single through left side to start the inning and Wallach matched him with a single to right. Lefty Connor Whalen was brought in to replace Davis and face Deacon.

A wild pitch moved Wallach to second, but Lopez opted to stay at third and Whalen promptly struck Deacon out looking. He was then replaced by right handed Matthew Brady who walked pinch hitter Richy Pedroza. Thomas, the next batter flied out to left field, with Lopez scoring. Trajano followed with a single up the middle to score Wallach and give Fullerton a 5-4 lead it would hold the rest of the way.

Colin O’Connell (5-2), who was brought in to replace Floethe, earned the win by going 5.1 innings and allowing just five hits and no runs while striking out nine. Ramirez earned his ninth save of the season.

Davis (3-2) was tagged with the defeat although he allowed just three earned runs in his 5.0 innings of work. Four Gaucho relievers combined to hurl three scoreless innings.

Eligio, Trinkwon, Williams and Wallace each had two hits for the Gauchos, who outhit the Titans 12-6. Fullerton, however, benefitted from three hit batsmen and four walks.