Garza Tosses Fourth No-Hitter in Titans History in Win Over Matadors
FULLERTON, Calif. - The night began with a tribute to the past as Cal State Fullerton honored members of the 1984 and 2004 national championship teams prior to Friday night's game, but it was the future that stole the show by the end of the night, making a little history along the way.
Sophomore Justin Garza tossed the fourth no-hitter in Titans history as the Titans defeated Cal State Northridge 3-0 in a Big West Conference contest at Goodwin Field.
Garza's masterful performance added his name alongside Kirk Saarloos, Ted Silva and Longo Garcia as the only other Titans to toss a no-hitter in the program's 40-year history in NCAA Division I baseball. Saarloos was the last Titans pitcher to accomplish the feat, no-hitting Pacific on Apr. 9, 2001 in a 28-0 win over Pacific.
"With all the alumni and all the great players that have come through here and to have my name on that board is just a big honor," Garza said. "I still can't believe it; right now it just feels like I'm floating and everything is not really real."
Garza's no-hitter also notched him the first complete-game of his career. The Ontario, Calif. native walked three and struck out 12, matching his career high. He struck out a batter in every inning except the sixth, where he induced a double play after the lead-off man got on base thanks to an error.
The Titans (31-22, 13-10) won their sixth consecutive game while the Matadors (18-37, 6-16) dropped their fifth straight have lost nine of their last 10 conference games.
The Matadors hitters were off balance all night but threatened to bring Garza's magical night to an end in the seventh inning. Outfielder Chester Pak smacked an 0-2 cutter to the right side of the infield that looked destined to get through the hole. But Titans first baseman Greg Velazquez made a sliding stab at the ball to his right and then found Garza charging to cover first and the no-hitter was preserved.
"You always see in the bigs, people make magnificent plays to back up their teammate in a situation like that and I kind of knew that might be the time because on that pitch I really hung a cutter that should have been smacked and Greg was there to field it and I was there to cover," Garza said. "From that point on, I was like, 'alright, you got lucky now let's get back to work.'"
It was not the last defensive marvel in the inning as Matadors left-fielder Nick Blaser stepped up and laced the first pitch from Garza toward third, where Matt Chapman fielded the liner perfectly on a short-hop and then threw a laser to first to get the second out. Garza completed the frame with his eighth strike out of the night.
In the ninth, Garza got Brett Balkan to ground out to short and then got back-to-back strikeouts to complete the gem.
J.D. Davis took care of the offense for the Titans as he continued to swing a hot bat. He belted his fourth home run of the season way over the right-center field fence and halfway up the netting to give Fullerton a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. It was his first home run since Mar. 2 at Oregon and also extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
But Davis was not finished as he stepped up to the dish with a man on in the fifth. He fell behind in the count 0-2 but would work the count full against Matadors starter Jerry Keel. Davis then unloaded a mammoth blast that cleared the Goodwin Field scoreboard by at least 10 feet and landed somewhere in the parking lot, putting the Titans up 3-0.
Davis finished the night 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBI. He is now 22-for-43 (.512) in his last 10 games with seven doubles, two triples, two home runs and an astronomical .907 slugging percentage and 1.450 OPS. He's also scored nine runs, walked three times and has stolen two bases in that stretch.
The Titans will look to complete the regular season with a sweep as they send Grahamm Wiest to the mound on Saturday afternoon while the Matadors counter with Jordan Johnson.
Notes: Silva's no-hitter came on Apr. 23, 1995 in a 5-0 victory over Pacific while Garcia's no-hitter came in a 7-0 win over Long Beach State in a five-inning rain-shortened game. All four Titans no-hitters have occurred at home… Davis' home run was the team's first since May 6 when Chapman went deep in the Titans' 1-0 victory at UCLA… Davis was the first Titans player to hit two home runs in a game since he did it at Cal State Bakersfield on Feb. 17, 2013… Garza struck out a dozen for the second time this season, doing so against San Francisco on Feb. 22. It was also the third time a Titans pitcher has struck out 12 this season, with Thomas Eshelman fanning 12 against UC Riverside on May 9… Keegan Dale went 0-for-2 on the night, bringing his 19-game hitting streak to an end… Clay Williamson walked in the fourth inning, reaching base safely for the 26th consecutive game… All four of the Titans hits on Friday night went for extra bases.