Fourth-seeded Columbia rallied for five runs in the eighth inning to erase a 5-0 deficit and send the game into extra innings where the Lions defeated New Mexico 6-5 on a Nick Crucet RBI single in the 13th inning.
New Mexico starter Sam Wolff cruised through seven innings, but departed with one out in the eighth inning after a double on his 120th pitch. Columbia was happy to see the Lobos’ bullpen as the Lions jumped all over Hobie McClain and Gabe Aguilar.
Alex Black hit a two-run homer. Crucet had a two-run single and Mike Fischer tied the game with an RBI single to centerfield.
After the Lions took the lead on Crucet’s 13th inning RBI single, Black entered to close out the game. New Mexico moved a leadoff walk around to third base, but Black struck out one of the top hitters in the country, DJ Peterson, to end the game and earn his fifth save.
“I was pumped,” Black said. “All that was running through my mind was the scene from Major League 2 with Jack Parkman and Charlie Sheen. Charlie Sheen struck out Jack to win the pennant and that’s really all that was going through my mind.”
Joey Donino was stellar in relief for Columbia. He pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out eight to improve to 7-0 on the year.
Jared Holley reached base five times. He had three of New Mexico’s 14 hits and drove in two runs. Black led the Lions with three hits and two RBI while Crucet had two hits and three RBI.
Columbia advances to play Arizona State at 4 p.m. in another elimination game.
Check out the 16-shot photo gallery of Saturday evening’s action from Game 3 of the Fullerton Regional taken by David Cohen of BHE Photos:
Cal State Fullerton 1, Arizona State 0
Justin Garza set a Cal State Fullerton record with his 12th win on the season as the Titans stayed unbeaten on Saturdays this season with a nail-biting 1-0 freshman pitcher’s duel win against Arizona State.
The action at Goodwin Field didn’t get started until 9:45 p.m. due to the earlier extra-inning affair, but once it did, there was plenty of excitement as two of the top freshman pitchers in the country toed the rubber. But it was Garza that outlasted Sun Devils southpaw Ryan Kellogg and shined a bit brighter.
Garza allowed only four hits in 8 1/3 innings before giving way to centerfielder/closer Michael Lorenzen following a single in the ninth inning. Lorenzen struck out both batters he faced to collect his 19th save and 35th as a Titan — becoming the school’s all-time saves leader.
Fullerton (50-8) threatened on multiple occasions throughout the game, putting a runner in scoring position in five of the first six innings. But Kellogg continued to wriggle away unscathed thanks to some big pitches and a little defensive help, including Trevor Allen gunning down Chad Wallach at home plate in the second inning.
The Titans finally got to Kellogg in the seventh inning. Jake Jefferies led off with a double off the wall and came around to score on a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly from Richy Pedroza. Arizona State (36-21-1) put the tying run on third base in the next half inning, but Garza recorded his ninth strikeout, getting one of ASU’s top hitters, Michael Benjamin, to swing and miss on the third of three straight cutters to keep the shutout intact.
“He threw the best game that I’ve ever played defense behind,” Lorenzen said. “I thought he was going to go all the way so it was a lot of pressure on me to come in and finish it strong, but I told him I would take care of it and that there was no way he was leaving this game with a no decision.”
Jefferies finished with a pair of hits to go with the game-winning run. Greg Velazquez and Wallach both reached base multiple times.
Arizona State will play Columbia Sunday at 4 p.m. with the winner to face off with Cal State Fullerton in an 8 p.m. nightcap.
Check out the 11-shot photo gallery of Saturday’s late night action from Game 4 of the Fullerton Regional taken by David Cohen of BHE Photos: