HONOLULU – Cal State Fullerton (16-17, 4-3) scored in three consecutive innings late in the game leading to a 5-2 victory over Hawai'i (14-20, 4-6) Thursday night at Les Murakami Stadium.
Fullerton is now 10-3 this season when they score first and are 8-1 when leading after the first inning.
Tanner Bibee was on point all night for Fullerton, as he pitched 8.2 innings while allowing only two runs and striking out seven batters. Bibee picked up the win in his 10th start of the season to move to 5-5 on year. Michael Weisberg got the finally out of the game and picked up his fifth save of the season.
The Titans took an early lead in the first inning as Hank LoForte was able to take advantage of an error by Hawai'i. LoForte started off the inning with a walk which was then followed by a single to left field by Mitchell Berryhill before Isaiah Garcia reached on the fielding error that drove in LoForte.
With his single in the first inning, Berryhill increased his impressive on-base streak to 42 consecutive games dating back to the 2018 season.
Jacob Pavletich added to the Titans lead in the top of the third with a single to left field to drive in Garcia from second base to put Fullerton up 2-0. Hawai'i answered in the bottom of the fourth inning to bring the game within one run.
The Titans, however, didn't panic after the game tightened up as they came back to score one run in the sixth and seventh inning to extended their lead to 4-1. Fullerton scored in the sixth on back-to-back two out singles from Brett Borgogno and LoForte, leading to Jairus Richards crossing the plate.
Sahid Valenzuela led off the seventh inning with a single before Garcia reached on a fielder's choice to advance him to second base. Daniel Cope then singled to left field giving Valenzuela enough room to score of second.
Valenzuela broke the game open even more in the eighth inning as he crushed a home run to right field to put the Titans up 5-1. His solo shot in the eighth inning was his first of the season and just the second home run he has hit in his career as a Titan. The junior's last home run was May 12, 2017 against UC Santa Barbara.
Fullerton returns to action Friday night for the second game of the three-game series against Hawai'i. First pitch is scheduled for 9:35 p.m. PT.