Stockton, Calif. - Three unearned runs in the eighth was the difference as Pacific fell to No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, 5-2, Friday night at Klein Family Field.
After rallying for two in the fifth to take the lead, the Tigers saw the Titans tie the game in the sixth on an RBI single from Anthony Trajano. Then in the eighth, a fly ball to shallow center fell in, leading to three scoring in the frame.
Freshman RHP Michael Benson (2-6) absorbed a hard-luck loss, allowing two earned runs in 7.2 innings pitched. He struck out four while walking two and giving up 10 hits.
Fullerton RHP Dylan Floro (7-3) went the distance with seven strikeouts and two earned runs allowed on five hits.
The Titans, ranked number eight by Baseball America, got on the board first, as LF Anthony Hutting doubled to left center, and came in to score on a single by 3B Matt Chapman.
Pacific answered in the fifth, as sophomore 2B Curtis Gomez singled to center with one out and freshman 2B Taylor Murphy doubled down the left-field line to set up second and third. Senior DH Daniel Johnston hit a high chopper in front of home plate, which dribbled away from catcher Jared Deacon, tying the game at one. Sophomore C Jason Taasaas added a sacrifice fly to give Pacific a 2-1 lead after five innings.
In the Fullerton sixth, after Hutting was hit by a pitch and Chapman hit into a fielder's choice on a comebacker to Benson, the Tigers lost redshirt freshman 1B Erik Lockwood. On a pickoff attempt at first, Lockwood fielded the throw and was hit by Chapman, forcing him out of the game.
After a walk to PH JD Davis, Trajano singled through the right side to knot the game at 2-2.
In the eighth, Hutting opened the inning with another walk, and after Chapman sacrificed him to second base, Davis floated a shallow fly to center. With the outfielder's converging, the ball dropped, and Hutting took third. The throw in from the outfield got loose, enabling Davis to get to second base.
With the infield in, Trajano grounded to second base, but the ball squirted away as Hutting collided with Taasaas, and Davis scampered home. Taasaas came out of the ballgame after the collision, and Trajano later came in to score on a wild pitch to cap the scoring.
Floro retired the final nine Tigers in order, needing 99 pitches to record his second complete game of the season.
Gomez, Murphy and Johnston each finished the ballgame one-for-three, while Taasaas was 0-for-1 with an RBI. Senior SS Josh Simms and freshman CF Tyler Sullivan each picked up singles for Pacific.
The Tigers (11-32, 1-12 Big West) will send LHP Travis Lumby to the mound in Saturday's 6 p.m. game two. No. 8 Fullerton (28-14, 10-4 Big West) hand the ball to LHP Kenny Mathews.