UCSB Sunk by Eight-Run Third in CSF Rubber Match

Armani Smith (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Armani Smith (photo by Eric Isaacs)

FULLERTON, Calif. – No. 14 Cal State Fullerton brought across eight runs in the bottom of the third inning of Sunday's rubber match at Goodwin Field, using that outburst to secure a 12-3 Mother's Day victory.

The Titans (31-17, 12-6 Big West) clubbed a trio of home runs in the rally and played another pair of runs on a Hunter Cullen triple. All eight of CSF's runs in the inning came with two outs.

UCSB (21-27, 7-11) starter Chris Lincoln almost escaped the inning unscathed, getting a pair of swinging strikeouts after allowing a leadoff walk. However, the talented freshman, who held the Titans off the board in his first two innings of work, left a pitch over the plate for CSF cleanup hitter Taylor Bryant, who sent a drive just over the center field fence to put the home team up 2-1.

Catcher Chris Hudgins and center fielder Scott Hurst added roundtrippers before the inning was spent.

Freshman second baseman Armani Smith was UCSB's top offensive performer on Sunday, ripping a double into the left field corner in the third to score the Gauchos' first run, then adding another by stinging a line single off the glove of Bryant, the CSF third baseman, as part of a two-run sixth.

Junior third baseman Kenny Corey added a trio of hits, including a double, while freshman center fielder Tommy Jew went 2-2 and scored a run.

Hurst, the leadoff man for CSF, homered twice, drove in three, and scored three times to lead the Titans' five-home run day. Four different Fullerton batters had multiple RBIs in the contest.

Making just the second appearance of his career, freshman right-hander Liam Steigerwald was a bright spot on the mound for UCSB, going 1-2-3 in both of his innings to close out the game. The San Ramon native has now retired all nine batters he's faced in his young career. 

UCSB returns to action on Wednesday, traveling to USC for the team's final road midweek game of the year. First pitch from Dedeaux Field is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.