O'Connell's Gem Forces Deciding Game

June 6, 2010

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FULLERTON, CA - Sophomore right-hander Colin O'Connell pitched a complete-game seven-hitter while striking out a career-high nine batters to help lift top-seeded Cal State Fullerton to a 7-2 victory over Minnesota on Sunday night at Goodwin Field and force a regional-deciding game seven.

The Titans (44-16 overall, 3-1 in NCAA Regional play) avenged a 3-1 loss in their regional opener against the fourth-seeded Golden Gophers (32-29, 2-1) and forced a winner-take-all game between the two squads on Monday night (June 7) at 8 p.m. PDT. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN-U.

O'Connell (1-1), whose previous career-long outing was 4 2/3 innings of work against Loyola Marymount on May 18, allowed just one earned and scattered six hits on the night while retiring 13 consecutive batters at one point en route to the victory. His nine strikeouts bested his previous high of seven set against Pepperdine in Malibu on May 12.

Phil Isaksson (6-2), one of four Minnesota pitchers on the night, suffered the loss, allowing five runs on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Corey Jones and Nick Ramirez each homered for the second consecutive game, knocking out their eighth and 15th round-trippers of the season, respectively. Jones' shot in the sixth, a two-run home run, was his only hit of the game, extending his hitting streak to 23 straight games.

Billy Marcoe finished 3-for-5 with a run scored to help pace the offense while Christian Colon, Richie Pedroza, and Ramirez each finished with two hits apiece.

Carlos Lopez gave the Titans the lead in the second with a sacrifice fly before Joey Siddons added an RBI infield single and Pedroza drove home a third run with a suicide squeeze with the bases loaded for the 3-0 advantage.

Ramirez made it a four-run ballgame in the third, leading off the inning by sending a 1-0 pitch from Isaksson over the wall in right. Later in the inning, with runners at the corners, Lopez made it 5-0, executing the double steal to perfection with teammate Walker Moore.

The lead grew to 7-0 on Jones' home run in the sixth before Minnesota broke up the shutout in the eighth on a single by A.J. Pettersen, who finished 2-for-4, and Michael Kvasnicka slammed his eighth home run of the year in the ninth to cap the scoring.