STANFORD, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton and Stanford took part in an instant classic that ended on a Jace Chamberlin pinch hit monster walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Titans to a 2-1 upset victory over top-seeded Stanford, late Saturday night at Sunken Diamond.
As if the moment couldn't be any more dramatic, the homer was the first of Chamberlin's career and it came with two outs and a 2-0 count in the bottom of the ninth with no one on base to send Fullerton to the Stanford Regional Championship for the second consecutive year. The mammoth blast marked the Titans' first walk off hit and homer since Timmy Richards hit a walk off homer on March 18th, 2016 vs. Maryland.
The Titans (34-23) are now set up to play the winner of tomorrow's Stanford and Baylor elimination game in tomorrow's championship game at 6 pm PT.
Tommy Wilson and Brett Conine were absolutely superb on the mound. Wilson earned the start and tossed 6.0 innings of one run baseball, while fanning six. Brett Conine was heroic in relief, as he tossed the final three shutdown innings and fanned five while surrounding just three hits.
Kris Bubic was fantastic for Stanford (45-11), tossing 7.0 innings, surrendering three hits and an earned run while fanning 10.
Hank LoForte extended his on base streak to 41 games, his hit streak to 18 games, while he's now collected at least one hit in 29 of the last 30 games. He's also recorded a hit in his first at bat of the game in each of his last eight contests.
For the third straight contest, Fullerton struck first.
For the eighth consecutive game, LoForte reached on his first at bat of the game, as he shot a rocket single up the middle to begin the Titan half of the first. Berryhill then followed with a single to left field to put runners at first and second. Cardenas reached on a fielder's choice to move LoForte to third and then Cope drove him in with a sacrifice fly to put Fullerton in front 1-0.
Stanford finally responded in the sixth, as Alec Wilson led off with a double to right center. Tim Tawa followed suit two batters later with a triple to right center to tie the game at 1-1, but that's all the Cardinal would get in the frame.
The Titans nearly answered the next half inning, as Berryhill led off with a walk and then eventually advanced to second on a Cope strikeout. Valenzuela came up with a clutch two out single to left field, but a perfect throw by Stanford left fielder Kyle Stowers was just able to nab Berryhill at home plate to end the inning.
The Titans came through with some clutch defense of their own in the eighth, as Valenzuela, LoForte and Pavletich teamed up to turn an incredibly clutch 4-6-3 inning ending double play with runners at the corners. Stanford would have taken the lead if the double play wasn't turned.
Fullerton will try and clinch its second straight trip to the Super Regional with a win tomorrow at 6 pm PT.
- Cal State Fullerton's postseason record improves to 159-86 all-time and 123-54 in Regional games.
- Fifth straight postseason win at Stanford.
- Now 49-62 all-time against Stanford ending a three-game losing streak against the Cardinal. The Titans are also 4-2 against the Cardinal in the NCAA Regionals and 7-11 overall in postseason games.
- Fullerton scored the first run of the ballgame in the bottom half of the first inning making them 24-5 this season when scoring first.
- It marks just the second walkoff victory for the Titans this season with the first coming in the 15th inning against Houston.
- It's also the first Titan walkoff hit (and home run) since 2016.
- Hank LoForte once again singled to lead off the game extending his hitting streak to 18 games with hits in 29 of his last 30. His on base streak moves up to 41 consecutive games reaching safely.
- LoForte's first inning single marks the eighth straight game he has extended his respective streaks in his first at-bat. He's also accomplished this feat in 11 of the last 12 games.
- Following a hit by pitch to Stanford's leadoff hitter, Tommy Wilson retired the next 10 Cardinal hitters before surrendering his first hit of the ballgame.
- Wilson finished off his postseason debut going six innings allowing just one run on three hits while striking out six.
- Brett Conine came out of the bullpen in the seventh inning and threw three scoreless innings extending his postseason scoreless streak to nine straight innings (four appearances). For his career, he's thrown 13 postseason innings allowing three runs (2.08 ERA) while striking out 14 and walking just two.
- Freshman Jace Chamberlin came through big with his first career home run to walk it off for the Titans in the bottom of the ninth.
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