Titans' Season Ends After Super Regional Loss to UCLA

Box Score (PDF)

FULLERTON, Calif. – UCLA's Nick Vander Tuig delivered an impressive performance and the Bruins took advantage of two first-inning errors to defeat Cal State Fullerton 3-0 and advance to the College World Series, Saturday night Goodwin Field.

The Bruins move on to the College World Series for the second consecutive season and for the third time in four years, while the Titans get shut out for just the second time this season and finish their campaign with an overall record of 51-10, the most wins for a Titan team since 1995 when Fullerton finished 57-9 and won the national title.

Fullerton has now been eliminated by UCLA for the second straight time in a Super Regional, as the Titans lost in three games back in 2010 at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles. With Saturday night's loss the Titans have now missed out on the College World Series for four consecutive seasons, which is the first time Fullerton has gone more than three seasons without advancing to Omaha, breaking what was the longest such streak in Division I baseball dating back to 1975.

In front of a sold-out Goodwin Field crowd, Vander Tuig (12-4) tossed six and 1/3 innings, scattering eight hits, while striking out four. The Oakdale, Calif., native got himself in multiple jams, but found a way to get out of them. Fullerton's Thomas Eshelman (12-3) went the distance for the second time this season, after throwing eight innings,  allowing three runs, all unearned, off six hits, while issuing just one walk and striking out five.

UCLA jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage in the bottom of the first after two errors by the Cal State Fullerton defense. With two outs, Eric Filia reached on a fielding error by first baseman Carlos Lopez while, Pat Valaika hit an infield single, and Kevin Williams reached on a throwing error by Fullerton third baseman Matt Chapman, setting up bases loaded situation for first baseman Pat Gallagher who smacked a two-run single to center, scoring Filia and Valaika. Shane Zeile added one more in the inning with an RBI single to center, which scored Williams.

The Titans stranded 12 men on base and was 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The Titans threatened in the fourth inning after back-to-back singles by Michael Lorenzen and Anthony Hutting, but Vander Tuig got Chad Wallach to ground out and Jake Jeffries to go down swinging to get out of the jam. Fullerton would threaten again in the sixth and eighth inning, but were unable to score.

James Kaprielian relieved Vander Tuig in the seventh inning, issuing just a walk to Pedroza before getting Carlos Lopez to ground out and Chapman to fly out to center. The Bruins used Zack Weiss and David Berg to close out the Titans. Berg, after earning the win last night, tossed the final one 1/3 innings giving up one hit to earn the save.

Notes: Cal State Fullerton ends the season with 51 wins, its most since 1995…Cal State Fullerton's four-year drought (2010-13) of not reaching the College World Series is the longest in program history dating back to 1975…Fullerton lost two games in a row for just the second time in 2013…the Titans are 15-7 when the opponents score first…in 15 three-game series played this year, Fullerton lost its first series to UCLA, after winning the first 14…Fullerton was shut out for the second time this year, and the first time since a 2-0 loss to UC Santa Barbara on April 14…Thomas Eshelman gave up three runs in a start for just the third time in 2013, and the first time since April 26 at Hawai'i. All three runs against the Bruins were unearned…the Titans last committed at least two errors each in back-to-back games at Oral Roberts (March 17; 3) and vs. Nebraska (March 19; 5)…Eshelman's one-out walk issued to Brian Carroll in the second inning was just his third walk of the season, and the first on four balls (others 3-2 counts)…Eshelman also tossed his second complete game of the season… …the Titans are 11-4 against ranked opponents in 2013…Fullerton holds a 9-3 record against the Pac-12 in 2013…and the Titans are 2-2 in four games against UCLA in 2013…in its 11th Super Regional appearance, Fullerton failed to reach the College World Series for the fourth time…Fullerton holds a 7-6 edge over UCLA in the NCAA postseason, and in Super Regional games UCLA leads 4-3…in three Super Regional meetings, UCLA has won twice (2010, 2-1; 2013, 2-0) and the Titans were victorious in 2007 (2-0).

Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Rick Vanderhook
"We lost. Gave them some opportunities in the first innings by making a couple mistakes. Had two outs nobody on. Miss a ground ball. First and second two outs, catch a ground ball, make a bad throw and they answered. They got a couple base hits right up the middle and kinda put the pedal on us a little bit in the first. Offensively we didn't cash in on our opportunities. Our best opportunity Davis doubled and then Michael lined out to left, he hit it pretty good.
"This weekend they were about right in everything they did. They had their guys standing in the right spot. If it would have been ten feet to one side I don't think they would have caught it but that's life in the game of baseball. The Bruins were better than us this weekend and we will see them next year, either hear or the next weekend."
On Offense
"Disappointed with how we played offense because we didn't. We didn't play offense very good, we didn't have any offense. It was get a hit or get out, There was no offense in there. We tried to do a few things and it didn't work. We fell behind in the first and played catch up."
On Eshelman
"He gave up no earned runs and threw 103 pitches in eight innings. He had to face five extra hitters after that two out nobody on error. I thought he was fantastic. That for me, that was the best pitching of the whole tournament, us or them. He was more dominant than anybody for me this weekend that I saw. Not many balls hit hard. Guys got on and he was out of it. There was really no pressure spots or test spots that he had to deal with besides the first inning. "
Thomas Eshelman
On His Outing
"As far as pitching in this game. It was hard at first to settle down, especially in that first inning. I went back to what I have been doing all year and throwing strikes. Give these guys an opportunity to get in the dug out and get some runs on the board. As the game went on, I settled down.
On Season
"Season was an unbelievable season for us. Couldn't ask for anything more as a senior. Obviously wanted to go to Omaha but as a team total, it one of the best teams I've ever been a part of . I love all these guys and that's all I got."
On Senior Class Not Making It to Omaha
"Very disappointing, one of our goals we had. We took every goal one at a time whether it was the Big west, Regionals or Super Regionals. To come short with the type of team we had was pretty disappointing."
Coach Savage
"Congratulate Cal State Fullerton for a remarkable year. Whenever you win over 50 games in the west, what can you say? They have some of the best players to play in this program's history. With Pedroza, Lopez and Lorenzen, those guys will go down as great Titans, guys that have been here and set the tone for this program for many, many years. Would like to congratulate them and Rick and his staff. There gonna be at this thing for a long time. They have a great thing going here and we all know that they have a very bright future."
"In terms of the tournament and the games, I couldn't be any prouder of our program and the student athletes. We just formed; we bonded and became a team a couple weeks ago. Whenever you get to Fullerton and win two games, to beat I think the best team in the country says a lot about the character. Their disciple, their habits. you name it, we did it. I think we earned it. Whenever you come here and win this and get to Omaha, it's not an easy road. Very proud of our team and players, on to Omaha."
Nick Vander Tuig
On working out of trouble
"Mainly just try to make pitches. Try not to get too ahead of myself. Try to pitch ahead and let my defense work for me. I don't think I had too many strikeouts. Fullerton had great hitters that battled me all game. My defense got me out of some jams and I was just focusing on making pitches.
On Pitching with the lead
"Yes the three runs in the first were huge. Anytime you get a few runs in the first it's a lot easier to pitch, especially with our defense. It easy to just throw strikes and make pitches and let the defense work for you."
Pat Gallagher
On at bat with the bases-loaded
"After eric got on and we put together some quality at bats. I felt that eshelman hadn't been in that situation maybe. We just kept battling him and put the ball in play and it all worked out."