Titans Complete the Sweep in Extra Innings
FULLERTON, Calif. - On a day that began with a helicopter landing and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Malcolm Campbell throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, it was catcher Jared Deacon's squeeze bunt that capped off Armed Forces Weekend at Cal State Fullerton as the Titans completed a three-game sweep of Hawaii, 2-1, in 11 innings Sunday night at Goodwin Field.
The Titans (21-17, 6-6) completed the three-game sweep of the Rainbow Warriors (15-25, 3-12) after a masterful pitching performance by Grahamm Wiest and a perfect bunt from Deacon, who came in as a defensive replacement in the 10th inning.
Wiest became the second Titans pitcher of the weekend to throw 10 innings after Thomas Eshelman did so on Friday night. The Orange-native allowed just one run on four hits and struck out seven on 106 pitches.
In the 11th, Austin Diemer reached after getting plunked by a pitch from Scott Kuzminsky. He then stole second to get into scoring position and Clay Williamson sacrificed him to third to bring up Deacon. The fifth-year senior then bunted Kuzminsky's 1-0 pitch to the third base side as Diemer broke for home. Third baseman Juliene Jones scrambled to pick up the ball but had no play on Diemer and the Titans scored the victory.
Diemer finished the night 1-for-3 with a run scored while Deacon recorded his second walk-off hit of the season.
Kuzminsky took the loss for the Rainbow Warriors despite a great effort in relief. He went five and 2/3 innings and allowed one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out five.
The Titans recorded their first sweep since disposing of Oregon, then ranked No. 9, on the road in early March. It was also the team's first Big West Conference sweep since they took three-straight from Cal State Northridge in the final regular season series of last year.
Tanner Pinkston opened the scoring and put the Titans out in front 1-0 in the third inning as he scorched a double to the right-center field gap with two outs to score Taylor Bryant, who walked and stole second earlier in the frame.
Pinkston finished the game 3-for-5 with a double, recording his fourth consecutive multi-hit game.
The Rainbow Warriors would tie the game in the fourth inning after Stephen Ventimilia led off the inning with a single. He stole second and then advance to third on a flyout to right where Austin Diemer made a magnificent catch against the wall to rob Kaeo Aliviado of an extra-base hit and RBI. Marc Flores would cash in Ventimilia with a single to left and the teams were deadlocked 1-1.
But that was all the Rainbow Warriors could muster against Wiest as the right-hander allowed retired the side in order in four of the last six innings he worked and allowed just three baserunners.
The Titans will be back in action Tuesday as they continue their five-game homestand and string of nine games in 12 days when they host San Diego with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.
Notes: The Titans had two pitchers go 10 innings in their weekend sweep of Hawaii. Prior to that, Jason Windsor was the last Titan to pitch 10 innings in a 2-1 victory over Long Beach State in 2004… Matt Chapman went 1-for-4 on Sunday after going 5-for-5 the night before… Wiest lowered his ERA to 1.67 after Sunday's outing… Pinkston is now the team leader with a .329 batting average after going 7-for-15 in the series.