LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Titans were eager to show who has the upper hand in the longtime rivalry as they defeated Long Beach State 8-3 Friday night at Blair Field.
Fullerton struck early and often, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning to give the Titans a comfortable lead to start the game. Hank LoForte got the game started in typical LoForte fashion, drawing a six pitch walk to extend his on-base streak to 64 consecutive games which leads the nation for the longest active streak.
Freshman Zach Lew followed up LoForte's walk with a single to the pitcher which LoForte advanced to third on because of a throwing error from Long Beach State pitcher, Zak Baayoun. Sahid Valenzuela then singled through the right side to put the Titans on the board.
With his run in the first inning, LoForte has a team-high 17 runs on the season which is tied for sixth in the Big West Conference. The senior set a career-high Friday night has he drew three walks in the game.
The Titans offense wasn't done there as Isaiah Garcia then doubled down the left-field line to drive in Lew and give Fullerton the 2-0 lead in the first inning. In just 11 starts this season, Garcia has 10 RBI, tying him for third on the team. Kameron Guangorena then added to Fullerton's first inning lead has he drove in the third run on an infield groundout four his fourth RBI of the year.
Once again, Tanner Bibee was impressive on the mound for Fullerton, going seven innings while giving up eight hits and two runs with eight strikeouts. It is Bibee's fourth quality start of the season while earning his third win of the season to move to 3-3 on the year.
In the second inning the Titans did much of the same, scoring three runs to extend their lead to six runs after just two innings. However, the Titans didn't record a single hit in the second as they drew five consecutive walks followed by a sacrifice fly from Guangorena. Guangorena's two RBI game is a career-high, driving in two runs in a single game.
Mitchell Berryhill recorded a base hit in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to 12 consecutive games while also adding to his on-base streak to 28 straight games going back to last season.
The Titans really made the Long Beach State pitchers work Friday night, earning 10 walks which is the most since March 2, 2018 when the Titans recorded 10 on the road against Tulane.
Fullerton returns to Blair Field Saturday night looking to take control of the series in game two of the three game series with first pitch scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT.
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