Cal State Fullerton baseball starts the season undefeated

In Sports
(Katie Albertson / Daily Titan)

In the first game of the 2017 season, Cal State Fullerton baseball was able to outlast Stanford in a 1-0 pitching duel that was ultimately won by an RBI single from Dillon Persinger in the sixth inning at Goodwin Field.

“That’s a big deal. The first one’s the hardest one to get,” said Head Coach Rick Vanderhook. “That was a super pitchers duel tonight. It’s what we’re known for.”

The battle on the mound lasted throughout most of the game. Right-handed ace Connor Seabold threw seven innings, giving up five hits and zero runs while striking out five Cardinal batters.

“Seabold was as good as I’ve ever seen him,” Vanderhook said. “The fastball was good, I mean, he pitched with the fastball. I would say of the 94 (pitches) 80 to 84 were fastballs, and that’s what he does.”

In the other dugout, Stanford left-hander Kris Bubic had an equally impressive outing, until the sixth inning came about. Leading up to the the sixth, Bubic still had no-hit bid going.

Hank LoForte’s walk-up song is “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics, but his bat will be giving Stanford nightmares after he crushed a pitch down the left field line for a double to end Bubic’s hopes of a no-hitter. One batter later Persinger was able to drive him in from second base with a RBI single to left center field to give the Titans what would eventually be the game-winning run.

The Titans were not in the clear just yet. Up just one run going into the eighth inning and Seabold having thrown four pitches over his pitch count, Vanderhook went to one of his starters, Colton Eastman, to get the final six outs to close the game for Fullerton.

Eastman gave up one hit and struck out five batters (including the final batter of the night) in two innings for the Titans while successfully recording a save in the victory. The second-team All-American was allowed to step on the mound due to the opener being moved from Friday night to Thursday, with inclement weather all but certain to cancel the game Friday.

Vanderhook said he and Assistant Coach Blake Hawksworth decided prior to the Thursday night’s opener that if the game was close near the end, they would put Eastman in the game with the possibility of the remaining games getting rained-out, leaving Eastman unable to pitch this weekend.

“Plans don’t always work out, but that worked out pretty good,” Vanderhook said.

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