FULLERTON, Calif. – Freshman Thomas Eshelman gave the Titans another impressive performance this season, as he helped Cal State Fullerton advance to their 11th Super Regional in school history, as the Titans defeated Arizona State 6-1 at Goodwin Field on Sunday night.
Jumping out to an early 3-0 lead after the first inning, the Titans never looked back and with the win they improve to 51-8 on the season, while Arizona State wraps up their season at 37-22-1.
Normally Fullerton's Friday night ace, Eshelman (12-2) dazzled again Sunday night, scattering just six hits, while allowing one run over eight innings. With the victory, the freshman right-hander now ties teammate Justin Garza for wins in a season as a freshman. Sophomore Tyler Peitzmeier tossed a perfect ninth inning to give Fullerton its first regional championship since 2010. Adam McCreery (2-4) records the loss for the Sun Devils after tossing one inning and allowing five runs off of one hit, while issuing six walks. The Arizona State pitching staff surrendered 11 walks on the night, which matched a season-high for walks in a game for the Titans.
In front of 2,188 fans, the Titans advance to the Super Regional round for the 11th time in school history and it's the ninth time Fullerton has moved on as a regional host at Goodwin Field. In his second season at the helm, the regional championship is the first for head Rick Vanderhook.
McCreery found himself in a jam early after walking three of the first four batters of the game. Michael Lorenzen gave the Titans an early 2-0 lead with a two-run single to right scoring Richy Pedroza and Matt Chapman. The lefty sophomore then issued a bases-loaded walk to Jake Jeffries giving the Titans a 3-0 advantage.
After relieving McCreery in the second inning Josh McAlister's first batter J.D Davis ripped an RBI single up the middle, which scored Carlos Lopez from second and then Lorenzen laid down a squeeze bunt to score Chapman giving Fullerton a 5-0 lead. After surrendering the hit to Lopez, McAlister held the Titans in check for five 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and issuing three walks, while striking out two.
The Sun Devils answered back with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning after a one-out triple from Max Rossiter went past a diving attempt from center fielder Lorenzen. After striking out Nathaniel Causey, Eshelman gave up a two-out RBI single to left center to right fielder Trever Allen, which scored Rossiter from third cutting the Titan lead down to 5-1.
Fullerton put one more on the board in the eighth off reliever Ryan Burr. Pedroza singled to lead-off the inning before advancing to second on a stolen base, which paved the way for Chapman to drive in the sixth Titan run of the game with a line-drive single to right to score Pedroza from second.
Ryan Burr tossed the final two 1/3 innings for the Sun Devils giving up one run off two hits, while issuing two walks and striking out three.
Fullerton will face UCLA in the Super Regionals next weekend at Goodwin Field. Selection of the eight super regional hosts will be announced on www.NCAA.com/cws, Monday, June 3 at approximately 11 p.m. (ET).
FULLERTON ALL-REGIONAL TEAM
Catcher: Mitch Garver, New Mexico
First Base: Alex Black, Columbia
Second Base: Jake Jefferies, Cal State Fullerton
Third Base: Matt Chapman, Cal State Fullerton
Shortstop: Jared Holley, New Mexico
Outfield: Kasey Coffman, Arizona State
Outfield: Michael Lorenzen, Cal State Fullerton
Outfield: Nick Ferraresi, Columbia
DH: J.D. Davis, Cal State Fullerton
Pitcher: Grahamm Wiest, Cal State Fullerton
Pitcher: Justin Garza (MVP), Cal State Fullerton
Game Notes: Thomas Eshelman only let his teammate , Justin Garza hold the Cal State Fullerton freshmen win record for less than 24 hours, earning his 12th win of 2013 on Sunday night…in three games at the Fullerton Regional, the Titan pitching staff limited opponents to two runs on 13 hits and no walks… …dating back to 1975 the Titans and Sun Devils have played one another in the postseason 18 times with Fullerton holding a 10-8 advantage…at Goodwin Field in the postseason, the Titans hold a 7-3 edge over ASU…in 10 Regional games between Fullerton and Arizona State, the Titans hold a 6-4 lead…in Regional games played at Goodwin Field against ASU, the Titans are an undefeated 4-0 with wins previously in 2001 and 2004…the Titans all-time postseason record is 144-74 and 94-39 in Regional play…the Titans hold a record of 34-9 in during Regional play at Goodwin Field…the Titans won their first Regional championship game since defeating Minnesota, 9-5, on June 7, 2010 at Goodwin Field…Cal State Fullerton has advanced to its 11th Super Regional in 15 tries dating back to 1999 when Super Regional play began…the Titans have also advanced to their ninth super regional after winning the regional at Goodwin Field…Fullerton is making its first Super Regional appearance since 2010, and the Titans will once again be playing UCLA, but the series will held at Goodwin Field – in 2010 the three-game set was held at Jackie Robinson Stadium…Cal State Fullerton and UCLA will meet for the third time in Super Regional play, and the Titans will play an opponent from the Pac-12 in Super Regional play for the sixth time…the Titans hold a 7-4 edge over UCLA in the postseason, and a 3-2 record in Super Regional play…CSF won two games in 2007, while UCLA won 2-of-3 in 2010…the Titans are now 9-1 against the Pac-12 Conference in 2013, and 11-2 against teams that were ranked in the Baseball America Top-25 at the time of the game….Fullerton has outscored its opponent 65-15 in the first inning this season…the Titans were walked a 11 times, matching a season high vs. Nebraska on Feb. 16, 2013.
