Lopez Earns Big West Co-Player of the Week Honors
IRVINE, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton senior Carlos Lopez earned Big West Co-Player of the Week honors after he sent the Titans to their fourth straight Big West title with dramatic back-to-back walk-off home runs against rival UC Irvine last weekend.
With Saturday's game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Lopez came to the plate with two outs and the bases empty. He hammered a 1-1 offering over the right field wall for a series-clinching 3-2 victory.
The first baseman capitalized again on Sunday as this time Cal State Fullerton trailed 5-4 in the ninth. With one out, two runners on base and a 1-1 count, Lopez hit a three-run jack to right field to deliver a 7-5 comeback win and solidify the series sweep over the Anteaters.
The win secured the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for CSF and clinched the program's 27th conference championship.
Lopez began the series with the first of three straight game-winning RBIs that rivaled the impressiveness of the two walk-off homers he belted. UCI reliever Mitch Merten entered in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game with runners at the corners and Lopez at the plate. The two engaged in a 14-pitch battle that ended with Lopez singling into right field to give the Titans a 3-2 advantage. The hit occurred after Lopez had fouled off nine straight pitches.
Lopez, a native of Northridge, Calif., is currently one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. Fans can vote at www.seniorclassaward.com.
The fifth-year senior leads the Titans in several offensive categories this season including; batting average (.333), runs scored (45), hits (69), and stolen bases (14). In addition, Lopez has totaled nine doubles, three triples and four home runs while driving in 32 runs.
During his career, Lopez has managed a .337 batting average and has played in 218 career games, which ranks eighth all-time at Fullerton. His 276 career hits tie for fourth all-time at Fullerton.
Lopez shared Big West co-Player of the Week honors with Cal Poly senior Elliott Stewart, who also hit two-game winning home runs in the Mustangs sweep of Cal State Northridge.
This is the second Big West Player of the Week award for the Titans. J.D. Davis previously earned the honor on Feb. 18. Overall in 2013 the Titans have earned four Big West honors as Thomas Eshelman (March 4) and Justin Garza (March 11) also earned Big West Pitcher of the Week honors.
Long Beach State's Shane Carle was named Big West Pitcher of the Week.