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Valiant Effort Comes Up Short: Gonzaga Falls to Cal State-Fullerton

renken
renken

Just like the Duke and Carolinas of college basketball, the USC and Florida's of college football, Cal State-Fullerton always seems to be right around the top of the college baseball world.  This year is no different as the Titans are one of the front-runners in the race of the national championship and they took one step forward tonight, defeating Gonzaga 7-4 in the second round of the Fullerton regional. 

It wasn't easy for Cal State as Gonzaga proved once again that they belong in this tournament and don't plan on going home without a fight.  Fresh off yesterday's 19-10 slugfest with Georgia Southern, Gonzaga came in to tonight's game with vigor and put up two quick runs thanks to a Tyson Van Winkle no out double.  Cal-State Fullerton was unfazed by the upstart Gonzaga first inning and tagged Bulldog starting pitcher Steven Ames for three runs in the top half of the second.  The Titans added one run in the fourth to give them a 4-2 lead at their home stadium.  However, just an inning later in the bottom of the fifth Gonzaga battled back and took advantage of some Titan errors.  After lead off hitter Tyson Van Winkle flied out, first baseman Ryan Wiegand reached first on a fielding error to set the stage for All-WCC performer Anthony Synegal.  The designated hitter ripped Fullerton pitcher Daniel Renken's pitch out of the park to deadlock the game at four. 

That would be the last time Gonzaga would cross home plate this evening and Cal State-Fullerton proved why they are at the pinnacle of college baseball.  They scored runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th inning to bring the lead to 7-4 and that is how it would end.  Daniel Renken threw eight strong innings for the Titans and got the win only allowing three earned runs.  Gonzaga starting pitcher Steven Ames suffered the loss giving up seven runs on eleven hits.  Cody Martin pitched well in relief only giving up four hits and allowing zero runs to cross before Fullerton closer Nick Rameriz sealed the deal in the bottom of the ninth.

The Zags aren't out of it yet and will face the Utah Utes, who rallied late earlier today to down Georgia Southern 11-10.  The Eagles of GSU are the first team elimiated from the regional and it now sets up very well for Fullerton.  The winner of the Gonzaga-Utah match up would have to beat the Titans twice to advance to the Super Regionals and continue their hope for a trip to Omaha for the College World Series.  First pitch in Fullerton is at 2 P.M.