Cal State Fullerton Quotes
Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Rick Vanderhook
"It was a tale of two stories for me; their guy couldn't throw strikes and was all over the place. We did what we kind of wanted. We wanted to keep them on defense and they kind of kept themselves on defense."
"It was a good weekend for the pitching staff, 27 innings no walks. We made them earn their runs. They have to get hits to get their runs. It's not easy to do, we play good defense and we cover a lot of ground in the outfield."
On the matchup versus UCLA
"UCLA is going to be a different challenge, they are more like us. They pitch, they play defense. They are opportunistic on offense. We are going to have to break down a little bit and now we are at a point that they have videotape on us and we have videotape on them. So we will figure out some tendencies and what they do and prepare like we do and see who plays the game the best."
Cal State Fullerton Starting Pitcher Thomas Eshelman
On how he felt during his start
"Earlier in the game my change up wasn't really working but as the game went on I started to get the feel for it which helped me out in keeping them off balance."
"The coaching staff did a good job with match ups as far as what teams we played. I know that anything they do I trust in. I don't think it matters what day we pitch as long as we have the mentality of throwing strikes and getting our guys back in the dug out to score for us."
Cal State Fullerton Centerfield Michael Lorenzen
On the weekend
"We need to keep doing what we are doing. We got three wins this weekend; our pitching staff is doing great so we need to just keep doing what we are doing."
On advancing to Super Regionals
"It's really exciting. Since I have been here we haven't won a regional. It is a surreal feeling. We have to celebrate tonight and then get over it and come in tomorrow and get ready to play UCLA. It's a really good feeling to win a Regional."
Arizona State Quotes
Arizona State Head Coach Esmay
"Not the ending we were looking for, long day. We got off to a rough start and tried to battle back but our guys fought hard. They fought hard all year. Credit to our guys, very proud of them and how they play this year. Fighting til the end."
On McAlister's performance
"Very proud of McAlister, he really picked us up. We were really stretched with our bullpen. For him to come in and do what he did was incredible."
On Eshelman's performance
"He pitched well and threw strikes, forced us to have to hit the baseball. We hit some balls hard but he wasn't giving away freebies."
Summing up the season
"It was a grind. We had our ups and downs, it wasn't perfect but I think the epitome of it was that we couldn't establish consistency in winning, we did that early in the season but had a hard time putting it together on a weekend."
Arizona State Pitcher Josh McAlister
On the grind of the game
"We came to the yard today ready to battle. I am so proud of my teammates and so proud what we did for ASU. I'm so proud to be a part of this team. I am sure I will feel it tomorrow but we came to the yard today ready to go and ready to play baseball."
On his pitching style
"One thing about my pitching style, it's a little bit like a softball pitcher. I can throw everyday. That is one asset that I have but credit to all the guys playing behind me."
Arizona State 10, Columbia 5
FULLERTON, Calif-- Arizona State cruised past Columbia by the final of 10-5 Sunday afternoon to clinch a spot in Fullerton Regional's first championship game.
