FULLERTON, Calif. – UCLA's Nick Vander Tuig delivered an impressive performance and the Bruins took advantage of two first-inning errors to defeat Cal State Fullerton 3-0 and advance to the College World Series, Saturday night Goodwin Field.
The Bruins move on to the College World Series for the second consecutive season and for the third time in four years, while the Titans get shut out for just the second time this season and finish their campaign with an overall record of 51-10, the most wins for a Titan team since 1995 when Fullerton finished 57-9 and won the national title.
Fullerton has now been eliminated by UCLA for the second straight time in a Super Regional, as the Titans lost in three games back in 2010 at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles. With Saturday night's loss the Titans have now missed out on the College World Series for four consecutive seasons, which is the first time Fullerton has gone more than three seasons without advancing to Omaha, breaking what was the longest such streak in Division I baseball dating back to 1975.
In front of a sold-out Goodwin Field crowd, Vander Tuig (12-4) tossed six and 1/3 innings, scattering eight hits, while striking out four. The Oakdale, Calif., native got himself in multiple jams, but found a way to get out of them. Fullerton's Thomas Eshelman (12-3) went the distance for the second time this season, after throwing eight innings, allowing three runs, all unearned, off six hits, while issuing just one walk and striking out five.
UCLA jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage in the bottom of the first after two errors by the Cal State Fullerton defense. With two outs, Eric Filia reached on a fielding error by first baseman Carlos Lopez while, Pat Valaika hit an infield single, and Kevin Williams reached on a throwing error by Fullerton third baseman Matt Chapman, setting up bases loaded situation for first baseman Pat Gallagher who smacked a two-run single to center, scoring Filia and Valaika. Shane Zeile added one more in the inning with an RBI single to center, which scored Williams.
The Titans stranded 12 men on base and was 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The Titans threatened in the fourth inning after back-to-back singles by Michael Lorenzen and Anthony Hutting, but Vander Tuig got Chad Wallach to ground out and Jake Jeffries to go down swinging to get out of the jam. Fullerton would threaten again in the sixth and eighth inning, but were unable to score.
James Kaprielian relieved Vander Tuig in the seventh inning, issuing just a walk to Pedroza before getting Carlos Lopez to ground out and Chapman to fly out to center. The Bruins used Zack Weiss and David Berg to close out the Titans. Berg, after earning the win last night, tossed the final one 1/3 innings giving up one hit to earn the save.
Notes: Cal State Fullerton ends the season with 51 wins, its most since 1995…Cal State Fullerton's four-year drought (2010-13) of not reaching the College World Series is the longest in program history dating back to 1975…Fullerton lost two games in a row for just the second time in 2013…the Titans are 15-7 when the opponents score first…in 15 three-game series played this year, Fullerton lost its first series to UCLA, after winning the first 14…Fullerton was shut out for the second time this year, and the first time since a 2-0 loss to UC Santa Barbara on April 14…Thomas Eshelman gave up three runs in a start for just the third time in 2013, and the first time since April 26 at Hawai'i. All three runs against the Bruins were unearned…the Titans last committed at least two errors each in back-to-back games at Oral Roberts (March 17; 3) and vs. Nebraska (March 19; 5)…Eshelman's one-out walk issued to Brian Carroll in the second inning was just his third walk of the season, and the first on four balls (others 3-2 counts)…Eshelman also tossed his second complete game of the season… …the Titans are 11-4 against ranked opponents in 2013…Fullerton holds a 9-3 record against the Pac-12 in 2013…and the Titans are 2-2 in four games against UCLA in 2013…in its 11th Super Regional appearance, Fullerton failed to reach the College World Series for the fourth time…Fullerton holds a 7-6 edge over UCLA in the NCAA postseason, and in Super Regional games UCLA leads 4-3…in three Super Regional meetings, UCLA has won twice (2010, 2-1; 2013, 2-0) and the Titans were victorious in 2007 (2-0).