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CS Fullerton Defeats Long Beach State, 8-3


Long Beach State ranks second in the nation in batting, but the 49ers took a back seat to Cal State Fullerton on Saturday night.

Fullerton rallied for three runs in the seventh inning to overcome a one-run deficit and win, 8-3, in the second game of a three-game series that matched the top teams in the Big West Conference's South Division.

The crowd of 2,388 at Blair Field was the third largest for a Long Beach State baseball game.

The victory, Fullerton's ninth straight, ensures the Titans (35-12, 19-4) will be atop the division standings regardless of the result in today's game. The 49ers are 26-18, 17-6.

"I'm excited for our players," Titan Coach George Horton said. "They've put a lot of effort and intensity into these two games. We'd like to be able to get the third one tomorrow. If we can do that, it might be easier on us down the road in terms of the division."

The Titans got another strong pitching performance to stop the 49ers. Erasmo Ramirez (7-5) limited Long Beach to 10 hits and three runs, all earned, in 7 1/3 innings. Adam Johnson came on to get the final two outs in the eighth and retire the 49ers in the ninth.

"His bad pitches came early in the game, and he made the big pitches when he needed to," Horton said.

Benny Flores limited Long Beach to eight hits and four runs in Fullerton's victory Friday.

Long Beach Coach Dave Snow started left-hander Mike Gallo because Jeff Leuenberger has a sore elbow.

Gallo gave up only two runs in six innings on seven hits and two walks. Jason Berni, listed as the probable starter in today's game, replaced Gallo at the start of the seventh, but the Titans got to him for three runs, changing the game's momentum.

Reed Johnson doubled to lead off the inning and went to third on a sacrifice. Greg Jacobs, replacing Pete Fukuhara as designated hitter, walked. Aaron Rowand drilled a double down the left-field line, scoring both runners. Rowand came home on Steve Chatham's hit up the middle.

The Titans added three runs in the top of the ninth and finished with 15 hits to 12 for Long Beach. David Trentine had a two-run double and Chatham drove in another run. Long Beach had taken a 1-0 lead off Ramirez in the second. Jason Yount led off with a single, advanced on an infield out and scored on Bryan Kennedy's base hit.

The Titans tied it in the third when David Bacani tripled to the wall in right center and scored on Fukuhara's double. But Fukuhara was stranded there when Gallo came up with big strikeouts against Rowand and Chatham.

Ramirez ran into problems in the third when he gave up singles to Paul Day and Young and hit Berni to load the bases with none out. Ramirez stuck out Kennedy, but Justin Hall doubled off the top of the wall in left, scoring two runs. Ramirez escaped without more damage when the next two batters grounded out.

Fullerton got one run back in the fifth when Fukuhara walked with two out and came in on Rowand's double to left center. Paul Day got his glove on the line drive, but couldn't hold on.

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