Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Baseball Rally Falls Short in 5-3 Loss to No. 7 Fullerton
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 19, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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            TUCSON, Ariz. ?- No. 7-ranked Cal State Fullerton held off a ninth inning Arizona rally for a second straight night in a 5-3 win over the Wildcats at Kindall Field on Saturday. The loss was Arizona’s fifth straight, the longest losing streak for UA since 2003, and dropped it to 10-10 on the year. The Titans, who have won four straight games against the Wildcats dating back to last season, improved to 16-5 with Saturday’s win.


            Trailing by two in the final inning, the Wildcats had runners on second and third and no outs, but couldn’t find the key hit to bring them home.


Eric Berger led off the frame with a single to left off of Titan closer Vinnie Pestano. Pinch hitter David Plante followed with a single up the middle to place runners on first and second for the Wildcats with no outs.


            Pestano advanced pinch runner Richard Stout and Berger to second and third on a wild pitch to move the tying run into scoring position, but after a mound conference with head coach George Horton got Jon Gaston to tap the ball back to him for the first out, struck out Stephen Pearson and ended the game on a ground ball out by Colt Sedbrook to second base.


            Arizona had runners on first and third in the ninth inning in a two-run loss to the Titans in the series opener on Friday


            The ninth-inning heroics on Saturday earned Pestano his team-leading seventh save of the year and preserved the win for starter Lauren Gagnier (5-3). UA’s Preston Guilmet was charged with the loss after giving up four runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings of work.


            CSF jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Justin Turner homered to left with one out in the third and pushed the advantage to 4-0 in the fourth on two-run single by Bryan Harris.


            Arizona, which didn’t have a hit through the first five innings, cut the lead to 4-1 when Pearson doubled to center to lead off the sixth, advanced to third on Sedbrook single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brad Boyer.


            After Fullerton added a run in the eighth on an infield single by Clark Hardman to make it a 5-1 lead, the Wildcats countered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on a two-run triple by Bill Rhinehart.


            The Wildcats, who have lost by two or less runs in five of their last six defeats, will attempt to stave off a second straight series sweep on Sunday when the two schools meet up for the weekend finale. Left-hander Brad Mills is the scheduled starter for the Wildcats.

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