FULLERTON, Calif. – Everything was working for the Titans on Sunday, as the offense churned out eight runs on 11 hits, the defense turned a season-high five double plays to go along with zero errors and Andrew Quezada cruised in his first career complete-game shutout. The Titans rolled to an 8-0 series clinching victory over Hawai'i in the rubber match at Goodwin Field.
For Fullerton (19-19, 6-3 Big West) the win puts it in a virtual tie with UC Irvine (24-14, 8-4 Big West) for first place in the conference. Both teams have a league winning percentage of .667 and will play each other next weekend in a three-game set in Irvine.
Quezada (W, 2-4) came through when the Titans needed him most, as he tossed his first career complete game shutout, going 9.0 innings, while scattering 11 hits, surrendering zero runs and fanning nine.
Sahid Valenzuela produced one of his best games of the year, extending his hit streak to four consecutive games, as he went 3-for-5 with two RBI, two runs scored and a steal.
LoForte continued to stay on a tear, as he ran his on-base streak to 22 games and hit streak to 12 contests, producing a triple, two RBI and a run scored. The Elk Grove, California native is batting .434 (23-for-53) with 13 RBI, 11 runs scored, two doubles and three triples with a slugging percentage of .585 over his last 12 games.
Ruben Cardenas and Danel Cope also picked up multi-hit games. Cardenas went 2-of-5 with a run scored and two stolen bases, to notch his team-leading 12th multi hit game. Cope went 2-for-3 with a run scored, an RBI, a steal and two walks, claiming his 10th multi knock contest. Chris Prescott contributed nicely with two RBI. Mitchell Berryhill racked a hit, a walk, two steals and two runs scored on the day, while Jace Chamberlin recorded a hit and scored a run off the bench.
Jacob Pavletich also came through with a knock and an RBI. Seven different Titans collected a hit overall, while the offense swiped a season-high six bags on the day.
It was a perfect start for the Titans, as they put up a three-spot in the very first inning. The rally began with a one-out scorcher to center field by Valenzuela. Cardenas then followed up with a bouncer up the middle to put runners at first and second. Valenzuela and Cardenas then executed an aggressive double steal to end up for at second and third for Cope. Cope then made them pay, blasting a double all the way to the fence in left center to bring home Valenzuela and spot the Titans a 1-0 lead. Prescott then grounded out to the pitcher, but it was good enough to bring home Cardenas from third to extend the advantage to 2-0.
Pavletich then went old school, laying down a perfectly executed squeeze bunt for an RBI single to make it 3-0.
The Titans weren't done, as they posted three more on the board in the second. Berryhill led the frame off with a four-pitch walk, Borgogno then sacrificed him over to second with a bunt. Berryhill then stole third base and easily scored on a LoForte screaming triple into the right field corner to make it 4-0.
LoForte wouldn't stay on the base paths for long, as Valenzuela then came through with a knock to center to bring him in to make it 5-0. Cardenas then went up the middle for a knock, chasing UH starting pitcher Dominic DeMiero (L, 2-4), after going just 1.1 innings while giving up six earned runs on seven hits.
Despite the new pitcher, the results stayed the same for the Titans, as Cope immediately drew a walk to load the bases. Prescott produced his second sacrifice of the day, hitting a towering fly ball to left field for the sacrifice fly, scoring Valenzuela to make it 6-0.
The fun continued for the Titans in the third, as Chamberlin began the frame with a pinch hit single under the third baseman. Berryhill kept the train moving with a knock through the right side to put runners and the corners. Berryhill then stole his second bag of the game and Borgogno walked to load up the bases. LoForte then reached on a fielder's choice to force in a run to make it 7-0. Valenzuela picked up a sacrifice fly shortly after to extend the advantage to 8-0 through three.
That was more than enough, as the Titans cruised to win the game by that margin.
Fullerton heads to Westwood to take on SoCal rival No. 11 UCLA, Tuesday at 6 pm PT.
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