LONG BEACH, Calif. --- Cal State Fullerton exploded for seven runs on eight hits in the third inning, while John Gavin tossed his first career complete-game shutout, en route to a convincing 12-0 victory over Long Beach State in game two of the Long Beach Super Regional, Saturday afternoon at Blair Field.
Hunter Cullen also came through with two hits, an RBI and two runs scored, while Hank LoForte recorded two hits, a run and an RBI. Eight of nine Titan starters recorded at least one hit on the day, while five notched multi-hit games.
The Titans wasted no time taking control of this one, striking for two runs in the opening frame. Scott Hurst and Sahid Valenzuela were both plunked by the first two pitches of the game to reach base. Dillon Persinger laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third base. The Long Beach, Calif. native then came through with the first run of the game for Fullerton, as Richards singled to right center to score Hurst to make it 1-0.
Taylor Bryant then scorched a line drive to centerfield, for what should have been the third out, but the ball was dropped, leading to another run to put Fullerton up 2-0.
Fullerton then blew things open in the third inning, as 12 Titans came to the plate in the frame, scoring seven runs on eight hits. Richards highlighted the inning, producing two hits and an RBI in the frame.
With the Titans already up 9-0, Bryant produced another run for Fullerton in the fifth, as launched a sacrifice fly to right with one out make it a 10-0 advantage.
Hudgins then put the icing on the cake in the eighth, launching a two-run shot to dead center to make it 12-0 in the eighth.
The Titans and 49ers will go at it in the series finale, tomorrow at noon, with the winner advancing to the College World Series.
NOTES: The 12-0 victory marks the largest margin of victory over Long Beach State since defeating the 49ers 15-3 on May 24, 2009….Today's contest also marks Fullerton's largest margin of victory and most runs scored in a Super Regional game since June 5, 2009 in a 12-0 win over Louisville…The Titans have dropped the series opener only five times throughout the season and have come back to win the series four of those times…Fullerton is now 29-9 on the season when scoring first in the contest and is 4-0 in the postseason after striking first on the board.
Head Coach Rick Vanderhook
On the game two victory
That was a good game for us. I thought we swung the bats well. We came out with a plan to be aggressive on him (Dave Smith) because he throws a whole lot of strikes, and just tried put good swings on it and hit some balls where they weren't."
On if Fullerton has an advantage tomorrow
No, no advantage. It's tee it up, toe-to-toe. The Big West against the Big West, it's going to be a blast.
Junior Right-Handed Pitcher John Gavin
On his preparation for the game
It was just like I would do any other game. I think the biggest problem is some people get wrapped up and make this game more than it actually is so I just went about it like any other game. I knew Long Beach was an aggressive team and just tried to throw strikes and it worked.
On pitching his first career complete-game
It meant a lot, that was my first complete game in three years, for it to be on this stage against Long Beach, against our rival. Also just for us to play one more game with each other, I think that gets lost in all of this. We get to play another game with each other. These guys are brothers to me and I'm just happy we get to play at least nine more innings together.
On Fullerton fans chanting his name in the ninth
I had goosebumps. That was something I'll never forget for the rest of my life. They did it when I went out and then it got me really nervous and I threw one to the backstop and I got really scared because I knew coach Vanderhook was watching and I thought he was going to pull me after that. I knew I had to get my emotions under control but the fans were great the entire game and "Superfan" (Keith Franklin) is renowned in baseball for being one of the best fans in the game and it's going to be a huge help to have him tomorrow.
On his emotions
I guess it's just embracing the moment. Going into this game there's going to be a lot of emotions, there's going to be fans bickering back and forth like you heard throughout the game today, I just kind of learned to control my emotions. I'll be the first one to tell you I'm an emotional guy but I think today when I was in the game I think I was doing a good job of keeping my emotions in check. I would throw a good fist bump in there afterwards because it was a big spot and a big game but I think in this game whoever controlled their emotions the best is going to win the game."
On getting the best of Dave Smith
"We knew coming into this game he was the ERA leader so we knew we just had to stick to our approach and when we got guys on we were really going to make sure we capitalized on it this time. I think the past six or seven games we played them we've left a lot guys on base but today we got it done... I thought he pitched great, we just took advantage of the pitches that he did leave up."
On the big third inning
"Once it gets rolling, it gets rolling. I led off that inning and then after that it was just hit after hit after hit, it got contagious and it kept going."
On game three
"It doesn't really get much better than this. Winning today just sets us up for tomorrow. The score doesn't really matter, they're still going to come out and play hard. Like Hooky (Coach Vanderhook) said, it's going to be a blast, this is what it's all about tomorrow."
On how special it is to play Long Beach State after growing up in the area
"It's kind of full circle for me, this is the field I grew up in high school playing on. I grew up watching the Dirtbags all the time and now to be able to play them in a Super Regional for Cal State Fullerton as their rival, it's pretty awesome. Now game three it's even bigger."
On game three
"It's just another game, just another guy, against the rivals."
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