May 28, 2011
Northridge, Calif. - Tyler Pill allowed just five hits and struck out six over seven innings of work to lift No. 9 Cal State Fullerton to a 6-0 win over Cal State Northridge, clinching a share of the Big West Conference title and the automatic berth to the NCAA postseason. Moments later, the Titans won the title outright when Long Beach State beat second-place UC Irvine, 8-6.
With the win, the Titans (39-15, 18-5) earn their 25th conference championship overall and ninth in the last 13 years. The Titans will also participate in the postseason for the 20th consecutive season, and the 33rd time in 37 seasons at the Div. I level.
With the Saturday afternoon loss, Cal State Northridge drops to 23-32, 6-17.
Pill (6-1) allowed just one hit over his final 3.1 innings and faced the minimum over that span, thanks to a double play in the sixth. Only two runners reached third base -- in the first inning on a wild pitch and in the second when Carlos Lopez threw a runner out at the plate. Pill and reliever Ryan Ackland combined for the Titans' fifth shutout of the season. Ackland pitched the final two innings allowing just one hit to TS Reed with an out in the eighth.
Carlos Gonzalez (1-4) took the loss in a six-hit, five-inning stint. The righty allowed three runs (two earned) in his final outing of the season.
Nick Ramirez doubled home Richy Pedroza for the game's first run in the first. Pedroza singled with one out, went to second when Tyler Pill walked and scored when Ramirez's ball got inside first base and down the line. Michael Lorenzen followed with a run-scoring groundout to make it 2-0.
In the second, Greg Velazquez led off the inning with a line-drive single to right and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Zach Tanida drew a walk and he and Velazquez pulled off a double steal to move into scoring position. Velazquez scored on the next pitch when catcher Marty Bowen was charged with a passed ball to make is 3-0 in favor of the Titans. Tanida was cut down at the plate when Ivory Thomas' grounded to short and then Thomas was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.
Fullerton sent eight men to the plate and extended to a 6-0 lead in the seventh off reliever Harley Holt. Pedroza reached on a error by the second baseman Reed with one out to get things started. After a groundout, the Matadors intentionally walked Ramirez and Lorenzen legged out an infield single to short to load the bases. Carlos Lopez picked up his second hit of the day with a chopper up the middle that brought home Pedroza and Ramirez. Velazquez followed with his second single, a line drive over the shortstop's head, to drive home Lorenzen. Thanks to the error, all three of the runs were unearned for Holt.
Lopez, Velazquez and Lorenzen combined for six of the Titans' 10 hits. The first seven hitters of the Titans' lineup on Saturday recorded hits. The only two starters to go hitless were Keegan Dale and Zach Tanida.
The Titans and Matadors will square off one final time on Sunday in the regular season finale. It will be the final game of the year for Northridge. Fullerton will find out whether or not it will host an NCAA Regional at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. The 64-team field will be announced on Monday morning on ESPN beginning at 9:30 a.m.