FULLERTON, Calif. – One night after blowing a three-run lead in and losing the longest game in school history, No. 3 Cal State Fullerton came out firing on all cylinders Saturday night as they scored a lopsided 11-0 victory over San Francisco at Goodwin Field.
Titans (3-3) sophomore right-hander Justin Garza shutout the Dons (3-3) for seven innings to pick up his first win of the season. He allowed just five hits and one walk on his way to a career-high 12 strikeouts while junior third baseman Matt Chapman collected four more hits including his first home run of the season to lead the Titans offense.
Once again, the Titans got on the board first against the Dons as they built a 4-0 lead through three innings.
Tanner Pinkston got the Titans started in the bottom of the first with a double to right center. Chapman then collected his fourth RBI of the series as he smacked a ball up the middle that went off pitcher Christian Cecilio's glove and through the hole at short to bring in Pinkston from second and put the Titans up 1-0.
Two innings later, the Titans added some more cushion to their lead. Chapman got on with a one-out single and then J.D. Davis laced a base hit to center. The ball ate up Dons center fielder Bradley Zimmer and each runner advanced into scoring position. Catcher Jared Deacon then hit a high chopper to the mound that stayed up just long enough for Chapman to beat the throw home. Greg Velazquez then followed with a double to center that scored Davis and Clay Williamson followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Deacon and the Titans had a 4-0 lead.
That was more than enough for Garza, who was superb on the mound in his second start of the season. His only bump in the road came in the fourth inning when the Dons got the first two men into scoring position after Zimmer singled to center and then Zack Turner followed with a double to right center. But Garza buckled down and got Derek Atkinson to hit it back to the box and the Titans erased Zimmer after a brief rundown. Bob Cruikshank walked to load the bases but Garza fanned Brendan Hendriks and got catcher Justin McCullough to ground out to the mound to end the threat.
The Dons would get just one more runner to third base and three into scoring position for the rest of the game.
Chapman finished the game 4-for-5 with three singles and a round-tripper in the eighth while Clay Williamson was 2-for-4 with four RBIs, three of them coming on a bases loaded double in the eighth. Pinkston was 2-for-5 as well for the Titans.
Both teams will get together for the rubber match on Sunday as Grahamm Wiest takes the hill for the Titans while Matt Narahara goes for the Dons in the finale.
Notes: Garza's career high in strikeouts prior to Saturday night was nine, which occurred three times; the last coming at the Fullerton Regional vs. Arizona State on June 1, 2013… Pinkston's double in the first inning was his first extra-base hit of the year… Miles Chambers came in and pitched a perfect ninth for the Titans. He has retired the first seven batters he has faced in his two relief appearances… Titans pitchers have allowed the Dons to score just one run in the last 22 innings… Keegan Dale saw his first action of 2014 on Saturday night and got a base hit in his first at-bat, a single… The Titans scored five runs in the eighth, marking their highest scoring inning of the season… The Titans pitching staff has combined to strikeout 31 opposing batters in the first two games of the series.