Cal State Fullerton won the Big West Conference baseball title Sunday despite an 11-5 loss to San Jose State at San Jose.
The Titans (32-21, 13-5 in conference) have a 1 1/2-game lead over second-place Fresno State (35-20, 13-8), which lost, 6-4, to UC Santa Barbara Sunday. Fullerton played three fewer conference games because of rain, but defeated Fresno State in all three of the teams' games this season.
San Jose had five consecutive hits and scored six runs in the eighth to break a 5-5 tie. Saturday, Fullerton had scored six runs in the ninth to win, 11-5. Fullerton had won the opening game of the series, 10-3, Friday.
Reliever Doug Ketchen (3-4) took the loss for Fullerton Sunday.
Huck Flener pitched the first six innings Sunday, allowing four runs and six hits but left with the score, 4-4. It was his second no-decision of the week and 10th of the season. He has 19 in his three-year career.
Frank Charles hit his sixth home run in the first for Fullerton.
The title was the first for Coach Larry Cochell in his three seasons at Fullerton. It was the 13th conference baseball title since the program moved to Division I in 1975. Fullerton last won a conference baseball title in 1987.
The Titans started the season unranked and were picked no higher than third in the conference behind defending co-champions Fresno and Cal State Long Beach. The conference race started slowly for the Titans with the opening three games rained out at University of the Pacific. Fullerton then lost its conference opener, 4-0, to UC Irvine and pitcher Ken Whitworth. It was the first time the Titans were shut out by Irvine in the 20 years the teams have played.
But Fullerton rebounded to win the next two against the Anteaters, then swept Fresno State and Nevada Las Vegas and took over first place in the Big West. Fullerton fell out of first place only once, for a day, during the rest of the conference race.
In another Big West Conference game:
UC Irvine 5, Nevada Las Vegas 4--Al Rodriguez hit a one-out double to score Ed Luna, who reached base on an error, to break a 4-4 tie in the ninth for visiting Irvine (34-25, 10-11).
It is the first time Irvine has swept a three-game series from Las Vegas since 1982. It was the most victories in a season for an Irvine team since 1980.
Chris Gallego was three for five with two runs scored, and Fred Combs was two for four with three RBIs. Chris Huber (8-2) went the distance, giving up nine hits and four runs, all earned. He had eight strikeouts. Las Vegas is 29-24, 10-11.