RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton pounded out 17 hits, including six for extra bases, opening the series at UC Riverside with a 14-7 victory at the Plex on Friday night.
With the win, coupled with a Cal State Northridge loss to UC Santa Barbara, Fullerton (40-7, 16-3) remains at the top of the Big West standings, building a two-game lead over the Matadors. The win was also the sixth straight for the Titans.
The victory also marked Fullerton's 27th season with at least 40 wins since 1975.
Fullerton broke the game open early, batting around in the top of the second and scoring four runs to take a 4-0 lead on four hits and one UCR error.
J.D. Davis led off the second with a single to left, and UCR (10-27, 7-12) starter Dylan Stuart drilled Michael Lorenzen in the leg to put runners on first and second with no outs. Chad Wallach put down a sacrifice bunt, but Stuart's throw pulled Francisco Tellez off the bag at first, loading the bases on the error.
Greg Velazquez then produced a two-run single that found a hole through the left side. Staurt retired the following two Fullerton batters, but Richy Pedroza's RBI single to shallow right center kept the frame alive and drove in Wallach while Velazquez moved to third, setting up Carlos Lopez's RBI single that found a hole through the right side.
With a 4-0 cushion, Thomas Eshelman improved to 9-2, scattering five hits and shutting out the Highlanders in five innings of work while striking out three. Eshelman was aided by the Titan defense, which turned two inning-ending double plays.
For the first time since a 9-2 win on March 28 vs. Pacific, the Titans were able to score more than four runs in a series opener to support Eshelman. Fullerton's 14 runs were also the most for the Titans in a game since a 25-0 win over Pacific on March 30.
Of Fullerton's 17 hits, six were for extra bases including a season-high tying five doubles and one triple. The Titans' 17 hits were also the most for CSF since 25 on March 30 vs. the Tigers.
Six Titans recorded multiple hits led by Lopez's 4-for-6, three-RBI effort as the first baseman also scored two runs. Matt Chapman drove in a career-high four runs, batting 2-for-6 with a two-run double and two-run triple in back-to-back innings.
Davis finished the night 2-for-5, driving in a run and scoring a run, while Wallach batted 3-for-3, scoring two runs and driving in a run. Velazquez drove in three runs on a 2-for-4 evening at the plate.
Stuart (3-7) was charged with the loss after allowing 10 runs (eight earned) on 13 hits and one walk in five and 2/3 innings.
Fullerton added a run in the third to take a 5-0 lead as Wallach's two-out double to right center kept the inning alive for the Titans, and Velazquez followed with a high chopper over the reach of UCR third baseman Joe Chavez, allowing Wallach to score as he drove in his third run of the day.
The Titans lead increased to 6-0 in the fourth as Pedroza reached second on a base hit and error, before scoring on Lopez's one-out RBI single driven into center.
Fullerton added a second four-run spot in the sixth to take a 10-0 advantage as the Titans delivered three doubles in the innings; a two-run double from Chapman as well as back-to-back one-run doubles courtesy of Lorenzen and Wallach.
The Titans put another four-spot on the scoreboard in the seventh.
Chavez led UCR batting 3-for-5, scoring two runs and driving in two runs. The Highlanders totaled 13 hits, the most Fullerton's pitching staff has allowed since March 19 vs. Nebraska.
Game two of the series is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch on Saturday at The Plex.
Notes: Fullerton's 40-7 start is the best mark for the program after 47 games since the program began Division I play (1975)…the win also marked Fullerton's 27th season with at least 40 wins since 1975…the Titans have won six straight…Matt Orloff received his first start at second base since Feb. 22 at TCU…Fullerton has scored at least four runs in an inning on 20 occasions in 2013 after putting together three four-run innings on Friday night…Greg Velazquez's three RBIs matched a career high…Fullerton recorded double-digit hits in a game for the 20th time in 2013, and the Titans' 17 hits as well as 14 runs were the most for CSF since a 25-0 victory over Pacific on March 30 when the Titans totaled 25 hits…Fullerton's 14 runs marked the eighth time in 2013 the Titans recorded double-digit runs…Fullerton's five doubles against UCR matched a season high…Carlos Lopez committed his first error of the season…Fullerton allowed 13 hits for the first time since allowing 14 March 19 vs. Nebraska...Carlos Lopez's four hits were a season high and matched a career high…Matt Chapman drove in a career best four runs.