That’s how Cal State Fullerton first-year head coach Rick Vanderhook described the Titans 6-2 win over visiting Loyola Marymount Wednesday evening at Goodwin Field.
What exactly was ugly?
“Everything. Our at bats were terrible. Our approach at the plate was terrible,” Vanderhook said. “We’re not on anything offensively right now. If Carlos [Lopez] and [Michael] Lorenzen don’t drive in runs, we have a tough time scoring runs.”
That was the case early on. After the Titans fell behind 1-0 on a Scott Harkins RBI single, the speedy Lorenzen did everything himself to tie the game.
The sophomore led off the Titans’ half of the third inning with an easy standup double to right-centerfield. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when LMU catcher Colton Plaia tried to throw behind Lorenzen at third base. A one-hop throw bounced off Alex Guthrie and rolled 8-10 feet away. Most base runners would remain at third with the ball being so close, but Lorenzen’s speed allowed him to take off and slide in safely before Guthrie’s throw made it back to Plaia.
Harkins again put Loyola Marymount ahead in the seventh inning when he jacked the first pitch of the inning off an advertisement for The Bench sports grill hanging on the netting beyond the left field wall. But the lead was short-lived. The Lions again gave away a run in the bottom half of the inning when two balks allowed Austin Kingsolver to tie the game.
The Lions charity continued in the eighth inning. After Fullerton loaded the bases with an infield single, hit batsman and base on balls, Vanderhook considered pinch hitting for Matt Orloff despite the reserve second baseman being 3-for-3 in a spot start. Instead, Vanderhook stuck with the hot bat.
Orloff got jammed and nubbed a baby flare to the left of the pitcher’s mound for what should have been an easy out. Pitcher Austin Griffin failed to see the ball into his glove and squeeze it. The ball dropped to the ground. Griffin still had an easy force play at home for an out, but he picked the ball up and fired wildly to the backstop enabling the go-ahead run to score.
The Titans added two more runs in the inning with two bunt singles as the catalyst. The Titans’ three runs all came without ever getting the ball out of the infield.
Brief Notes and Observations:
- Vanderhook decided to get some guys some experience and wanted to see if some new bats could infuse the lineup. He started four reserves but removed all but Orloff by the end of the game.
- Lorenzen appears to have completely shaken off his poor start to the TCU series when he went 0-for-10 with seven strikeouts in the first two games. Since then he’s 8-for-12 with four runs, five RBI and three stolen bases. He also got the final two outs of the game — striking out both men he faced.
- Loyola Marymount has now lost five games in a row after a previous four-game sweep by Cal Poly.
- Christian Coronado picked up the win with 3 1/3 strong innings of relief (2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). Freshman Koby Gauna didn’t figure into the decision in his first career start, but he was excellent in his five innings of work, allowing only four hits and one un.
- With Loyola Marymount threatening in the top of the eighth inning, Fullerton catcher Casey Watkins made a smart decision when the Lions attempted a double steal. Instead of throwing to third where the runner had got a great jump, he hosed the trail runner at second base. A fly out that would have been deep enough for a sacrifice fly instead became the third out.
- LMU coach Jason Gill was pleased with his offense. Despite only having six hits, he felt they made solid contact a lot more than they had over the weekend against Cal Poly.
- Titans first baseman Carlos Lopez was ejected from the game after the final out of the eighth inning. He struck out “swinging” as he tried to avoid an up-and-in fastball. Lopez evidently said something to the umpire while on the ground because he immediately got the heave ho.
Check out the full photo gallery from the Cal State Fullerton/Loyola Marymount Wednesday evening matchup below: