TULSA, Okla. – Anthony Hutting's two-run single in the seventh finally snapped six innings of scoreless baseball to help propel the No. 8 Titans to a 5-0 victory over Oral Roberts on Friday night at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
A pitching duel between Fullerton (14-3) starter Thomas Eshelman and ORU (5-11) starter Alex Gonzalez developed as neither team could push a runner across through the game's first six innings.
In the seventh, J.D. Davis was walked, and Michael Lorenzen singled to put runners on first and second with no outs. Gonzalez struck out Chad Wallach, and a passed ball moved the runners to second and third, but it didn't matter as Gonzalez issued his second free base of the frame to Jake Jefferies.
Hutting then roped a two-run single into left center, as the Titans finally broke a scoreless tie to take a 2-0 advantage.
In the win, Eshelman (4-1) tossed six and 1/3 shutout innings, holding the Golden Eagles to six hits while striking out one. He has yet to issue a walk in 2013.
In the loss, Gonzalez (1-4) surrendered five runs on six hits, while issuing five walks and striking out eight. Through his six innings on the mound, only one Titan batter advanced to second.
The Titans extended their lead to 5-0 with a three-run frame in the eighth, loading the bases for the second straight inning. Carlos Lopez led off the inning with a triple laced down the right field line. Davis followed with a bunt, which caused problems for ORU as the defense failed to put the tag on Lopez in a rundown, allowing Davis to advance to second while Lopez remained at third. Gonzalez then intentionally walked Lorenzen to load the bases with one out.
With the bases juiced, Gonzalez issued his fifth free base of the game to Wallach, pushing across Fullerton's third run before being lifted in favor of Nathan Garza. The Titans tested Oral Roberts defensively once again as Keegan Dale dropped a sacrifice bunt in front of the plate that scored two runs as the Golden Eagles had a momentary lapse, forgetting to account for Lorenzen at second.
Koby Gauna was credited with his first save of 2013, shutting out the Golden Eagles over the final two and 2/3 innings as Gauna did not allow a base runner.
Each team totaled six hits apiece, as Lopez led the Titans with a 2-for-5 effort. Nate Goro batted 3-for-3 for the Golden Eagles.
Fullerton and Oral Roberts continue the series with a noon PT (2 p.m. CT) first pitch from J.L. Johnson Stadium.
Notes: With a 14-3 record, Fullerton is off to its best start since 2009 when the club opened the year with a record of 16-3…with the loss, Oral Roberts is on a seven-game losing streak, matching its longest in program history…in 35 innings on the mound, Thomas Eshelman has totaled 27 strikeouts and has failed to issue a walk…Cal State Fullerton shut out its fourth opponent of the season (Nebraska, TCU and Texas A&M)…the Titans' six hits matches a season low. Fullerton has produced only six hits in all but one of its Friday-night games in 2013: USC (Feb. 15), No. 14 Oregon (March 1) and Texas A&M (March 8).