FULLERTON, Calif.--- Cal State Fullerton notched its 43rd consecutive 30-plus win season, earning a character-building 8-4 victory over UC Santa Barbara in the series opener, Friday night at Goodwin Field.
Connor Seabold (8-4) allowed four runs off of seven hits over the first three innings, but then proceeded to figure things out, pitching a no-hit shutout over his final four innings of work, while striking out 10, including at one point fanning seven of eight Gauchos and five in a row. His 10 strikeout performance marked his third double-digit punch out game of the year.
For Fullerton (30-16, 11-5 Big West), the win keeps the Titans in elite company, as only three other schools have clinched as many as 43 straight years of 30-plus wins.
The offense was about as efficient as it gets for the Titans, as Fullerton had 10 men reach base on the evening, while eight of them scored. UCSB's (20-26, 6-10 Big West) Kyle Nelson took the loss, giving up all eight runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings.
Scott Hurst extended his on-base streak to 11 games, going 2-of-3 at the dish with an RBI, walk and two runs scored. It marked his 15th multi-hit contest of the year. Chris Hudgins blasted his second home run of the year, driving in three runs.
Things looked far from promising to begin the game as UCSB's Austin Bush blasted a two-run home run to right center in the top of the first, putting the Gauchos on top 2-0.
Fullerton came back with a run in its half of the first, as Hurst doubled to right center, then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error to make it 2-1.
But UCSB struck for two more homers in the third, as Armani Smith hit a leadoff solo shot to left field, while Sam Cohen homered to right field two batters later to extend the UCSB advantage to 4-1.
However, that lead wouldn't last long, as the Titans launched a one out rally to tie things up. Prescott singled through the left side, then stole second base before Hurst punched one up the middle for an RBI single to make it a 4-2 Fullerton deficit. Then the very next batter came through in a big way, as Valenzuela blasted his first career jack over the left field fence to tie things up at 4-4.
The Titans then poured it on in the sixth, striking for four runs on three hits in the frame. Persinger led the inning off with a single off the pitcher, Bryant then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Persinger to second. Richards then came through with a base hit through the left side to score Persinger and give the Titans their first and permanent lead at 5-4.
Hunter Cullen drew a walk before Hudgins put the nail in the coffin, as he launched a three-run bomb to left field to make it 8-4.
Fullerton will aim to clinch the series win, as it'll take on UCSB Saturday at 7 pm PT. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
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