FULLERTON, Calif. – No. 9 Cal State Fullerton got stellar pitching once again and junior Clay Williamson's RBI-single in the seventh proved to be the difference as the Titans edged UNLV 2-1 Tuesday night at Goodwin Field.
Williamson accounted for nearly half of the offense as he went 2-for-3 for the Titans (11-7) with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Austin Diemer also went 2-for-3 on the night with an RBI and Tanner Pinkston was 1-for-2 with a walk.
The Titans pitching staff was stellar again as they thoroughly shut down a Rebels (13-6) offense that came into Tuesday's game batting .290 as a team and had three starters hitting .300 or better.
Koby Gauna made his first start of the season and was excellent, allowing just one run on three hits as he walked one and struck out four. Willie Kuhl got his first win of the season as he pitched two and 2/3 innings of masterful relief, shutting out the Rebels and allowing just two hits while striking out six, a new season high. J.D. Davis came in to close it out in the ninth, striking out the only two batters he faced on seven pitches to earn his second save in as many outings.
The Rebels took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to a defensive mistake by the Titans. Matt McCallister led off the inning with a single and then Joey Armstrong attempted to sacrifice him to second, but J.D. Davis could not handle Koby Gauna's throw to first base and everyone was safe with McCallister advancing to third. He would score on a sacrifice fly by Justin Jones one batter later.
The Titans tied the game in the fifth inning after Clay Williamson laced a one-out double to the gap in left-center. Austin Diemer then singled to left and Williamson was waved around third. Left fielder Joey Swanner's throw beat Williamson to the plate, but the Titan right-fielder's slide knocked the ball out of catcher Erik Vanmeetren's glove to score the run and lock the game at 1-1.
In the seventh inning, Williamson put the Titans ahead with a single up the middle off Rebels' starter Kenny Oakley. Tanner Pinkston, who led off the frame with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice, came around to score what would prove to be the game-winning run.
Kuhl then struck out the side in the eighth and the first batter in the ninth before Davis slammed the door shut with his pair of strikeouts to end the game.
The Titans will return to action on Friday as they welcome Long Beach State to Goodwin Field for a three-game non-conference series. It will be the first of two series between the teams this season and first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday night.
Notes: Davis went 0-for-4 on the night, putting an end to his streak of reaching base safely at 12 games… Kuhl and Davis combined to strike out seven of the 12 batters they faced in the final three and 1/3 innings… Gauna and Davis, who both pitched on Tuesday, have combined to collect all four saves for the Titans this season... The Titans collected their first victory on a Tuesday this season after dropping their previous two midweek outings.