April 6, 2012
FULLERTON, Calif. - David Popkins was 2-for-2 with his second home run of the series and Anthony Kupbens struck out five in 8.1 innings of work, but, for the second straight night, Cal State Fullerton rallied late to claim a 5-4 win on Friday at Goodwin Field in Fullerton.
UC Davis loses its fifth straight game to drop to 11-15 overall and 0-2 in Big West play. Cal State Fullerton, ranked 14th nationally, improves to 20-10 and 4-1 in league action.
The Titans scored four runs in the final two innings of the game, including three in the bottom of the ninth, to take the win and the series from the Aggies.
Kevin Barker went 2-for-3 with two runs and his first triple of the year while Tino Lipson and Evan Heptig each recorded a hit.
UC Davis jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third after Kupbens retired the side in the first and second innings. Heptig singled into right field, moved to second after Barker was hit by a pitch, then reached third on Popkins' base hit up the middle. He'd come around to score on Paul Politi's sacrifice fly, which put Barker on third.
Popkins and Barker pulled a double steal for the second run of the game, with the freshman outfielder stealing home to put UC Davis up 2-0.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Barker tripled into center field, then Popkins put a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall to give UC Davis a 4-0 lead.
It was Popkins' second home run in as many games.
Kupbens held Cal State Fullerton hitless until the fifth inning, retiring nine straight until hitting Ivory Thomas with a pitch to start the fourth inning. He retired the three remaining batters of the inning, then Greg Velasquez led off the fifth with a single up the middle, the Titans' first hit of the game.
The Aggie lefty gave up an RBI single to Matt Chapman later in the inning but struck out JD Davis and Thomas to end the fifth with UC Davis leading 4-1.
He retired the side again in the sixth and seventh innings, but Richy Pedroza hit a two-out RBI single to score Thomas, who reached on a fielder's choice, cutting UC Davis' lead in half.
The Titan rally was complete in the bottom of the ninth inning. With one out, Kupbens walked Velasquez, then gave up back-to-back singles to Matt Orloff and Chapman, the second of which scored a run.
With UC Davis holding on to a 4-3 lead, pinch hitter Chad Wallach doubled down the left field line, scoring Orloff and tying the game at 4-4. Anthony Hutting was called in to pinch hit and put a base hit into left field, bringing Chapman home for the 5-4 win.
Cal State Fullerton was led by Chapman's 2-for-4 performance. Chapman also drove in two runs and scored the gamewinner.
Kupbens received the loss to move to 2-4 overall while Willie Kuhl entered in the ninth inning and earned the win to move to 2-2. Titan starter Kenny Mathews gave up four runs on six hits and struck out two Aggie batters in eight full innings of work.
The series concludes on Saturday at 1 p.m.