Pill Almost Perfect; Titans Win Game 2, 4-2
March 26, 2011
Honolulu, Hawaii - Tyler Pill retired the first 18 batters he faced, tied his career high with 11 strikeouts and drove in a run at the plate as No. 13 Cal State Fullerton defeated the University of Hawaii, 4-2, in the first game of a day/night doubleheader at Les Murakami Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Pill took his bid for a perfect game into the bottom of the seventh (the predetermined finishing point of the game) before losing not only the perfect game, but the no-hitter and shutout. Pill improves to 3-0 on the year while Fullerton boosts its record to 14-8.
Conner Little drops his first decision of the year after allowing three runs on two hits over 5.1 innings of work, falling to 2-1. Hawaii dips to .500 at 11-11.
Pill struck out his tenth hitter of the night, Breland Almadova, to open the bottom of the seventh, but the ball went wild, too far away from catcher Nick O'Loughlin to retire Almadova at first, erasing the perfect game bid. A batter later, Pi'ikea Kitamura sent a lined double to right center, scoring Almadova to break up the no-no and the shutout. A two out double down the left field line made it 4-2, but that would be all as Pill fanned Zack Swasey to end the game.
Pill allowed just two hits over seven innings without a walk in the Titans' first complete game of the year.
The Titans led 1-0 on two hits over the first five innings off Little, the difference being Ivory Thomas' first career home run to left in the third inning. It was Fullerton's fourth home run of the year.
Thomas also figured in the scoring in the seventh as he walked to to lead off the frame and moved up with an Anthony Trajano sac-bunt. After a Nick Ramirez walk, Pill helped himself out with an RBI-single off reliever Blair Walters and went to second on the throw back in to the infield. Thomas scored to put Fullerton up 2-0.
With runners at second and third and the infield drawn in, Michael Lorenzen drove home two with a sharp grounder up the middle scoring Ramirez and Pill to make it 4-0.
The Titans and Rainbows will play Game 3 of the foursome series at approximately 8:35 p.m. PT. Dylan Floro will be on the mound for Fullerton. Sunday's game will begin at 4:05 p.m. PT.
NOTES: A perfect game by Pill would have been the first in school history. There have been three no-hitters in school history (Longo Garcia 4/3/1987 vs. Long Beach State [5 inn.]; Ted Silva, 4/23/1995 vs. Pacific; Kirk Saarloos, 4/9/2001 vs. Pacific). Kirk Saarloos, the last Titan to throw a no-no is currently in the Titan dugout as an assistant coach.