Eshelman, Titans Shut Down Shockers to Take Opener
WICHITA, Kan. – Thomas Eshelman went seven strong innings and No. 9 Cal State Fullerton pounded out 10 hits en route to a 5-1 victory over Wichita State Friday night at Eck Stadium.
Eshelman was outstanding on the mound yet again for the Titans (14-8), going seven innings and allowing the Shockers (14-10) just one unearned run on six hits. He allowed no walks for the fourth consecutive start and struck out four.
Eshelman has not allowed an earned run in 19 consecutive innings and has gone at least seven innings in all seven of his starts this season.
Seven different Titans collected at least one base hit on Friday night, led by J.D Davis' 3-for-4 night. The junior from Elk Grove, Calif. collected his fourth double of the season and drove in two of the team's five runs. Shortstop Keegan Dale was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Titans scored first for the 12th time this season in the third inning. Austin Diemer hit a one-out single to left center and then stole second, his fourth stolen base of the year. Clay Williamson grounded out to first to move Diemer over to third and Davis fisted a single to center on the first pitch to give the Titans the 1-0 lead.
They made it 2-0 in the seventh after Jake Jefferies led off the frame with a walk and then moved over on a sacrifice by Timmy Richards. He would come around to score on Keegan Dale's single up the middle to make it 2-0.
The Shockers cut the deficit in half in their half of the seventh after Tanner Kirk doubled to right center with Wes Phillips on first. Williamson then dropped the ball in right, which allowed Phillips to plate the unearned run.
But the Titans answered with a run in the eighth and then scored twice in the ninth to put the game away.
Shockers starter A.J. Ladwig nearly matched Eshelman's brilliance on the mound but drew his third loss of the year. The right-hander went seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits.
Both teams will return to the field on Saturday with Phil Bickford drawing the start for the Titans while the Shockers will counter with right-hander Cale Elam.
Notes: Matt Chapman did not start for the first time this season for the Titans… Koby Gauna recorded his third save of the season after coming into the game in the eighth inning with the Titans up by two runs… The Titans stole two bases in the third inning. Coming into the game, opponents were 11-for-19 against the Shockers in steal attempts while the Titans were 24-of-28 on steal attempts… The Titans had at least 10 hits for the ninth time this season… Titans' batters drew two walks against Ladwig, who came into the game having allowed just four free passes in 39.2 innings pitched coming into Friday's game.