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Titans Have to Work Overtime but Lose

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cal State Fullerton’s baseball season opener against California turned into a 4-hour-50-minute marathon Friday night.

The Bears finally won, 6-5, in the 12th inning at Titan Field. Jason Dennis doubled in the winning run off Marco Hanlon.

The Titans had tied the score, 5-5, on a hit batsman, a walk and a sacrifice fly by Gaby Halcovich in the bottom of the 11th. California scored in the top of the 11th when Dan Garfin reached base on an error by shortstop Ryan Owens and scored from third on a two-out wide throw to first by second baseman Halcovich. Fullerton made six errors.

The Titans rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. Consecutive doubles by designated hitter Greg Jacobs and catcher David Trentine with none out produced one run, and Halcovich, in as a pinch runner, scored the second run on Reed Johnson’s one-out sacrifice fly.

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The Bears had taken the lead after a three-run eighth inning highlighted by a two-run homer by Brian Oliver off Erasmo Ramirez. Ramirez, making his first start for the Titans since transferring from Cal State Northridge, went out after giving up seven hits and four runs in 7 2/3 innings.

The second game of the series is scheduled for 1 today with freshman left-hander Jon Smith going for the Titans against Ryan Drese. A crowd of 1,409 watched the opener.

Ramirez pitched well until Oliver’s shot in the eighth. He held the Bears hitless in the first three innings before Cal picked up a run in the fourth.

Oliver singled to center to open the inning and Xavier Nady doubled off the fence in center to put runners at second and third with none out. Aaron Gordnier’s sacrifice fly scored Oliver, but Johnson’s throw from center nailed Oliver at third.

The inning ended when David Sark bounced back to the mound.

The Titans tied it with one swing in the fourth when third baseman Ryan Moore homered to right center to lead off the inning. The Titans had two other base runners later in the inning when Steve Chatham bunted safely and Kevin Duck walked, but both were forced at second.

The Titans took the lead in the seventh when they scored on three errors and one hit. Nady bobbled Duck’s ground ball to open the inning, then catcher Jason Hill dropped Owens’ popup bunt and threw wildly to second, sending Duck to third. Jacobs singled to center, driving in the run, but the inning ended with runners at second and third when Johnson fouled out.

Ramirez had two outs in the eighth when he gave up a base hit to Juan Hernandez and Oliver homered to deep left.

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Kirk Saarloos took over after Martinez gave up another hit, but two consecutive infield errors loaded the bases and Saarloos walked in a run. Stewart came on to get the final out.


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