SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – No. 16 Cal Poly rallied from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game, but No. 4 Cal State Fullerton tallied two in the ninth to beat the Mustangs 6-4 and win the Big West Conference baseball series, two games to one, before 1,973 in Baggett Stadium on Sunday.
The series drew 6,483 fans, the second-largest total in the 13-year history of Baggett Stadium.
Cal State Fullerton improves to 34-6 for the season and 10-2 in Big West games while Cal Poly fell to 26-11 and 7-5, three games off the pace. The Mustangs won Friday's game 2-1 while the Titans evened the series Saturday with a 10-5 triumph.
After Cal State Fullerton scored four times in the third inning for a 4-1 lead, Cal Poly tallied single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth frames to catch the Titans at 4-4.
Junior left fielder David Armendariz doubled to left-center field to drive in the run in the sixth, junior third baseman Jimmy Allen singled up the middle to make it 4-3 in the seventh and freshman shortstop Peter Van Gansen's grounder to second base tied the game in the eighth.
The Mustangs left a runner at second in both the sixth and eighth innings and also squandered scoring opportunities in the fourth and fifth innings. Senior catcher Elliot Stewart had a 12-pitch at-bat with runners at first and third and two outs in the fourth before he was retired to end that frame and Allen flied out to deep center field with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth.
In the Fullerton ninth, right fielder Austin Kingsolver's grounder to second base with runners at first and third broke the 4-4 tie and, after a catcher's interference kept the inning alive, first baseman Carlos Lopez singled to right field to drive in an insurance run.
Junior right-hander Michael Lorenzen (2-0), who leads the Big West with 12 saves, retired the Mustangs in order in the bottom of the ninth for the win.
Mustang closer Reed Reilly (2-2), who pitched both the eighth and ninth, suffered the loss.
Stewart tripled off the left-field wall with two outs in the second inning and scored on a wild pitch, giving Cal Poly the early 1-0 lead.
Cal State Fullerton's four-run third-inning uprising was highlighted by third baseman Matt Chapman's leadoff home run, a two-run single by designated hitter J.D. Davis and an RBI single by Lorenzen, chasing Mustang starter Bryan Granger.
Granger pitched two-plus innings, allowing four runs and five hits with two walks and no strikeouts. Michael Holback and Taylor Chris combined for five scoreless innings in relief with both notching a pair of strikeouts.
Cal Poly outhit Cal State Fullerton 11-9, led by Allen, Armendariz and freshman designated hitter Brian Mundell, each with two hits.
Lopez and Chapman each produced two hits for the Titans.
Cal State Fullerton second-year head coach Rick Vanderhook was ejected in the eighth inning.
Sophomore center fielder Jordan Ellis (pictured above) was 6-for-13 with a triple in the series and nine-for-17 during the Mustangs' four-game week. He singled Sunday to stretch his hitting streak to five games.
Cal Poly ended a seven-game homestand with Sunday's loss and will play its next five on the road, beginning Tuesday at Cal, with first pitch set for 5 p.m. The Bears scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Washington State 2-1 in Berkeley on Sunday, improving to 18-21 overall and 7-11 in Pac-12 games.
The Mustangs return to Big West play next weekend with a three-game series at Long Beach State (17-20, 7-5 Big West). The 49ers salvaged one win in their series at UC Santa Barbara with an 8-4 victory Sunday.