RIVERSIDE, Calif. – No. 4 Cal State Fullerton clubbed three home runs in the first two innings to clinch the series with a 12-0 shutout of UC Riverside on Saturday night at The Plex.
The Titans (41-7, 17-3) have now won seven straight, and clinched their 12th series victory of the year. Coupled with a Cal State Northridge loss, Fullerton now has a three-game lead over the Matadors in the Big West Conference standings.
For the second time in the series, Cal State Fullerton batted around as the Titans took a 6-0 lead, on five hits and two walks issued by the UCR (10-28, 7-13) in the first inning. With a 1-0 lead and two runners on, Chad Wallach took UCR starter Ben Doucette's 2-2 offering and drove it over the left field wall to record his second home run of the year and give the Titans a 4-0 advantage. Austin Diemer then laced a two-run double to right field to complete the scoring in the inning.
Fullerton's offensive output continued in the second as the Titans added five more runs to build an 11-0 advantage. Matt Chapman started the rally for Fullerton with a two-out solo home run. The frame continued as J.D. Davis found a hole through the right side and Michael Lorenzen chopped a double down the left field line, setting up Wallach's two-run single up the middle, followed by Greg Velazquez's two-run homer to left center.
The Titans scored 11 runs in the first two innings, and were held scoreless for the next six before adding a solo run in the ninth. Fullerton's three home runs in a single game were a season high.
In the win, Fullerton starter Justin Garza (11-0) shut out the Highlanders in five innings of work, holding UCR to three hits while retiring 12 straight batters at one point and striking out three. For Garza, his 11th victory ties Tyler Pill's freshman record of 11 wins set in 2009.
Wallach drove in career-high five runs, finishing the night with a 2-for-3 effort. Chapman batted 2-for-4 at the plate with a RBI and two runs scored, while Davis ended his night 2-for-3 with two runs scored a run driven in.
Doucette (2-6) was charged with the loss after allowing 11 runs on 10 hits and two walks in two innings of work.
In relief, UCR right-hander Angelo Lingos shut out the Titans in six innings of work, scattering five hits while striking out three.
The Titans will attempt the sweep at UC Riverside at 1 pm on Sunday.
Notes: Fullerton's 41-7 record is the Titans best start to the season in Division I history (1975)…the Titans have won seven straight…Cal State Fullerton clinched its 12th weekend series of the year, and has won 13 consecutive weekend series since dropping two of three to the Highlanders at Goodwin Field (May 18-20, 2012)…Fullerton is 29-3 when scoring first…the Titans have scored at least four runs in an inning on 22 occasions and at least five runs in an inning 10 times in 2013…the Titans totaled double-digit runs (12) for the ninth time and double-digit hits (17) for the 21st time…Fullerton has totaled 34 hits in back-to-back games, one short of the season record set March 29 (10) and March 30 (25) vs. Pacific…Fullerton has outscored opponents 54-8 in the 1st inning this year…Fullerton shut out its 10th opponent of the year…the Titans have now hit 29 home runs in 2013…Fullerton's three home runs in a single game were a season high...Chad Wallach's three-run homer in the first was his second of the year…Matt Chapman's solo home run in the second was his third of the year…Greg Velazquez's two-run homer in the second was his third of the year… Justin Garza's 11th victory ties Tyler Pill's freshman record of 11 wins set in 2009…The Titans remain undefeated at 13-0 when Garza starts…Chad Wallach's five RBIs were a new career high.