April 7, 2007
Fullerton, Calif. - Matt Wallach continued his clutch hitting with a 3-for-3, career-high, five-RBI night to lift No. 12 Cal State Fullerton to a 10-2 Big West Conference victory over No. 23 UC Irvine Friday night at Goodwin Field.
The Titans improve to 19-11 overall and 4-1 in conference play. Irvine drops to 22-8-1, 3-2. Jeff Kaplan (5-2) was the winner for the Titans as he out-dueled the conference's winningest pitcher, Wes Etheridge (8-1), who suffered his first loss of the season.
Fullerton jumped on Etheridge from the get-go, plating three runs in the bottom of the first, courtesy of a Wallach three-run home run to right. The blast gave the Titans a 3-0 lead and all the run support Kaplan and the Titans would need for the win to even the series at one game apiece.
Kaplan, in his ninth start of the year, became the Titans' first 5-game winner by pitching effectively for 7 1/3 innings, surrendering five hits while fanning two Anteaters. The only real blemish to the junior's line came in the top of the sixth inning as he surrendered a home run UCI second baseman Cody Cipriano. It was a two-run shot that cleared the net in right field.
Fullerton added to their lead in the third inning, sending all nine men to the plate, and scoring four runs on six hits to extend their lead to 7-0. John Curtis, Evan McArthur, Wallach and Corey Jones each drove in a run in what would be Etheridge's last inning of work. The Titans added an unearned run off reliever Daniel Bibona in the bottom of the fifth, upping the score to 8-0 before Irvine got on the board with Cipriano's big fly.
Back-to-back doubles by the Clark Hardman and Josh Fellhauer, and Wallach's third hit of the night, a single, drove in the final two Titan runs in the bottom of the sixth inning giving them the eventual 10-2 final score.
Right-handed senior Nolan Bruyninckx finished the game for Fullerton, surrendering a pair of hits and two hit batters, but escaped unscathed in the run column and preserving the eight-run Titan lead.
Hardman matched Wallach with three hits on the night to lead all players. Fellhauer and McArthur also contributed two apiece in the Titan attack that saw them out-hit the Anteaters 13-6. Cipriano led UCI with two hits.
The rubber match of the three-game set is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Goodwin Field. Sean Urena will go for Fullerton. No pitcher has been announced for Irvine.
NOTES: Since filling in for the injured Jake Vasquez at first base Matt Wallach has posted two game-winning hits (single and home run) and a game-tying home run in five games. Since Vasquez's Mar. 30 wrist injury, Wallach is 7-for-17 (.412) with 2 home runs and eight RBI...Every starter for Cal State Fullerton except for Joe Scott collected at least one hit on the night...