June 4, 2007
San Diego, Calif. - Justin Klipp and Bryan Harris combined on a 6-hitter and Clark Hardman, John Curtis and Dustin Garneau homered Sunday night as Cal State Fullerton routed Fresno State, 13-2 to win the NCAA Regional Baseball Tournament at San Diego State.
The Titans improved to 36-23 with a 3-game sweep in San Diego including two wins over the Bulldogs, who stayed alive earlier Sunday with an 11-6 win over Minnesota and finished 38-29. Fullerton advances to the Super Regionals next weekend where they will face UCLA, which won the Regional at Long Beach State. The site will be announced later since both teams were No. 2 seeds at the Regional.
Klipp was making his first start of the year but he went 4.2 innings and allowed only a first-inning run and four hits. Harris came in to retire the first 11 batters he faced - six by strikeout - before the Bulldogs tagged him for a run in the ninth on two doubles. Harris got the win to improve to 2-2 and finished with seven strikeouts.
Starter Brandon Burke, the first of five Fresno State pitchers, gave up five runs in the first three innings and took the loss to fall to 4-7.
Hardman, who hit the second pitch of the game over the right field wall for his fifth home run of the year, led off the third inning with a single and went to third on a ground-ball single by Josh Fellhauer. Nick Mahin's first hit of the tournament put the Titans ahead to stay, 2-1, and Curtis followed with his fifth homer of the year to right to make it 5-1.
Six Bulldog errors - four by shortstop Todd Sandell -- led to seven of Fullerton's final eight runs. Sandell let a double play ball off Curtis' bat go through his legs in the fifth and that allowed Mahin to go from first to third, from where he scored as Chris Jones hit into a double play.
In the sixth, Sandell booted Fellhauer's grounder that would have ended the inning and Mahin followed with a three-run triple to extend the lead to 9-1. Sandell mishandled another grounder in the seventh and Hardman cashed in another unearned run with a sacrifice fly. First baseman Alan Ahmady and Sandell made errant throws on consecutive ground balls in the eighth and Billy Pinkerton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Joe Scott got an RBI on a fielder's choice ground ball.
Garneau hit his first collegiate home run as the Titans cleared the bench in the ninth inning to close out the Fullerton scoring.
The Regional championship was Fullerton's 16th -- 11th on the road -- and sends the Titans to the Super Regionals, where they have won five of six previous attempts.
Fullerton has now won 16 of 17 Regionals in which the Titans were within one win of the title. The exception was 1976 when they lost a game No. 7 to host Washington State. Fullerton is 5-1 in Super Regionals in similar situations (lost games Nos. 2 & 3 to Arizona State in 2005) and 4-1 in the championship game of the College World Series (lost to Pepperdine in 1992) for a total of 25 successes in 28 opportunities.
Hardman was selected the tournament's most valuable player. Also on the all-tourney team were teammates Fellhauer and pitcher Wes Roemer.