The Sun Devils plated one in the first, six in the third and three in the fourth, off just five hits, two of which were home runs. The Lions managed five runs through the first five innings, but the Arizona State relief pitching shut out Columbia through the final four innings to clinch the victory and eliminate the Lions from postseason play.
With the win, Arizona State earns another shot at top-seeded Cal State Fullerton. The Sun Devils and Titans battled it out late last night, as Justin Garza came out on top in the 1-0 pitchers dual.
Michael Benjamin and James McDonald led Arizona State's offense Saturday afternoon combining for six RBI. Benjamin's two-run RBI double sparked the six-run third for the Sun Devils, giving Arizona State the lead and momentum.
Alex Blackford (5-1) recorded the win with his 3 1/3 innings of work, while the Sun Devil bullpen combined to shut out the Lions to finish the game giving up just two hits in three innings. Stefan Olson (1-2) was charged with the loss for Columbia after completing just two innings of work. Olson settled down after giving up an early run to retire the next six batters before Arizona State pegged him for six runs in the third.
Kasey Coffman started it off for Arizona State blasting the game's first pitch over the fence in right center for his eighth home run of the season.
The Sun Devils loaded the bases in the third with two walks and a hit batter for Michael Benjamin who hammered a double off the wall to bring in two. James McDonald followed with a single through the right side to give Arizona State the 5-2 lead and force Olson out of the game after just two innings. Nathaniel Causey continued the offensive charge, blasting the Sun Devils' second home run of the game with a two-run shot.
The top of the fourth inning started just as the third did as Benjamin came to the plate with the bases loaded for Arizona State. Relief pitcher, Adam Cline issued his second walk of the inning to bring in another run for the Sun Devils before James McDonald and Max Rossiter each recorded RBIs to open up a 10-3 advantage.
The Lions' bullpen kept Arizona State hitless after the fourth, but the damage had already been done, as the five-run lead proved too much to overcome for Columbia.
Meanwhile, Arizona State starter Zak Miller got into trouble early. After hitting Jordan Serena with a pitch, Alex Black looped a single into centerfield to put runners on first and third. Joey Falcone ripped a double down the right field line to bring in two and give the Lions the short-lived lead in the first.
Tim Esmay was forced to pull Miller in the third after three singles and a fielding error led to a Lions run.
Columbia put two more on the board in the fifth off reliever, Blackford. Nick Ferraresi and Aaron Silbar led off the inning with back-to-back singles before advancing to second and third on a sacrifice bunt. Nick Crucet flied out to right field before Mike Fishcer singled to center to plate the frames two runs.
Arizona State will try to stave off elimination for the second time in one day, as they'll take on top-seeded Cal State Fullerton tonight at 8 p.m.
Arizona State Head Coach Tim Esmay
On playing Columbia
"I thought it was a great response from us after a tough loss last night and a late night of getting into bed. Our bats came alive early and then our pitching did a good job of holding them (Columbia) by minimizing free bases and because of that we live another day"
On offensive approach
"I thought we did a good job of being aggressive, but not overly aggressive especially early in the game when they made mistakes we were ready to swing the bats and command our at bats. We made sure to make an adjustment after a tough offensive game last night."
Relief Pitcher Alex Blackford
"I wanted to come into the game throw strikes and slow the game down for myself. I made sure to not beat myself so I wanted to pound the zone and make them swing their way into the game.
On facing Fullerton for the second time after defeating Columbia
"It's gonna be all hands on deck for pitching. We have guys ready in the bullpen to go and this is my senior season so if the team needs me I'll be ready to go."
Columbia Head Coach Brett Boretti
"I'm extremely proud of our guys, it's been a tremendous season for us and we just talked about how all good things have to come to an end at some point."
"You want to win that next game and move on, but this team is the best in Columbia baseball history. They (Columbia) set a new Division One win total in a season and they won the first regional game in school history were very proud and they should be very proud.
"It was a tough loss to Arizona State, we did some uncharacteristic things we did, like free bases, and if you do that against a good team it's going to cost you. We grinded and continued to battle with them."
Relief Pitcher Zach Tax
On his performance
"My slider was breaking and my changeup was good. That's a pitch I didn't have coming into college with and it worked, especially against the Arizona State lefties".