Sunday, April 5, 2009

Anteaters Handle Titans Again

Jeff Cusick's first home run of the season could not have come at a better time.

The junior first baseman out of Santa Margarita High hit a three-run blast in the first inning Saturday night to propel UC Irvine to a 6-1 victory over top-ranked Cal State Fullerton at Goodwin Field.

The victory was the sixth in a row for the eighth-ranked Anteaters (19-7, 4-0) and their second consecutive triumph over the Titans, clinching the three-game series.

The last time Fullerton lost a series at home was May 25-27 in 2007 against Long Beach State.

"We can't start doubting ourselves," said Titans coach Dave Serrano, who watched his team lose its third consecutive game for the first time this season. "We have to get back to what was working when it was working."

Trying to figure out the Anteaters pitchers would be a good place to start.

One night after being stymied by Daniel Bibona, the Titans had a tough time against the tandem of Christian Bergman (4-1) and Brock Bardeen.

Bergman started and held the Titans to one run through 5 2/3 innings. Bardeen pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings for his first save of the season.

Titans starter Noe Ramirez (3-1) had the rough first inning. Ben Orloff and Eric Deragisch singled and Cusick turned on an inside pitch and hit it high over the left-field wall.

"I just went up there with the same approach, trying to use the big part of the field," Cusick said. "He threw one inside and I got the big part of the bat on it."

Ramirez settled down after giving up a leadoff single to D.J. Crumlich in the second inning. He retired the next 11 batters until Orloff singled with two outs in the fifth.

"He came out and probably had a little bit of nerves," Serrano said of his freshman pitcher. "How he responded after that first inning was no different than the guys who have been in this program for two or three years."

The Titans got hits from Christian Colon and Josh Fellhauer in the inning but came up empty.

Gary Brown was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Plate umpire Dwayne Finley ruled that Brown didn't make an effort to avoid the pitch. Brown remained at the plate and struck out.

The Titans (19-7, 2-3) finally scratched for a run in the fourth inning when Jared Clark singled and eventually came home on a single by Dustin Garneau.

Fullerton had runners at first and third in the fifth inning but Clark grounded to first to end that inning.

No comments: