May 25, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Carlos Lopez had two hits and an RBI and Dylan Floro tossed a complete-game shutout to lift 12th-ranked Cal State Fullerton to a 4-0 win over Long Beach State to clinch its share of the Big West Conference championship Friday night at Blair Field.
Floro (10-3), who was one hitter away from being lifted in the ninth, got Matt Duffy to pop out to give the junior right-hander his third complete game, first shutout and league-leading 10th victory of the season. He surrendered just six hits and struck out five on 117 pitches. The Titans improve to 34-18 overall and takes a 2-game lead over second place Long Beach State and Cal Poly with two games to play.
The 49ers drop to 27-26 overall and 14-8 in Big West action with their fifth loss in their last eight games. Starter Matt Anderson suffered the loss giving up one run on five hits over four innings of work. Reliever Matt Johnson allowed the other three to score in 1.1 innings of relief.
The Titans sent seven men to the plate in the fourth inning to score the game's first run off Anderson. Anthony Hutting and Matt Chapman opened the inning with back-to-back singles and moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch by Anderson. J.D.Davis walked for just the ninth time on the year to load the bases for Derek Legg. Legg, a Long Beach infielder from 2009-10, delivered against his old team with a single to right to make 1-0 Titans.
After that, Anderson was saved by a diving play on a line drive by his second baseman Jeff McNeil to save a run and then got a pop out and a groundout to get out of the inning.
Legg reached and scored the second Titan run in the sixth, but had to get hit by a pitch twice to get on base. After being plunked the first time, home plate umpire Tony Norris called him back for not getting out of the way. After a brief argument by Rick Vanderhook and a ball, Matt Johnson plunked Legg again to put a runner on first with an out. Jared Deacon singled with a slow-roller to third and moved all the way to third on Juan Avila's errant throw. Legg scored on the play.
The next batter Richy Pedroza drove in a run with a grounder to first, and moved to third when the throw from Ino Patron got away from the catcher Kellen Hoime. Ivory Thomas walked to load the bases and knock Johnson from the game and Carlos Lopez made it 4-0 with a sharp line drive to left center off Jake Stassi.
With the win, the Titans claim their share of their 26th Div. I conference championship and the 18th under the Big West/PCAA alignment. It is also their third consecutive title. A win on Saturday will give the Titans the outright championship and the automatic berth to the NCAA postseason.
Game two of the three-game set will be Saturday at 5:30. Right-handed freshman Grahamm Wiest (5-4, 2.37 ERA) will be on the rubber for the Titans, southpaw Ryan Strufing (6-3, 3.20 ERA) for the 49ers.