NEW ORLEANS – The Titans came out with a sense of purpose and it showed, as Fullerton cruised to a 9-3 win over Tulane to end the losing skid, Friday night in the series opener at Greer Field.
For Fullerton (2-7), the win marked its most complete performance of the season, as the Titans executed in all three phases. Fullerton received a magnificent start from Colton Eastman (1-1) who tossed 7.0 innings, scattered six hits, surrendered just two earned runs and fanned eight.
The Titans also put it together offensively, scoring a season-high nine runs off of 11 base hits. Sahid Valenzuela and Ruben Cardenas both boasted three-hit nights. Valenzuela went 3-of-5 from the plate with a double, a run scored and an RBI from the leadoff spot, while Cardenas picked up hits in each of his first three at bats, including a triple and two runs scored.
Daniel Cope put together a two-hit night, including blasting a home run, scoring two runs and driving in two. Mitchell Berryhill extended his hit streak to a team-best six games, as he recorded a hit and scored a run. Jacob Pavletich chipped in with two RBI and a knock, while Hank LoForte went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Jairus Richards became the first Titan to draw three walks in a game since Taylor Bryant did it last year at UC Riverside on April 2nd.
"Our goal was just to get guys on tonight and put pressure on the defense," said Cardenas. "We did that and we just need to continue to win innings. If we do that, we're going to be fine."
The onslaught started from the very first inning. Berryhill drew a four-pitch walk then Ruben Cardenas singled to shortstop. Then the real fun began, as six straight Titans reached with two outs. Richards drew a full-count walk to load up the bases. Cope then put together a monumental at-bat, at one point fouling off five straight pitches to work an 11-pitch at bat. He eventually walked to force in a run to put the Titans up 1-0. Two pitches later, Chris Prescott got plunked to force in another Titan run to put Fullerton up 2-0.
Pavletich then unloaded one to left center to drive two more runs to extend the lead to 4-0. Hank LoForte then earned the fifth Titan walk of the inning to load them back up for Valenzuela, who dropped down a perfect drag bunt to successfully execute the squeeze play and put the Titans ahead 5-0.
All five runs scored in the inning came with two outs.
However, Fullerton wasn't done, as Cardenas continued his career day in the second, as he led off the frame with a triple to left. He came in to score a batter later, as Jace Chamberlin chopped one to shortstop to pick up the RBI and extend the Titan advantage to 6-0.
Cope then added to the Titan lead in the sixth, as he launched a solo dinger just inside the left field foul pole for his second career home run to put Fullerton up 7-0.
Tulane (5-4) attempted to make things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, as it put up a three spot, but the Titans scored two runs on wild pitches in the ninth to push the lead back up to 9-3.
Fullerton aims to claim the series tomorrow, as both teams will do it again at noon PT.
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