FULLERTON, Calif. -– No. 18 Cal State Fullerton used timely hitting to take advantage of multiple mistakes from No. 6 Oregon as the Titans opened the series with an 8-2 victory on Friday night at Goodwin Field.
Cal State Fullerton (9-0) is now off to the program’s best start in Division I history, dating back to 1975.
Freshman Thomas Eshelman maintained his dominance for the Titans, improving to 3-0 after tossing the Titans’ first complete game of 2013. Eshelman held the Ducks to two runs on four hits without issuing a walk and striking out six.
The Titans pounced on Oregon’s (7-2) mistakes, taking advantage in a three-run fifth inning, and putting the game out of reach with a four-run spot in the sixth.
Sophomore right-hander Jake Reed (1-2) took the loss for the Ducks, allowing eight runs (four earned) on five hits while issuing four walks in five and 2/3 innings.
With the game tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Titans added three runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 4-1 lead that was too much for Oregon to overcome. Fullerton produced only one hit in the inning, but took advantage of numerous Oregon miscues.
Chad Wallach singled up the middle and Reed issued a walk to Clay Williamson to put the first two batters of the frame on base. Keegan Dale then sacrificed the runners over, before Wallach scored on a wild pitch. Richy Pedroza was then walked and moved to second on a second wild pitch that also allowed Williamson to score. Pedroza moved to third on a fly out before scoring unearned on a passed ball as the Titans led 4-1.
In the sixth, CSF added four runs, started by Anthony Hutting’s inside the park home run. The second home run of the year for the left fielder was driven into the deep right field corner as the ball hung up in the visiting bullpen allowing Hutting to make his way all the way around the diamond.
The bottom of the sixth continued as Wallach and Williamson reached by way of a hit batter and single, respectively. A two-out error allowed Wallach to score from third and the inning to continue. Pitching in relief, Darrell Hunter walked Pedroza before Carlos Lopez drove in Williamson and Keegan Dale with a single to right center, giving the Titans an 8-2 lead.
The scoring started when a free base in the top of the fourth was problematic for the Titans as Eshelman plunked Brett Thomas with two outs. The next batter made Eshelman pay for the mistake, as Ryon Healy drove in Thomas with a RBI double to the wall in right center, giving UO a 1-0 edge.
It was the first earned run Eshelman gave up in his first 15 and 2/3 innings in a Fullerton uniform.
For the third time this season, Cal State Fullerton responded when trailing, and evened the score in the bottom of the frame. Pedroza led off the bottom of the fourth with a single, but Reed recorded the next two outs before walking J.D. Davis. Hutting then placed a RBI single through the right side, allowing Pedroza to score and evening the game 1-1.
Oregon added a run in the top of the sixth as J.J. Altobelli doubled down the left field line, moved to third on a sacrifice before scoring on Thomas’ RBI double to left center to make the score 4-2 in favor of Fullerton.
Hutting finished the day 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.