Jeff Dunbar's tie-breaking bases-loaded single with one out in the ninth
inning lifted UC Riverside to a come-from-behind 7-6 Big West Conference
victory Saturday night over No. 1-ranked Cal State Fullerton in front
of 726 at Riverside Sports Center.
Reliever Vinnie Pestano (3-3) took the mound in the ninth with a 20 1/3-inning
scoreless streak and a chance for his 12th save, but a leadoff triple
by Aaron Grant and an RBI double by Nick Salotti snapped the streak. Two
intentional walks around a sacrifice bunt set the stage for Dunbar, who
slapped his single through the hole on the right side to score pinch-runner
Louie Hernandez for the game winner, handing Pestano his third loss of
Marc Rzepczynski was the recipient of the late inning comeback, improving
his record to 4-1 with one inning of work. He allowed just one hit and
fanned one as he faced just four batters for the win.
Ryan Schreppel made his first start for the Titans since March 25 and
pitched five strong innings, leaving with a 5-1 lead. But reliever Wes
Roemer hit three of the first eight batters he faced in the sixth and
seventh innings and all three scored as the Highlanders tied the game.
Roemer went three innings in relief of Schreppel allowing four earned
runs on four hits while striking out three, before giving way to Pestano
in the ninth. Schreppel allowed just one unearned earned run in his comeback
start scattering just five hits.
Fullerton got on the board first with a run in the top of the second by
way of a Danny Dorn double, a Bobby Andrews sacrifice bunt and the first
of two Neil Walton squeeze bunts to put the Titans on the board 1-0.
Fullerton added three more in the top of the fourth to extend their lead
to 4-0. Walton, John Curtis and Ronnie Prettyman each drove in a run off
Highlander starter Taylor Bills who worked into the ninth in his final
outing of the year. He finished with eight innings, allowing six earned
runs while striking out six Titans in the no-decision.
Riverside scratched back with an unearned run in the fourth, a run in
the sixth, and three in the seventh to tie the game at 5-5 before Fullerton
scored once in the top half of the ninth on a Brett Pill RBI-single giving
the Titans a brief 6-5 lead.
Highlanders Nick Salotti and Andrew Martinez each had three hits with
Aaron Grant and Jaime Pedroza (Sergio’s brother) each collected
two. Salotti led all players with three RBI in the upset.
Dorn and Curtis each had a pair of hits to lead the Titans with Curtis
and Walton each driving in a pair in the losing effort.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow afternoon in a 1:00 pm to decide
winner of the weekend series.