Titans Eliminate Nebraska, Will Face Oklahoma State for Regional Title
STILLWATER, Okla. - Grahamm Wiest went eight solid innings and Cal State Fullerton capitalized on a number of mistakes as they eliminated No. 19 Nebraska 4-3 Sunday afternoon in an elimination game at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
The Titans (34-23) took advantage of three Cornhuskers (41-21) errors, two hit batters and a balk to score the victory and keep their season going. The Titans will now take on No. 1 seed Oklahoma State in a rematch of Saturday night's affair. The Titans will need to defeat the Cowboys twice to advance to the Super Regionals next week.
Wiest went eight innings and allowed three runs on seven hits, earning his fifth victory of the season. He struck out five and did not issue a walk. The Titans managed just five hits offensively with Tyler Stieb, J.D. Davis, Greg Velazquez, Clay Williamson and Austin Diemer each collecting singles for Fullerton. But it was the Cornhuskers mistakes that allowed the Titans to prevail as all four of their runs were unearned.
It started early as Fullerton loaded the bases in their half of the first inning. Stieb led off with a soft single over the shortstop and then Keegan Dale got aboard after Nebraska pitcher Aaron Bummer could not handle the sacrifice bunt attempt back to the mound. Davis hit a single to left to load the bases and extend his hitting streak to 15 games but Matt Chapman and Velazquez each popped out. That's when Williamson stepped up and chopped a 1-0 offering from Bummer through the left side for a two-run single to put the Titans up 2-0. With the hit, Williamson reached base safely for the 30th consecutive games.
The Cornhuskers trimmed the Titans lead in half in the fourth inning after Grahamm Wiest had retired the first nine hitters he faced. Ryan Boldt led off the frame with a double that split the gap in right-center to give the Cornhuskers their first baserunner of the game. Steven Reveles sacrificed Boldt to third and then Michael Pritchard lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Boldt and make it 2-1, Titans.
In the sixth, the Titans fell behind as Reveles singled with one out and then advanced to third on another single by Pritchard. After Pritchard stole second, Wiest spiked his sixth wild pitch of the season and Reveles came in to tie the score, 2-2, while Pritchard went to third. Pat Kelly stepped up and hit into a fielder's choice as the Titans erased Pritchard in a rundown, but Blake Headley hit a two-out single to center to bring in Kelly with the go-ahead run.
But the Titans regained the lead in the seventh despite not getting a hit in the frame thanks to a number of miscues by the Cornhuskers. Jared Deacon got things started as he was plunked by Bummer's first pitch of the inning. Taylor Bryant then reached on a sacrifice attempt that could not be handled by Bummer, committing his second error of the day. Tyler Stieb sacrificed both runners into scoring position and then the Titans tied it as Dale reached on an error at short, allowing Deacon to score. That was the end of the line for Bummer as the Cornhuskers called on reliever Bob Greco, who promptly committed a balk to allow Bryant to score the go-ahead run, putting the Titans up 4-3.
Davis earned his seventh save of the season despite allowing the tying run to get into scoring position after he allowed a single to Austin Darby and then hit pinch-hitter Ben Miller on the helmet. But Davis got Jake Placzek to line out to second base to end the Cornhuskers season.
Notes: The Titans are now 8-0 all-time against Nebraska and 3-0 in the postseason… The Titans outscored the Cornhuskers 9-4 in the two games played at the Stillwater Regional despite being outhit by Nebraska 17-10… The Titans will be the road team in Sunday night's matchup with Oklahoma State.