FULLERTON, Calif. --- While it didn't officially count for the record books, No. 7 Cal State Fullerton still got that winning swagger back, holding on for 4-3 victory over the NC Dinos, Tuesday night at Goodwin Field.
For the Titans, the win marks the second one-run victory in the brief all-time series vs. the Dinos. Fullerton now leads the all-time series 2-1 earning an 8-7 victory in 2015 and dropping a 10-1 decision last year.
Twenty-two different Titans saw action in this one, including junior Joe Wills making his unofficial Fullerton debut on the mound. The Covina, Calif native set the tone early for the Titans, tossing 3.0 shutout innings to begin the game, while surrendering just three hits and striking out one.
Offensively, sophomore outfielder Ruben Cardenas stole the show, going 3-of-4 at the plate with two RBI, including launching a towering home run over the left field fence in the fourth, which proved to be the difference in the game.
Senior Hunter Cullen also put together a multi-hit performance, going 2-of-4 at the dish with a double.
The Titans never trailed in this one and scored early. Senior Timmy Richards came through with a clutch two-out double to the right field to score Dillon Persinger, who led off the game with a single. Cardenas then stroked a single through the left side to bring home Richards and give Fullerton a 2-0 advantage after the first.
Cardenas drove in his second run of the game the old fashioned way with his solo shot in the fourth, while JT McLellan doubled in Sahid Valenzuela two batters later after Valenzuela worked a one-out walk. The Titans took a 4-0 advantage into the fifth frame and wouldn't look back from there.
The Dinos made things interesting in the 9th inning, scratching across a run to make it a 4-3 ballgame, but with runners at the corners with two outs, Persinger snagged a sinking liner to preserve the Titan victory.
Fullerton will resume its regular season on Wednesday, as it welcomes San Diego State to Goodwin Field at 5 pm PT to close out the five-game homestand.
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