STANFORD, Calif. – Tanner Bibee was nothing short of heroic in his first ever postseason start and Ruben Cardenas launched a clutch three-run bomb in the fifth inning to propel the Titans the Stanford Regional Championship, Sunday evening at Sunken Diamond.
Fullerton (35-23) claims the Stanford Regional Championship for the second straight year, as it improves to a perfect 6-0 in its last six postseason games vs. in Palo Alto, including 4-0 against the Cardinal. The Titans now advance to their 14th Super Regional in program history, which is second most all-time behind Florida State (16).
The Titans have advanced to the Super Regional round in three of the past four seasons and four times under head coach Rick Vanderhook. Fullerton will take on the Washington Huskies in the Super Regionals.
Bibee (W, 3-5) went a stellar 6.2 innings, while surrendering just two runs on five scattered hits and a career-high 11 strikeouts. Eight of the 11 punch outs were looking.
Blake Workman closed out the contest, pitching 2.1 shutout innings, while surrendering just two hits and fanning four.
Hank LoForte extended his on base streak to 42 consecutive games, his hit streak to 19 straight contests, while collecting at least one knock in 30 of his last 31 ballgames. Ruben Cardenas launched his second homer of the season, going 1-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Titans scored first. To no one's surprise, LoForte got things started, as he was plunked by a pitch to begin the game, making it the ninth consecutive game he's reached on his first at bat of the contest. Berryhill then walked to put runners at first and second. Cardenas then did his job, grounding out to shortstop to move the runners to second and third. Cope then lifted a deep fly ball to center, deep enough to score LoForte from third base on the sacrifice fly to put the Titans up 1-0.
Fullerton produced another run in the fourth without even recording a hit. Cope walked to lead off the frame and then advanced to second on a balk. Valenzuela grounded to shortstop to move Cope to third and this time it was Pavletich coming through with the big sacrifice fly to right field to bring in Cope and extend the Titan advantage to 2-0.
The Titans then opened up the game in the bottom of the fifth, as Borgono got things started with a one out walk, followed by another walk by LoForte. Then with two outs, Cardenas came through with the second clutch home run in as many days, launching a three-run rocket over the left field fence to extend the Fullerton advantage to 5-0.
Stanford got itself back in the ballgame in the top of the seventh, as it struck for two runs on three hits to make it just a 5-2 deficit.
However, that's as close as the Cardinal would get as Fullerton held on to win 5-2.
STANFORD REGIONAL ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
C Shea Langeliers (Baylor)
1B Andrew Dauschbach (Stanford)
2B Hank LoForte (Cal State Fullerton)
3B Brett Borgogno (Cal State Fullerton)
SS Nico Hoerner (Stanford)
OF JD Orr (Wright State)
OF Ruben Cardenas (Cal State Fullerton)
OF Alec Wilson (Stanford)
DH Jace Chamberlain (Cal State Fullerton)
P Colton Eastman (Cal State Fullerton)
P Kris Bubic (Stanford)
- With the win, the Titans will make their 14th Super Regional appearance which is second-most all-time in the country behind Florida State's 16 appearances. It's Fullerton's third Supers appearance in the last four years.
- This will also be the fourth Super Regional appearance in Head Coach Rick Vanderhook's seven seasons.
- Cal State Fullerton's postseason record improves to 160-86 all-time and 124-54 in Regional games.
- Sixth straight postseason win at Stanford.
- Now 50-62 all-time against Stanford. The Titans are also 5-2 against the Cardinal in the NCAA Regionals and 8-11 overall in postseason games.
- This is the second consecutive season that the Titans swept the Stanford Regional going 3-0 to advance to the Supers.
- For the second straight game, Fullerton plated a run in the bottom half of the first making them 16-5 when scoring in the first inning. They also improve to 25-5 when scoring the first run of the ballgame and this is the fourth consecutive game they've done that.
- Cope's sac fly drove in the lone run of the ballgame making it the sixth time, the sophomore has driven in the game-winning run.
- Hank LoForte was hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance allowing him to reach base safely in his 42nd consecutive game. He singled in his second plate appearance extending his hitting streak to 19 games with knocks in 30 of his last 31.
- LoForte's first inning HBP marks the ninth straight game he has extended his on-base streak in his first at-bat. He's also accomplished this feat in 12 of the last 13 games.
- Daniel Cope's first inning sac fly was his sixth of the season giving him the team-lead in that category.
- Ruben Cardenas launched his fourth home run of the year with a three-run blast in the fifth inning. Two of those four homers have come at Sunken Diamond.
- Tanner Bibee, in his postseason debut, had the best start of his career setting a career-high with 11 strikeouts (eight looking) in 6.2 innings pitched. He allowed just two earned runs on five hits.
- Blake Workman came out of the bullpen in relief of Bibee and worked 2.1 scoreless innings. That gives the Fullerton bullpen a total of 7.1 scoreless innings in the Stanford Regional.
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