May 13, 2011
Fullerton, Calif. - The highly-hyped matchup between Long Beach State's Andrew Gagnon and Cal State Fullerton's Noe Ramirez lived up to its billing, but the Dirtbags came out on the losing end of a 4-2 contest in the first of three games between the two teams.
Gagnon threw for 7.0 innings on Friday, striking out four and allowing just three earned runs, but was matched by Ramirez, who finished with eight innings pitched with seven strikeouts and just two hits allowed, retiring the last nine batters he faced.
Long Beach State (24-23, 8-8) struck first right off the bat. Matt Hibbert led off the game by drawing a walk, and after moving over on a groundout and a wild pitch, came home to score on an RBI single by Ino Patron.
Cal State Fullerton (34-14, 15-4) answered back in the bottom of the first, as a leadoff double by Ivory Thomas led to a run on a sacrifice fly from Tyler Pill, evening the score at one after the first.
Both pitchers settled down after the first inning, but the Titans took their first lead in the fourth inning. Nick Ramirez hit a solo home run, his eighth of the year to put CS Fullerton on top, and Michael Lorenzen scored on a passed ball after a two-out triple as the Titans took a 3-1 lead.
The Titans added an insurance run in the eighth inning. After a single to start the inning, a high popup to shallow left field dropped in for a double, and after an intentional walk to Nick Ramirez, a run scored on an error from Kirk Singer. Matt Johnson was able to bear down and get two strikeouts, and a fly ball to Jeff McNeil ended the inning.
Two errors by Keegan Dale helped the Dirtbags put together a rally in the ninth inning. Hibbert reached to start the inning, and after a second error put runners on the corners, Matt Duffy singled through the left side to cut the lead to two runs.
Nick Ramirez moved from first to close out the game at the start of the inning converted his 13th save of the year in the ninth in front of a season-high 2496 at Goodwin Field with plenty of Dirtbag fans in attendance.
Long Beach State and the Titans play game two of the series on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. Freshman southpaw Ryan Strufing takes the hill for the Dirtbags against Fullerton righty Tyler Pill.
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