Okay, let me apologize to Titan fans everywhere, that was a horrible attempt to be coy with that “dressed to the nines” headline above. Please forgive me for even trying to score with that gawd-awful bad pun.
But the truth of the matter is, Cal State Fullerton blitzed past Oregon 8-2 tonight to advance their record to a school-record 9-and-0 on the year. Think of all the great Titan teams – even the 57-9 team from 1995 – nobody in those pinstripe unis has ever started a season with nine straight wins.
And yes, these haven’t come against a bunch of dead fish teams either. Bravo Tuffy, bravo. That well-dressed mark looks good on you.
WHAT I SAW AT GOODWIN FIELD.
In a rematch of foes from the Eugene Regional a year ago, homesteading Cal State Fullerton took over the game in the middle innings with a three-spot in the 5th and a four-spot in the 6th. Backed by a killer effort on the mound by freshman Thomas Eshelman, who tossed a complete game, the Titans took game one at Goodwin Field in going-away fashion.
Oregon – 0 0 0¬† 1 0 1¬† 0 0 0 -¬† 2¬† 4¬† 1
C.S.U.F – 0 0 0¬† 1 3 4¬† 0 0 x -¬† 8¬† 6¬† 0
WP: Thomas Eshelman, 3-0
LP: Jake Reed, 1-2
- Ryan Healy, 2-for-4, 2B, RBI
- Brett Thomas, 1-for-3, 2B, RBI
- Anthony Hutting, 2-for-3, Inside-the-park HR, 2RBI
- Carlos Lopez, 1-for-5, 2RBI
“We got more free bases,” Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook said after the game. “It was as simple as that.”
The Titans only had six hits on the night but they took big time advantage of culling six walks, getting plunked three times and also an error and a stolen base were thrown in for good measure.
Those free bases coach Hook was talking about are a major reason why a 1-1 tie with the Ducks soon turned into a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the 5th inning.
That’s when the Titans took over for good as UO starter Jake Reed got a little on the wild side. With the score tied, Chad Wallach scored the second run of the night for the Titans when he and Clayton Williamson were bunted over the 3rd and 2nd respectively, then advanced on a wild pitch. Then, with the score now at 2-1, lightning struck again. Reed threw another wild pitch, scoring Williamson from 3rd to put Fullerton up 3-1. And that would be a lead they would never relinquish. Leadoff man Richie Pedroza walked. And eventually – ugh! – he would come around to score on a passed ball. That made it 4-1 Titans, which is all the runs they would need due to the stellar pitching on the hill from Mr. Eshelman.
But just to make sure, an inning later, the Big Elephants scored four more runs, keyed by Anthony Hutting hitting an inside-the-park home run after slicing the ball down the right field line and hustling around the basepaths without stopping. Meanwhile, Oregon right fielder Kyle Garlick threw his hands up wanting the ground-rule double call. First base umpire Johnny Pindea would have none of it and called the hit “fair” with no obstruction.
That would get George Horton out of the dugout, but the odd thing is that coach Horton barely put up much of an argument. He must’ve known Garlick was just trying to “fake” his way into holding Hutting to a double. No dice son. Fullerton added three more runs that inning, capped by Carlos Lopez knocking in a pair of runs with a single to right, his only hit of the night.
As mentioned, Eshelman was brilliant. Though both runs he gave up were earned, the fact is he held UO to just four hits, didn’t issue a walk and then also K’d six along the way.
“He’s sneaky,” Vanderhook said. “They (Oregon) didn’t see the ball very good off of him. And he throws strikes. I mean, he really makes teams earn what they get off him. He did hit a guy, and then (Ryon) Healy hit a double, and they earned that one. But to be honest (catcher Chad) Wallach kept him in the game. He kept coming back to the dugout saying ‘He’s fine. He’s fine.’ So we let him keep going.”
His just a freshman folks.
A few more words from Fullerton’s Rick Vanderhook.
On his two freshmen starting pitchers, Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza:
“You know what, they’re freshmen by age but they go out there and pitch. And they pitch well. They are both GOOD pitchers, regardless of what year they are. They do a good job of throwing the ball in different locations and mixing some stuff up there.”
