FULLERTON, Calif. – Sophomore Thomas Eshelman pitched his second complete game of the season and Matt Chapman had three RBIs to lead No. 9 Cal State Fullerton to a 5-1 non-conference victory over Long Beach State Friday night at Goodwin Field.
Eshelman gave up a career-high 10 hits on the night for the Titans (12-7) but kept the Dirtbags off the scoreboard, allowing just one unearned run in the first inning. He struck out six and lowered his season ERA to 1.47.
Chapman provided the offense for the Titans, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. A.J. Kennedy also had two hits in four at-bats and had a run scored.
The Titans fell behind in the first inning after Colby Brenner led off the game with a single through the right side and then broke for second on Eshelman's first pitch to Garrett Hampson. Kennedy made the throw to second but no one was covering and the ball bounced into shallow center to allow Brenner to advance to third. He would score on a sacrifice fly by Hampson.
But the Titans wasted no time in tying the game as Chapman blasted his third home run of the season off the left field foul pole to lead off their half of the first.
The Titans jumped in front in the third inning after J.D. Davis hit a two-out double to the left center field gap. Greg Velazquez followed with a single up the middle on the first pitch he saw and Davis came around to score and give the Titans a 2-1 edge.
In the fourth inning, the Titans broke the game open. A.J Kennedy led off the frame with a line drive to center for a base hit and then moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Timmy Richards. Tyler Stieb followed with an infield single to second and then Keegan Dale was drilled by Sabo to load the bases for Chapman. The Titans third-baseman came through again with an RBI single through the right side to bring in Kennedy and Stieb and give the Titans a 4-1 lead.
The Titans made it 5-1 when Tanner Pinkston pulled off a successful squeeze bunt with Dale breaking for home plate. Sabo fielded the ball and had no play at the plate and instead erased Pinkston at first.
The teams will return to the diamond on Saturday night with Grahamm Wiest taking the hill for the Titans and the Dirtbags countering with right-hander Andrew Rohrbach.
Notes: Chapman's homer was the team's eighth of the season and their first since Mar. 2 at Oregon… Friday night's victory was head coach Rick Vanderhook's 99th career victory… The Titans have now beaten Long Beach State eight straight times.