After a hot first inning for the Trojans, the team managed to hold off the Cal State Fullerton Titans by a score of 3-1 to earn a win.
The Trojans entered the game with a four-game losing streak following losses to UC Irvine and Stanford. The Trojans struggled mightily in their series against Stanford scoring only 2 runs while giving up 34 in the process. Meanwhile, the Titans came into the game losing twice in their three game series against Long Beach State.
The Trojans got off to a hot start, scoring three runs in the first inning. Junior first baseman Dylan Paulson hit a double into center field driving in 2 runs. Redshirt junior designated hitter Stephen Dubb continued the scoring in the first inning, hitting a single to left field driving in a run. In total, the Trojan bats were on fire in the first inning as they scored 3 runs on five hits.
On the mound, sophomore pitcher Austin Manning started his first game of the year. Before taking on the Titans, Manning had seven appearances during the season, however, all of them came in relief. Manning looked to be in complete control in the first inning as he retired the first three batters in the inning.
During the second inning, the Titans were able to get a hit off Manning, but left that runner in scoring position as they were also unable to put any runs on the board.
The third inning was much like the second for both teams. Sophomore center fielder Matthew Acosta managed to single for the Trojans, but the Trojans were unable to score Acosta. On the other end, while the Titans were able to get on base after Manning hit junior outfielder Mitchell Berryhill, they were unable to score any runs as the Trojans ended the inning with a double play.
Good fielding has been a trend for the Trojans all season long. The Trojans currently have the best fielding percentage in the country, making only 10 errors all season, according to NCAA statistics.
However, the Titans followed that double play with one of their own after sophomore right fielder Christian Moya hit a fly ball into right field and redshirt junior third baseman Angelo Armenta got thrown out at first as he was trying to run the bases. The Titans then managed to put one run on the board in the fourth inning as sophomore catcher Daniel Cope hit a sacrifice fly to score junior outfielder Ruben Cardenas who was already on third.
Manning allowed just one hit in the fifth inning in what would be his last inning on the mound, before being taken out in the sixth. He finished the game with five innings pitched, four strikeouts, four hits and no walks in his first start of the season.
In the sixth, Dubb singled up the middle and then advanced to second following a balk. However, he was left on second base as the Trojans were once again unable to send a runner home from scoring position. Junior pitcher Solomon Bates took the mound for the Trojans in the sixth inning. Going into the game, Bates had a 3.94 ERA on seven appearances on the season. Bates allowed just one hit in the sixth inning and kept the score at 3-1 heading into the seventh.
During the ninth inning, the Trojans managed to load the bases with Perez up to bat. However, he hit a hard grounder to short, which was fielded perfectly and prevented the Trojans from scoring any more runs. Sophomore closer Connor Lunn then went into the game for the Trojans and was able to see off the game for his seventh save on the year. Manning also took home his first win for the year.
After today’s game, the Trojans set their record at 12-9. The Trojans will look to extend their winning streak as they face off against Washington on Thursday night at Dedeaux Field.