On Eshelman’s reliance on the fastball tonight:
“Eshelman threw only one curve ball tonight. And that’s usually one of his best pitches. But he wasn’t feeling it tonight. In fact, on Healy’s last ball (which ended up being a 9th inning single) I asked Deet’s (pitching coach Jason Dietrich) what he wanted to throw and he said, ‘A curve ball.’ and I said, ‘He hasn’t thrown one of those since the second inning.’ (Laughs)”
On his team taking advantage of an unusual amount of gifts from Oregon:
“We got on base in many different ways. He (Jake Reed) walked some guys, then hit some guys. We only hit one of their guys, and he came around and scored. We got a bunch of walks and free bases and we made sure to capitalize.”
Cal State Fullerton has yet to trail after the completion of an inning at any point yet this season. My guess is that streak won’t last the entire season. Just a hunch.
More images from tonight’s Oregon-Fullerton game, courtesy of the photog non-pariel Matt Brown (www.MattBrownPhoto.com)
AROUND THE COUNTRY:
The best and worst of the day in college baseball today.
The good side of things.
1- MARK APPEL, STANFORD ACE
The big 1st rounder is starting to heat up‚Ä¶ in a statement that makes me Captain Obvious. Appel threw another complete game tonight and limited Texas to three hits while striking out 14 in a 2-0 Cardinal win. He did issue one walk (Gasp! Demote him!) and didn’t throw any wild pitches or hit batsmen as Texas never really threatened in the game. Appel only had one (1) Longhorn batter reach second base when Codey McElroy doubled in the 6th and was stranded there.
2- KEVIN ZIOMEK, VANDERBILT PITCHER
Despite a steady sleet at times tonight, the Commodore ace threw his first-ever complete game and also struck out 15 Flames batters in a 9-0 clampdown. Ziomek never allowed a base-runner beyond 2nd base and retired 12 in a row at one point, along with the final 10 batters he face on the evening.
3- SOUTH CAROLINA PITCHING.
No Michael Roth? No problem. Jordan Montgomery went 8.0 innings and Tyler Webb come on to close out the 9th inning as SoCar blanked rival Clemson 6-0. The Tigers were able to get only three hits all night, including only one in the final four innings. Montgomery and Webb combined for 12Ks and gave up only two walks.
- Dartmouth’s Nick Lombardi.
In their season-opening 10-3 rout of Minnesota in the Dairy Queen Classic, the Big Green’s 7-hole hitter was scorching hot. He ended the game 3-for-5 with 4RBI coming off of two doubles and a home run. That was part of a 17-hit attack on the day. What an amazing start to the 2013 season for Lombo.
Finally getting revenge for that uber-painful 2011 Regionals ending where Cal scored four runs in the bottom of the 9th to win the Houston Regional 9-8, Dillon Newman went 7.0 innings with 8Ks, and was joined by Trae Davis and Miles Landry to combine on a 3-hitter as the Bears cannibalized the Bears 9-0.
- Marco Gonzales, Gonzaga pitcher.
The Great Marco went the distance, giving up eight hits with nine strikeouts, but held No. 2 Arkansas scoreless in a much-needed 3-0 win for the Zags, who are now 5-4.
- Jacob Lindgren, Mississippi State pitcher.
Somebody check St. Joseph’s batters for bite marks. Those Bulldog pitchers have some teeth. Tonight, Lindgren went 7.0 innings, giving up just a single hit and K’ing 13 to move to 2-0 on the year. MSU beat the Owls 10-0 with the help of John Marc Shelly’s 2.0 innings of hitless relief.
- Kentucky’s A.J. Reed.¬†
The big gun went 6.0 innings on the mound, allowing just two runs, and also went 4-for-5 at the dish, accounting for 5RBI along the way. In other words, the only player UK really needed in tonight’s 21-2 bombing of Akron was the big lefty.
- Ricky Knapp, Florida Gulf Coast pitcher
Knapp went 8.0 innings, striking out seven in a 6-2 win over Manhattan. Through three starts this year, Knapp has given up only two multi-base hits and has a 0.78ERA with 16 strikeouts.
- Trevor Williams, Arizona State pitcher.
For the 7th time in his 18 career starts, Williams went the distance in an 8-1 win over Pacific. He also tossed a career high nine punchouts and retired 20 of 21 batters at one point.
