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Ian McLoughlin drove in two runs for SMC on Sunday at Fullerton.
Ian McLoughlin drove in two runs for SMC on Sunday at Fullerton.
BSB | Gaels Battle But Drop Series Finale At Cal State Fullerton
Release: Tuesday 03/16/2014 
by SMC Athletics

FULLERTON, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's baseball team rallied to tie No. 9 Cal State Fullerton in the sixth inning but the Titans responded in the bottom of the inning to score a 4-2 win in Sunday's series finale at Goodwin Field.

Saint Mary's won one game during the three-game set and returns to Moraga with an 8-10 record. Cal State Fullerton heads into Tuesday's game against UNLV with a 10-7 mark.

For the first time in the series, Cal State Fullerton got on the scoreboard first Sunday. A run in the first crossed on a sacrifice bunt by Clay Williamson, giving the Titans the 1-0 lead. Fullerton added a run in the third without needing a hit to do it as two walks by Saint Mary's starter Jacob Valdez and two by reliever Thomas Cortese forced in a run.

Saint Mary's got its first hit of the day with two outs in the fourth, but it very quickly sparked a scoring sequence for the Gaels. Anthony Villa dumped his fourth double of the series down the right field line, giving SMC a chance to get on the board. Ian McLoughlin obliged, lining the first pitch he saw into right center for a double of his own to put Saint Mary's down 2-1.

The Gaels pulled even in the sixth. A single by Ricky Boas, followed by a walk to Collin Ferguson put two on with no outs. Villa flied deep enough to center to move Boas to third, and McLoughlin drove in his second run of the day with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Fullerton didn't wait long to counter. A leadoff walk to No. 9 hitter Keegan Dale turned into a run with one swing of Matt Chapman's bat as the third baseman lined one past his counterpart Villa at the hot corner. Dale came all the way around to score and Chapman landed on second with a double. A bunt single, followed by an RBI single by J.D. Davis pushed the Titans' advantage to 4-2.

The Titans turned to right-hander Willie Kuhl in the seventh and the junior from Mission Viejo, Calif. was impressive in his first two innings, setting down six Gaels in a row. He gave the ball to Davis to close things out and after an error by Dale at shortstop allowed Saint Mary's to load the bases and have a shot at tying the game, DonAndre Clark grounded into a fielder's choice to end the game.

Saint Mary's got some quality relief from right-hander Kurt Jahnke on Sunday, as the junior from Scottsdale, Ariz. tossed two scoreless innings to finish the game. The Gaels walked 10 hitters as a staff though, putting the offense behind the eight-ball against a tough starter in Fullerton's Phil Bickford.

"We can't walk 10 guys. That's where it all begins," Saint Mary's coach Eric Valenzuela said. "Jake knows it. So does Cortese. They have great stuff. They do it to themselves a lot. That puts a damper on the whole thing from the very beginning. We'll get it. Yeah, we didn't execute. We had four hits. But it all starts and finishes on the mound. We did not deserve to win that game."

Saint Mary's will get a brief break Monday before getting back on the field Tuesday in the first of a two-game series with Minnesota at Louis Guisto Field. Both Tuesday and Wednesday's games are set for a 3 p.m. first pitch. Saint Mary's kicks off West Coast Conference play next weekend with a trip to Portland.