April 30, 2011
FULLERTON, Calif. - The Pacific baseball team jumped on No. 10 Cal State Fullerton with a five-run first inning and held on for an 8-7 win behind 7.2 innings from senior RHP Marcus Pointer (Pacifica, Calif.) and three RBI from junior RF Allen Riley (Fresno, Calif.).
Pointer (4-5) won for the third time in four starts and picked up his second win over a ranked team this season, going seven and two-thirds innings, allowing five earned runs with a pair of strikeouts. Pointer was efficient early, while the Tigers pounced on Fullerton starter Tyler Pill in the first.
Sophomore 3B Dustin Torchio (Santa Cruz, Calif.) walked with one out and DH Matt Carvutto (Poway, Calif.) followed with a single. Senior 1B Brian Martin (Livermore, Calif.) followed with a single to left to load the bases, and Riley delivered a two-run single to center, which was bobble in the outfield allowing Martin to come home as well for a 3-0 Pacific lead. Junior CF Brett Christopher (Livermore, Calif.) walked and freshman C Jason Taasaas (Elk Grove, Calif.) lifted a fly ball to the right center field gap to plate Riley and Christopher as the Tigers batted around in the first inning.
Pointer took the hill with a 5-0 lead and retired the first three he faced on 10 pitches.
"It's always nice to go into a ranked team's park and take the mound with a 5-0 lead," Pointer said. "After a big five-spot, you want to come out, pound the strike zone and get them to wing early because if you can get back into the dugout quickly, your guys can keep that momentum going."
"One of my problems earlier in the year was falling behind in the count, so my biggest goal was starting 0-1, which keeps your pitch count low. Then you can expand the zone and they have to swing at the second pitch, which lets you get outs quickly and work deep into the ballgame."
The Titans picked up two runs back in the second on a leadoff single by 1B Nick Ramirez, and LF Carlos Lopez reached on an error. After a single by 2B Greg Velazquez and a walk to Anthony Hutting, the Titans cut the lead to 5-2 on a fielder's choice from C Jared Deacon. But Pointer coaxed a double-play ball to get out of the inning.
In the third, Christopher crushed the first pitch of his at bat against Titans' starter RHP Tyler Pill over the wall in right center for his first home run of the year as the Tigers led 6-2.
Lopez singled to open the Fullerton fourth, and Velazquez followed with a two-run home run to left, his first of the season, to cut the margin to 6-4.
Christopher started the sixth with a single to center, stole second base and advanced to third as the throw down sailed into centerfield. With Christopher breaking for home, junior SS Josh Simms (La Mesa, Calif.) dragged a bunt up the first base line for a sacrifice bunt and the suicide squeeze put the Tigers on top 7-4.
In the seventh, Torchio walked again, and after a ground out to the right side, and an intentional walk to Martin, Riley fisted a looping ball the other way to left. Torchio read the play perfectly, scoring from second it fell in for an RBI single, Riley's team-leading 31st run batted in this season.
The Titans picked up a run in the seventh to cut the gap to 8-4, as SS Keegan Dale's soft fly ball the other way landed on the left field foul line for a double. After a ground out advanced him to third, Dale scored on a sacrifice fly from Pill.
Pointer worked into the eighth, but Valezquez singled to center with one out, and Pointer got LF Anthony Hutting to hit a comebacker to the mound. Pointer tried to turn two, but Valezquez was running on the pitch and safe at second. Simms made the throw in time to first for the second out. Deacon followed with an RBI single to make it a two-run game. After a single through the left side, Pointer departed after 7.2 innings pitched.
Junior RHP Chris Larsen (Moline, Ill.) entered and ended the inning with a groundout to short from CF Austin Kingsolver, who entered the game in the second as a defensive replacement after the pair of errors.
In the ninth, 3B Anthony Trajano reached on an error to open the inning, but Larsen induced a grounder to third base, and Torchio went around the horn with 2B Tyger Pederson (Palo Alto, Calif.) making the turn for the double-play. The twin killing proved to be big as Ramirez drilled a 2-2 pitch over the wall to cut the deficit to one, at 8-7.
Larsen came back with a 1-1 pitch to Lopez, who grounded out to second to end the ball game, as Larsen earned his fifth save of the year.
Christopher finished the day two-for-three at the plate with a home run, three runs scored, and his 14th stolen base of the season, inching closer to the Big West conference lead in steals.
Riley finished two-for-five with his three runs batted in, while Martin was two-for-four. Torchio walked and scored twice in the ballgame.
Pacific improves to 14-24 on the season, 6-8 in the Big West. Pointer has three wins in his last four outings, with a 3.50 in 25.2 innings pitched with three games coming against top 20 opponents.
The Titans fall to 29-13 overall, 10-4 in the Big West.
The Tigers will look to take two of three on the road in Fullerton for the second straight time, replicating a series win in 2009 at Goodwin Field, as the series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.