FULLERTON, Calif. – It may have just been a fall exhibition, but there was a buzz in the air at Goodwin Field, as Cal State Fullerton played its first organized contest since last year's College World Series on Sunday. Despite dropping a 5-4 decision to UNLV on Saturday afternoon, there's plenty of reason to be optimistic heading into the new campaign.
Ten different Titans collected hits on the day, as returner Ruben Cardenas and newcomer Tyler Lasch led the way with two knocks a piece. Cardenas was 2-of-4 from the dish with a run scored, while Lasch went 2-of-4 with an RBI and a run scored from the designated hitter spot.
Jake Pavletich also contibuted in a big way, going 1-of-2 at the plate with a walk to go along with a couple of defensive web gems at first base. Overall including the extra session, Pavletich went 2-of-3 with three walks and a hit by pitch.
Daniel Cope came through with Fullerton's lone extra base knock, going 1-of-4 with a double and an RBI. Jarius Richards and Jace Chamberlain each came through with pinch hit RBIs in their first unofficial bats as Titans, will both went 1-for-1 at the dish.
However, the real encouragement came on the mound, as Colton Eastman got the start on the bump for Fullerton and was nothing short of fantastic. He allowed just two hits and a walk while fanning four in two shutout innings. Junior college transfer Andrew Quezada also came through with an encouraging performance, as he also racked up 2.0 shutout innings, while allowing just one hit and recorded a strikeout. He figures to compete for a spot in the rotation come the spring.
Blake Workman also tossed a shutout inning on the day.
Lasch delivered the first run of the game, as the Titans opened up the scoring in the second frame. Cardenas led off the inning with a single up the middle, followed by a Chris Prescott walk. Cope then sent a rocket to center, nearly falling in for a double, but a fantastic defensive play made it just a loud out. The runners were able to advance to second and third on the play before Lasch came through with a single through left side to score Cardenas and put the Titans up 1-0.
Prescott got on base again in the fourth and Cope was able to drive him in with a double that rolled all the way to the wall in center to spot the Titans a 2-0 advantage.
However, the Rebels scored runs in the sixth and seventh frames to tie things up at 2-2 heading to the eighth.
UNLV then put up a three spot in the eighth off the strength of two homers to take a 5-2 advantage to the bottom of the eighth.
Fullerton wouldn't go down easy though, as it launched a rally. Chamberlain came in to pinch hit and delivered a two-out single up the middle to score a run from second to cut the deficit to 5-3.
The Titans then pushed across another run in the ninth, thanks to the Richards pinch hit knock. Richards then stole two bases to end up at third base, but unfortunately Fullerton couldn't bring him home, it left the tying run 90 feet away.
Fullerton will continue to scrimmage throughout the fall, but its next organized contest will come on Jan. 27th, as the program will host its annual alumni game.
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