Richards and Cardenas Power Titans to 8-3 Victory

Photo by Matt Brown
Photo by Matt Brown

Box Score (PDF)

Fullerton, Calif. - A five-run third inning sparked by a pair of two-run home runs by Timmy Richards and Ruben Cardenas proved to be the difference as Cal State Fullerton (33-18, 15-5) downed visiting Hawai'i (22-27, 11-12) 8-3 Saturday night at Goodwin Field.

The win for the Titans evens the series with the Rainbow Warriors and keeps them two games ahead of second place Long Beach State in the Big West Conference standings. Fullerton's magic number is now three with four league games remaining.

John Gavin (6-2) picked up the win, going six complete innings before handing the game off to the Titan bullpen. The lefty was touched for two runs (one earned) in the second inning and another in the fourth on Ethan Lopez's second home run of the year. Gavin surrendered just three hits on the night while striking out two and faced just one over the minimum over his final four innings of work.

Titan relievers Dylan Prohoroff and Chad Hockin combined for three scoreless innings to close out the game.

The Titans roughed up losing pitcher Alex Hatch (3-6), tagging him with seven earned runs over 5.1 innings, including the five-run third.

Trailing 2-0 in their half of the frame, the Titans strung together five of their 13 hits on the night to take the lead for good. With one out, Josh Vargas got things started by legging out a single and then scoring on Richards' ninth home run of the year. Tanner Pinkston immediately followed with a single and a stolen base then came around to score on Dalton Blaser's double – his first of two on the night. Blaser then got a free ride home as Cardenas connected for his third home run of the year, a no-doubter over the left field wall.

Richards came through again in the sixth inning with a bases-loaded single through the left side that drove home his third and fourth runs of the night off reliever Isaac Friesen. The knock drove home Jake Pavletich and Tristan Hildebrandt who had also singled. Pavletich's hit extended his hitting streak to a season-high 12 games.

The Titans tacked on their final run in the seventh as Cardenas tripled and scored on a Paveltich sacrifice fly.

The series finale will be played Sunday night at Goodwin Field with an unusual start time of 6 p.m. due to Cal State Fullerton Commencement exercises. Right-hander Colton Eastman (7-2, 2.28 ERA) will be toeing the rubber for the Titans, with the Warriors countering with righty Brandon Hornung (4-7, 3.32 ERA).

Timmy Richards' 4 runs batted in tonight are a season high for the junior shortstop. He had driven in 3 runs twice earlier this season… Jake Pavletich has hit safely in all 12 games in which he has batted (Apr. 17 - May 21). He is 16-for-41 (.390) with 7 RBI and 4 runs scored in that span… For the second straight night, the Titans saw their nation-leading ERA drop. They began the weekend at 2.32 and have dipped to a cool 2.30 in the two games vs. Hawai'i. 


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