Fullerton decided to go with it’s Friday starter, Brian Wilson. UCLA decided to save ace Tim Murphy to possibly come in late in the game. The decision paid off for Fullerton, and UCLA will have to wait til next season to try and make it to Omaha.
Freshman pitcher Rob Rasmussen was coasting with the help of his defense, including Tim Murphy throwing out the speedy Christian Colon at third after a Brent Dean overthrow on a stolen base attempt. The good times didn’t last though as the Titans were able to put together a two out rally with a couple of 1st and 3rd singles by Christian Colon and Erik Komatsu. After a mound visit Rasmussen was able to get out of the inning on a Jared Clark popup to right.
Fullerton got two more on the board in the bottom of the inning when Dustin Garneau snuck one past Jermaine Curtis down the left field line, extending the lead to 5-2. Brady Dolan singled to start the 5th for the Bruins and advanced to third on two Wilson wild pitches. Dave Serrano made the pitching change, bringing in Jason Dovel. Brian Wilson left to a raucous applause after pitching 13 innings in this regional, 12 of them consecutive shoutout innings. Dovel gave up a 2-2 single to Brent Dean, scoring Dolan. The Bruins looked to strike after getting Dean into scoring position on a Jermaine Curtis sacrifice bunt, but Dovel sent Dunlap and Carrithers down on strikes. This was the second straight inning UCLA left a man stranded on second.
The Titans started another two out rally in the bottom of the 5th with help from relief pitcher Brendan Lafferty, who came in after a Brian Wilson single. Lafferty walked three consecutive batters to bring Wilson home, then got Joe Scott to groundout.
After 1-2-3 innings for both sides in the 6th, Day 2 starter Jeff Kaplan was brought in to try and hold off the Bruins. Brady Dolan was then hit by a Kaplan pitch, but was called back to the box by home plate umpire Mitch Miele for not attempting to move out of the way of the pitch. Kaplan struck out Dolan and Brent Dean before giving up a run scoring single to Curtis, who advanced to second on the throw home. Kaplan got out of the inning after Blair Dunlap grounded out to first.
Brandon Crawford doubled with no one on and two outs in the top of the 8th, but they couldn’t get him home as Christian Colon made a heck of a play off throwing off his back foot to get Babineau at first. Fullerton looked to provide insurance in the bottom of the 8th clinging to a 1 run lead. Josh Fellhauer sent a two out pitch to the furthest part of the ballpark in center, but Tim Murphy got under it to send the Bruins up to try and keep their season going.
Jeff Kaplan stayed into game to try and help Cal State Fullerton earn the right to host next week’s super regional. After Tim Murphy led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a Eddie Murray sacrifice bunt, Mickey Weisser pinch hit for catcher Brent Dean. Weisser grounded out to second, advancing Murphy and putting him 90 feet away from tying the game. All-Tournament Regional 3rd baseman Jermaine Curtis came up for the Bruins to try and tie the game, hitting a line shot to the right center gap, but it was not to be for the Bruins. Titan CF Josh Fellhauer seemed to be in the right position all night, and recorded the final out.
The Titans completed an improbable comeback, relying on heavily on inexperienced pitching. Regional MVP Brian Wilson pitched 12 consecutive shutout innings in two starts, having not started a game since he played for Loyola Marymount University last season. Cory Arbiso, who was also named to the Fullerton Regional All-Tournament Team, saved the bullpen arms during the Virginia elimination game by throwing a complete game.
Fullerton hosts Stanford for the first game of their super regional on Friday at 10:30 PM ET on ESPN2.
Fullerton Regional All-Tournament Team
DH – Brandon Crawford (UCLA)
OF – Blair Dunlap (UCLA)
OF – John Barr (Virginia)
OF – Erik Komatsu (CSF)
3B – Jermaine Curtis (UCLA)
SS – Christian Colon (CSF)
2B – Alden Carrithers (UCLA)
1B – Casey Haerther (UCLA)
C – Dustin Garneau (CSF)
P – Cory Arbiso (CSF)
P – Brian Wilson (CSF)
Most Outstanding Player: Brian Wilson (CSF)