The UCI Anteaters were defeated by the Cal State Fullerton Titans 8-3 at home Friday night.
UCI sophomore pitcher Andre Pallante took his first loss all season (6-1), despite having all three pitches working and recording eight strikeouts, four hits, and one earned run in six innings pitched. CSUF’s junior Colton Eastman received the win with 8.1 innings pitched, three earned runs, and seven strikeouts.
UCI entered the game first in the Big West with a one game lead over the Titans.
With a two run lead in the top of the fifth, CSUF’s junior Hank LoForte’s infield single, and stolen base began a rally for the Titans. Titan junior Mitchell Berryhill moved Loforte to third on a sacrifice bunt, where he was driven home off a single from junior Ruben Cardenas to give the Titans a three nothing lead.
In the bottom of the inning, UCI fought back. Junior catcher Matt Reitano led the inning with a ground rule double to left, and freshman Jake Palmer soon drove Reitano home with a sacrifice fly to put UCI on the board.
Fullerton widened the score in the sixth with a LoForte RBI to make the score four to one fullerton. In the bottom of the eighth, the Titans crushed UCI’s hopes for redemption by rallying four runs.
In the ninth, UCI’s redshirt sophomore Konnor Zickefoose hit a solo home run, followed by another UCI RBI, but the Anteaters couldn’t maintain the rally and soon lost.
After holding a three-point lead over the Titans early in the game, UCI lost a heart-break at home Saturday afternoon.
A Nick Anderson solo home run, coupled with a Palmer RBI groundout in the second gave UCI a two-run lead early15
Cardenas put the Titans on the board in the fifth with an RBI double. Fullerton threatened, again, with runners in scoring position in the sixth, but UCI pitcher Taylor Rashie escaped flawlessly by leaving Titan runners stranded.
In the seventh, a walk from senior Park Coss, followed by a Reitano double off the left field wall just over a Titan glove put two runners in scoring position.
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Johnston then knocked an RBI single to right, and gave UCI a three-run lead with no outs. Sadly, the Anteaters stranded the bases loaded to end the inning.
Fullerton quickly answered in the top of the eighth. Hank LoForte led off with a triple to right, and scored on a pass ball to give the Titans two runs.
Berryhill then doubled down the right field line. UCI junior pitcher Jordan Brocko was able to force Cardenas into a ground out, but Hernandez’s RBI single to right tied the game at three.
UCI threatened in the bottom of the eighth, but stranded two runners on.
In the top of the ninth, with bases loaded, Cardenas sac fly to deep left gave the Titans their first lead. Sophomore Daniel Cope then hit an RBI single to right just out of the reach of the second baseman’s glove to give the Titans a two run lead.
In bottom of the inning, sophomore Christian Koss reached first on an error, but the ‘Eaters couldn’t drive him home.
Fullerton now takes a three game lead over the anteaters in the Big West. A UCI win against the Titans on Sunday would give the Anteaters a chance for redemption soon, but a loss would mean that Hawaii would sit in second, above the Anteaters.