The Cal State Fullerton baseball team (10-5) cruised to its third straight victory Tuesday, besting San Jose State (6-9) 6-1 at Goodwin Field.
Redshirt junior third baseman Taylor Bryant launched a two-run homer off Spartan starting pitcher Cameron Keup in the first inning, giving the Titans an early 2-0 lead.
“Trusting my work, going out there with confidence. Whether I’m 0-4 or 4-4, I’m going up there with the same body language knowing you can beat the pitcher by going out there and competing,” Bryant said.
Bryant, whose .400 batting average and 13 RBI leads the team, picked up his team-high 20th hit and also drew a walk against the Spartans.
Fullerton junior pitcher Joe Wills, a Rio Hondo College transfer, put together a stellar performance on the mound to improve his record to 2-0 on the season.
“It’s always good when your defense is making plays behind you. It’s good to come away with a win,” Wills said.
Although Fullerton coasted to an early 6-0 lead over San Jose State after just four innings, Head Coach Rick Vanderhook said his team took its foot off the gas.
“I thought we stunk. Seriously, we had a two-run homer in the first and get a leadoff base hit in the second and we end up with seven hits,” Vanderhook said. “We left guys on third with less than two strikes. We should’ve beat that team 10, 12-0.”
CSUF second baseman Dillon Persinger and designated hitter Hank LoForte combined for five of the team’s seven hits. LoForte smacked the Titans’ only double of the game.
Redshirt freshman pitcher Erik Cha went three innings without giving up an earned run and recorded his first save of the season. Regardless of his performance, he was quick to thank his defense for his success on the hill.
“No pressure. I don’t really let the external pressures of the game or anything really affect me. I really think the defense came through today. They made a lot of plays, so I think the defense helped me out today,” Cha said.
San Jose State tried ignite the offense in the second, when Spartan outfielder Chris Williams smoked a double into right field with one out, advancing shortstop Aaron Pleschner to third base.
However, Wills and the Titans quickly put a stop to the Spartans’ momentum when Bryant threw out Pleschner at home on a fielder’s choice.
The early hole proved too much to overcome for the Spartans. First baseman Shane Timmons knocked in the lone run for the Spartans in the top of the eighth inning, putting an end to Fullerton’s shutout attempt.
Up next, the No. 7 Titans will take on No. 12 University of Arizona at Goodwin Field Wednesday with first pitch at 6 p.m.
“They play bad teams, let’s be perfectly clear of that. They played Nebraska and lost, Texas Tech and lost,” Vanderhook said. “And have beat up Hartford, Eastern Kentucky and we haven’t played many of those. So we’ll see how good they are tomorrow.”