March 16, 2013

Titans Homer Twice, Clinch Series

Box Score (PDF)

TULSA, Okla. – Justin Garza delivered another impressive outing, and Cal State Fullerton homered twice as the No. 8 Titans clinched the series with a 6-2 victory over Oral Roberts on Saturday afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Garza remains undefeated at 5-0 after tossing eight innings of one-run baseball. The rookie right-hander allowed just four hits while issuing only one walk and striking out nine – a new season best for any Fullerton (15-3) pitcher in 2013.

In the loss, Oral Roberts (5-12) starter Drew Bowen (0-2) allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks in four innings of work, while fanning four. The Golden Eagles used five additional pitchers out of the bullpen to finish the game.

Fullerton shortstop Richy Pedroza opened the game for Cal State Fullerton with a leadoff home run that landed over the right field wall in the first. It was the first round tripper of Pedroza's career, and the first of the day for the Titans.

The first inning continued as Carlos Lopez singled, stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw before scoring courtesy of Michael Lorenzen's groundout as Fullerton led 2-0 after one.

The Titans added a run to take a 3-0 lead in the third as Lorenzen's two-out double draped down the left field line quickly putting a runner in scoring position. Lorenzen was driven home as Chad Wallach hammered Bowen's offering back up the middle.

Garza retired the first six batters he faced before Colt Austen led off the bottom of the third with a single to right. He moved into scoring position on a groundout and advanced to third on a balk. Garza then fanned Brandon Healy, but Nate Goro produced the two-out RBI with a single to right as ORU cut Fullerton's lead to 3-1.

Fullerton manufactured a run in the fifth to claim a 4-1 advantage when reliever Gavin Glanz issued Matt Chapman a leadoff walk on four straight pitches. J.D. Davis followed with a single and Lorenzen's sacrifice moved the runners to second and third. Chapman then scored courtesy of Anthony Hutting's sacrifice fly to left.

The Titans added a fifth run in the seventh as Davis started the frame by driving a double to right center. He eventually scored from third on Wallach's sacrifice fly.

In the eighth, Lopez hit Fullerton's second home run of the game, launching a two-out homer over the wall in right center. It was Lopez's first round tripper of the season and the 11th of his career.

The Titans have now totaled 11 home runs in 2013, already surpassing last year's total of 10. In addition, this season, Fullerton has hit two home runs in three games.

Fullerton got its leadoff runner on base four times on Saturday, with the Titans moving that runner around the bases to score on three occasions.

Lopez finished his day 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored, a walk and a RBI, while Davis batted 2-for-4, was walked and also scored a run. Wallach also led the Titans driving in two runs.

The Golden Eagles added a run in the ninth as Jose Cardona entered the game in relief of Garza. After surrendering a walk and single, Cardona fielded a grounder but failed to make the throw, allowing Tyler Boss to score from second. Willie Kuhl was then brought out of the bullpen with two runners on and no outs. He held ORU hitless and struck out two, obtaining his first save of the year.

The series finale is set for 11 a.m. PT from J.L. Johnson Stadium on Sunday.

Notes: With a 15-3 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 an eight-game losing streak, the longest losing streak in program history…Richy Pedroza led off the game with a home run to right field, the first home runs of the senior's career, while Carlos Lopez hit his first round tripper of the season (11th career) in the eighth…the Titans now have 11 home runs in 2013, surpassing last year's total of 10…the Titans have hit two home runs in the same game on three occasions in 2013…Cal State Fullerton took a 2-0 lead in the first, and the Titans have now outscored opponents 21-2 in the first inning this season…with the win over Oral Roberts on Saturday, Fullerton clinched its fourth weekend series victory over 2013…Justin Garza's nine strikeouts are a new season high for any Fullerton pitcher in 2013...Garza is the first Titan freshman since Dylan Floro in 2010 to win five straight starts. Floro won five straight starting April 30 at Pacific, followed by May 9 vs. UC Riverside, May 16 at Long Beach State, May 23 vs. Santa Clara and May 28 vs. Cal State Northridge.