April 24, 2004
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton used three home runs from the middle of its lineup to provide all the offense it would need as the No. 30 Titans defeated UC Santa Barbara 9-2 Saturday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The loss is the fifth in a row for the Gauchos, who fall to 23-17 and 1-7 in Big West play.
Felipe Garcia, Sergio Pedroza and Danny Dorn, the Titans' four, five and six hole hitters, each went deep while southpaw Ricky Romero held the Gauchos to just one run on five hits over eight innings. Romero (7-3) picked up his seventh as he struck out seven and walked just two. Cal State Fullerton improves to a perfect 8-0 in conference play and ups its overall record to 25-17.
Freshman right-hander Andy Graham (2-4) suffered the defeat for UCSB, tossing five innings while allowing six runs on seven hits. Southpaw Ivan Ramirez and right-hander Loren Fraser pitched a combined three scoreless innings in relief before Fullerton touched Nate Holguin for three runs in the ninth.
Freshman shortstop Chris Valaika provided a bright spot for the Gauchos as he launched his seventh home run of the season in the Gaucho half of the ninth. Third baseman Nate Sutton collected the only other RBI for UCSB when he tripled home Matt Stevens in the third.
The two teams will conclude their three-game Big West series tomorrow at 1 p.m. Steve Morlock (6-4) will oppose the Titans' Mike Martinez (3-1).