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Fullerton Loses Its Edge to Arizona

June 05, 2005|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

Cal State Fullerton faces the daunting prospect of inching back toward the College World Series from the loser's bracket.

The defending national champions were confronted with that reality late Saturday night after left-hander Ricky Romero surrendered six runs in the middle innings of an NCAA regional and the Titans stranded the bases loaded in the ninth.

Second-seeded Arizona held on to defeat top-seeded Fullerton, 6-5, before an announced 3,654, the largest crowd in Goodwin Field history.

The Titans (42-15) will play third-seeded Missouri in an elimination game today at 4 p.m. Arizona (39-19) meets the winner at 8 p.m.

Jon Wilhite's two-run double in the ninth drew Fullerton to within 6-5, but after Arizona reliever Mark Melancon intentionally walked Blake Davis to load the bases with nobody out, the next three batters went down in order.

Jordan Brown and Nick Hundley homered off Romero (12-5), who had allowed only three homers in 119 innings entering the game.

Romero had allowed only two hits through four innings when Hundley led off the fifth with a homer to left-center to tie the score at 1-1. Jason Donald walked one out later and scored on Jason Seefeld's double down the left-field line.

Romero retired the next batter but shortstop Ronnie Prettyman misplayed Trevor Crowe's grounder for an error, allowing Seefeld to score for a 3-1 lead. Brown's three-run homer in the sixth made it 6-1.

The Titans loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth but scored only one run when Bobby Andrews came home from third on a wild pitch. Brett Pill pulled the score to 6-3 in the eighth with a two-out single up the middle, but Danny Dorn took a called third strike to strand runners on first and second. Fullerton stranded 17 runners.

Fullerton had taken a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to a throwing error by Arizona catcher Hundley that scored Blake Davis.

Missouri 14, Harvard 6--Derek Chambers went four for five with a triple and drove in three runs for the Tigers (40-22), who eliminated the fourth-seeded Crimson (29-17) after erupting for 11 runs in the first four innings. Jacob Priday doubled and tripled and drove in three runs for Missouri.


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