Mary Breen contributed to this article. Photos by David Cohen.
Cal State Fullerton 6, Arizona State 1
Thomas Eshelman followed suit and dominated on the mound for Cal State Fullerton as the Titans (51-8) punched their ticket to the Super Regionals with a 6-1 victory over Arizona State Sunday evening at Goodwin Field.
Eshelman just did what Grahamm Wiest and Justin Garza did ahead of him on Friday and Saturday, securing a three-game sweep of the Fullerton (CA) Regional. The Titans advance to the Sweet 16 of college baseball, the Super Regionals. They will host UCLA next weekend beginning Friday at 4 p.m. with games scheduled Saturday at 7 p.m. and, if necessary, Sunday at 7 p.m. as well.
With the generous assistance of five Arizona State walks and a timely hit by star centerfielder Michael Lorenzen, the Titans jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Fullerton added another two runs in the second inning on an RBI single by J.D. Davis and a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Lorenzen.
That was more than enough for Eshelman. The freshman sensation improved to 12-2 on the season, allowing only one run on six hits in eight innings. On the weekend, Fullerton’s pitching staff allowed only 13 hits and two runs in three games. Of course, the nation’s stingiest pitching staff didn’t issue a single walk the entire weekend.
The Sun Devils’ sole run came in the fourth inning when Max Rossiter reached third with a triple when Lorenzen couldn’t make a diving catch on Rossiter’s sinking line drive. Trever Allen followed with an RBI single to left field, keeping Arizona State (37-22-1) from being shutout by Fullerton two days in a row.
Next weekend, the Titans, the No. 5 overall seed, will welcome UCLA in a rematch of the 2010 Super Regionals, which was won by the Bruins when Fullerton couldn’t get the final out to seal the series in Game 2. Tyler Rahmatulla hit a two-run homer and UCLA won in the 10th inning. The Bruins took the rubber match Sunday to punch their ticket to Omaha.
Check out the 14-shot photo gallery of Saturday’s late night action from Game 6 of the Fullerton Regional taken by David Cohen of BHE Photos:
Arizona State 10, Columbia 5
Arizona State fell behind early to a scrappy Columbia squad, but the Sun Devils (37-21-1) staved off elimination for a game, scoring 10 runs on five hits, including nine runs in the third and fourth innings on the way to a 10-5 win Sunday afternoon at Goodwin Field.
Joey Falcone, the 27-year-old multiple-tour Iraqi and Afghanistan veteran, doubled home two runs to put Columbia (28-21) ahead 2-1 in the first inning, but things quickly fell apart for the Lions in the third inning.
Starter Stefan Olson loaded the bases without allowing a hit, walking a pair and hitting another. Michael Benjamin doubled home two runs. James McDonald followed with a two-run single. Two batters later Nate Causey bombed a two-run homer against reliever Adam Cline.
The Sun Devils added three more runs the following inning, again aided by two walks and a hit batter.
Columbia battled back with two runs in the fifth inning to make it 10-5. Reliever Zack Tax held ASU hitless for five innings and the Lions outhit the Sun Devils 12-5. However, Columbia couldn’t come up with another big hit in the sixth or seventh innings when it got a pair of runners on each inning.
The heart of Columbia’s lineup (Alex Black, Falcone, Nick Ferraresi and Aaron Silbar) combined for nine hits with each batter recording multiple hits. Black and Ferraresi were named to the All-Regional Team.
Check out the 12-shot photo gallery of Sunday afternoon’s action from Game 5 of the Fullerton Regional, taken by David Cohen of BHE Photos:
Fullerton All-Regional Team
C — Mitch Garver (New Mexico)
1B — Alex Black (Columbia)
2B — Jake Jefferies (Cal State Fullerton)
SS — Jared Holley (New Mexico)
3B — Matt Chapman (Cal State Fullerton)
OF — Kasey Coffman (Arizona State)
OF — Michael Lorenzen (Cal State Fullerton)
OF — Nick Ferraresi (Columbia)
DH — J.D. Davis (Cal State Fullerton)
P — Grahamm Wiest (Cal State Fullerton)
P — Justin Garza (Cal State Fullerton)
Most Outstanding Player — Justin Garza (Cal State Fullerton)