FULLERTON, Calif. – Colton Eastman put together a strong start and Daniel Cope came up with the big blast to lead Fullerton to a 6-3 victory over Hawai'i in the series opener, Friday evening at Goodwin Field.
Fullerton (18-18, 5-2 Big West) now improves to 7-3 during Eastman starts, while the Titans moved into sole possession of first place in the conference with the win.
Eastman (5-3) tossed his seventh quality start of the season, as he pitched 7.0 innings and surrendered just three runs on eight hits while fanning six. Blake Workman was excellent in relief as he tossed a shutdown eighth, while striking out the side.
Brett Conine earned his eighth save of the season, tossing a shutout ninth frame.
.@d_cope1 went for 1-4 at the plate but he had a big sac bunt early in the game and a 2-run shot over the LF wall. Here's his thoughts on todays win over Hawaii #TusksUp | #EverythingTogether pic.twitter.com/niEPq1yhON— Titan Baseball (@BaseballTitans) April 21, 2018
Hawai'i's Jackson Rees (3-1) took his first loss of the season.
Hank LoForte extended his season-long hit streak to 10 consecutive games and ran his on-base streak to 20 games, while he picked up his 10th multi-hit performance. He went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Cope went 1-for-4 with his team-leading fourth homer of the season, while scoring a run and driving in three.
Chris Prescott went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Sahid Valenzuela chipped in with a big hit and an RBI. Mitchell Berryhill scored a run and walked twice, while Jacob Pavletich came through with a hit.
Hawai'i struck first in this one, getting a run on back-to-back doubles to begin the game, but Eastman beared down to limit the damage to just one run in the frame.
It didn't take long for Fullerton to strike back. Berryhill began the rally reaching on a fielding error by the first baseman. Cardenas then shot a rocket to left field, followed by a Prescott single through the left side to score Berryhill to tie the game at 1-1. Cope then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to bring Cardenas home from third base and give the Titans a 2-1 lead.
However, the Bows struck back in the fifth, as Adam Fogel launched a two-out two-run home run over the left field fence to put Hawai'i in front 3-2.
That lead was gone in a blink of an eye, as Fullerton grabbed the lead right back, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth. LoForte started the rally with a base knock up the middle. Berryhill then bunted him over to second base on the sacrifice. LoForte then advanced to third base on a throwing error by the pitcher. He then came around with tying run, as Cardenas blasted an RBI single up the middle to tie the game at 3-3.
Prescott then drew a four-pitch walk to put runners at first and second with one out. Cope shot a towering fly ball to right field to sacrifice Cardenas to third base. Valenzuela then finished off the rally, with a clutch two-out knock through the right side to bring home Cardenas and put the Titans back on top 4-3.
Cope then extended the Fullerton lead in the bottom of the seventh, as he launched a massive two-run homer to left field after Prescott reached on a four-pitch walk to make it a 6-3 advantage.
That's all Fullerton would need, as the Titans went on to shut down Hawai'i the rest of the way.
The Titans will go for the series win tomorrow at 6 pm PT.
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