- Notre Dame.
The Irish opened up their own Irish Classic with a pair of games, 9-4 over UMass and then a 3-2 win over Tennessee. Ryan Bull’s 12th inning RBI single provided the winning run in jog-off fashion. Ace reliever Dan Slania picked up first win of the season vs. the Vols by going the final 3.1 innings, retiring all 10 of the batters he faced.
- Jacksonville pitcher Chris Anderson.
Throwing a complete game 7-hitter to beat TCU 5-3 just wasn’t enough. Nope, this dude had to go and strike out 13 Horned Frog batters and overcome the 4-error performance of the defense behind him too. That’s what you call a leaning post, and the Dolphins needed him tonight.
- The comeback kids: St. Peter’s and Northern Kentucky.
The Peacocks posted up a 4-spot in their final at-bat of the night to rally past defending Ivy League Champion Cornell, 4-3. CF Matt Mancini paced STP with a 4-for-4 day. The game-winning run ended up coming from a two-out double steal. The Norsemen took the rallying thing a step further, scoring all six of their runs in the 9th inning to beat Texas State 6-5. The game-winning run for NKU scored on a Bobcat error.
- Samford hurler C.K. Irby.
The Bulldogs got a bulldog performance from their starting pitcher as CKI went the distance, giving up just three hits to the Purdue Boilermakers and striking out eight in an 8-0 rout.
- Liberty’s Nick Paxton.
Hit for the cycle in the Flames’ 6-4 win over Army, going single, home run, triple and double in succession as part of a 4-for-4 day with 2RBI. The last time an LU player pulled the feat was in 2006 by 3B Chad Miller in an 8-0 win over Longwood.
The bad side of things.
1- THE BIG WEST.
While Fullerton was posting an impressive win over Oregon, their conference mates were having a crap time of things. UC Irvine got shutout by Portland, 2-0, Long Beach State lost 6-5 to visiting Seattle and Cal Poly had its unbeaten streak snapped in a 2-1 loss at Washington. On top of that, Hawaii lost for the second straight day in the Rebel Classic to Bradley 6-5. Overall, the Big West went just 3-7 on the day.
Gah! The Big 12 didn’t do much better than the Big West, going just 3-5 themselves. But most egregiously, the Frog troubles continue. Tonight they whiffed 13 times in a 5-3 loss at Jacksonville, pulling their record down to 1-7 on the season. Talk about a sophomore slump – team-wide too.
You know how you hear that a team loses a game, then sulks over the loss so much they lose the next game by going through the motions? Well this might be one of those cases where a team “loses twice” after a first loss. Arkansas dropped an emotionally-draining 3-2 game to Arizona State last night, then took it on the chin tonight as well, dropping a 3-0 decision to Gonzaga. The trip to the desert is turning into a nightmare for the Hogs.
- The Clemson offense.¬†
Remember how in the weekend preview I said that Clemson’s offense was a little suspect in weekends vs. William & Mary and Wright State? Well, I was right. Tonight against the hated Gamecoks, the Tigers pulled off just three hits in a 6-0 shutout loss.
- LSU and Oregon State
The two national powers needed some divine providence to beat two schools from Providence tonight. Tigers relied on that old Alex Box Magic to subdue Brown 4-3 in jog-off fashion. Just a reminder here, but this was Brown’s first game of the season. Out in the Pacific Northwest, the Beavers had to go to an extra frame to finally beat Bryant, 2-1.¬† And no, that’s not Bear Bryant we’re talking about.
- South Alabama.
The Jaguars finally lost a game‚Ä¶ and how. The College of Charleston would score five runs in two separate innings, helping them paste USA by a 12-2 score. Cougar speedster Gunnar Heidt hit his third triple of the season, clearing a bases-loaded situation. Pitcher Matt Pegler gave up just two hits in his 7.0 innings of work.
Just when Mike Rooney and I give these guys a bunch of props on our baldcast, they go and lay an egg. The Panthers lost at The Citadel 8-0 to fall to 5-2. Starting pitcher Ethan Mildren gave up 11 hits and three walks in 5.0 innings of work. Aye-yaye-yaye! The Bulldogs improve to 5-4.