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COLLEGE BASEBALL / BIG WEST ROUNDUP

Titans Rally to Defeat Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 8-7

March 15, 1997|LON EUBANKS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cal State Fullerton Coach George Horton finally got Friday night what he'd been looking for.

The Titans rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 victory over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the opener of a Big West Conference baseball series at Titan Field in Fullerton.

"We've been working to improve our competitive attitude, and this is the closest we've come all season," Horton said.

Aaron Rowand lashed a two-run double inside third base to tie the score, and Cal Poly pitcher Mike Zirelli hit Nakia Hill with the bases loaded to send in the winning run.

"We've tried to rally at other times, but we've come up short," Horton said. "I'm pleased by this. I've definitely seen a difference in our attitude this week."

C.J. Ankrum and Steve Chatham each singled to get the rally rolling, and Scott Seal was was safe on a bad throw on his sacrifice bunt, setting up Rowand's double with none out and the bases loaded. The Mustangs walked Mike Lamb intentionally, and Hill was hit on the first pitch.

The victory lifted the Titans to 14-11, and Cal Poly fell to 20-4. Both teams are 2-2 in the conference going into the second game of the series at 7 tonight.

Relief pitcher Mike Greenlee (4-0) picked up the victory in relief, holding Cal Poly scoreless and giving up only one hit in the last three innings.

The Titans staked starter to Matt Wise an early three-run lead, but he gave gave up three homers in a five-run sixth inning, and Greenlee took over in the top of the seventh. Wise gave up 11 hits.

Titan shortstop Jerome Alviso had four hits in as many at-bats and also had two runs batted in. Fullerton had 14 hits of off Zirelli (6-1). Cal Poly had 12 hits.

Each team scored a run in the first, but The Titans gave Wise a one-run lead in the second. Hill was hit by a pitch, and moved to third on Alviso's hit. Alviso advanced on Zirelli's wild pitch, and Hill came home on the throw to second.

Fullerton picked up two more runs in fourth. Hill drilled a one-out triple that rolled to the wall in center and scored when Alviso singled. Ankrum's two-out single to make it 4-1.

But the Mustangs got one back in the fifth on when Andrew Watt singled and scored later on a sacrifice fly.

Then Wise was nailed for home runs by R.J. Radler and Matt Priess that tied the score before a three-run shot by Maier gave the Mustangs a 7-4 lead in the sixth. A walk to Lamb, a passed ball and Alviso's third hit of the game gave the Titans one run back in the sixth.

In another Big West game:

Long Beach State 9, UC Santa Barbara 5--Dave Snow won his 500th career Division I game as head coach for Long Beach State (11-11, 3-1).

Rocky Biddle (3-3) pitched seven innings and gave up two runs on three hits, walked four and struck out 11 . Biddle has 22 strikeouts in his last 13 innings.

Toby Sanchez went three for five with a double, a home run, and three RBIs for the 49ers.

Lateef Vaughn went three for four with a double, a stolen base and one run scored for the 49ers. Long Beach State had 16 hits and stranded 11 runners.

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