OMAHA, Neb. – Cal State Fullerton was eliminated by Florida State in Game 5 of the NCAA College World Series, 6-4, ending the Titans run at a fifth national championship Monday afternoon at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
Fullerton, making its 18th appearance in Omaha, finished the year at 39-24, unable to capture its first CWS victory since 2006. Florida State, improves to 46-22 and lives to see another day. They will face the loser of Monday night's match-up between top-seeded Oregon State and LSU on Wednesday in another elimination game.
After giving the Titans three runs and the lead in the bottom of the sixth, the Seminoles responded with three runs of their own in the top of the seventh, handing reliever Chase Haney (3-2) his third win of the year. Haney scooped up the win by retiring the two batters he faced, a fly ball to end the sixth and a strikeout to start the seventh. Drew Carton notched his 7th save of the year with a four-out save. The Titans threatened in the bottom of the ninth by putting runners on first and second, but Carlton struck out pinch-hitter Hank LoForte looking to end it.
Jack Pabich (1-3) took the loss for the Titans. The third of five Titan arms on the afternoon, Pabich, allowed a leadoff single to Taylor Walls followed by a double to Dylan Busby kicking off the top of the seventh. The two Seminoles would eventually come around to score the tying and game-winning runs on three consecutive walks by the Titans' next reliever, Blake Workman. The third and final run came across on a bases-loaded infield single by Matt Henderson off Brett Conine.
The Titan bats had just been rustled awake in the bottom of the sixth inning producing three runs to give them a 4-3 lead. Dillon Persinger made it a one-run game as he doubled home Hurst who singled to lead off the frame. Persinger promptly got a free ride home as Timmy Richards connected for his second home run of the College World Series, a two runs shot that made it 4-3 Titans. Richards is the first Titan since David Bacani in 2001 to have hit more than one CWS homer.
The pitch served up to Richards was the last of the day for FSU starter Drew Parrish. He went 5.2 innings allowing 4 runs on 4 hits with 3 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Florida State struck first in the game, plating an unearned run off Titan starter John Gavin in the top of the second. A one-out walk turned into a run after a back pick attempt by catcher Chris Hudgins sailed into right filed, allowing Drew Mendoza to coast into second base. After a sacrifice bunt by Henderson that moved Mendoza to third, Steven Wells drove him home by lining a 3-2 pitch into left field for a sac-fly.
Fullerton bounced back in the bottom of the third and tied the game thanks to another sacrifice fly, this one from Scott Hurst. The Titans loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a sacrifice-turned-bunt single by Chris Prescott. Hurst's then lined a ball to left, deep enough to score Hunter Cullen from third.
Florida State regained the lead and got to the Fullerton bullpen for the first time in the top of the fourth. A double and a single around a walk loaded the bases for Wells. The Seminole right fielder lined a ball right at Hurst in centerfield who came up throwing. The one-hop throw got to Hudgins, but Cal Raleigh just got his hand to the plate before the tag. The play was reviewed by the umpiring crew at the request of Titan skipper Rick Vanderhook, but the original call of safe was the correct one.
Fullerton went to its bullpen, calling upon Gavin Velasquez to get them out of the jam. Velasquez got the Titans out of it with a pair of strikeouts.
Gavin finished the afternoon going just 3.1 innings allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits, but he did walk four batters. It was his shortest outing of the year since a 3-inning loss at Cal Poly on Apr. 22.
Mendoza made it 3-1 in the top of the 6th, taking Velazquez deep for his 9th home run of the year. Titan right fielder Cullen had a bead on it, but ran out of room with the ball just out of reach in front of the Seminole bullpen in right field.