CSUF baseball came out with a 7-3 victory in game one of its series against the Grand Canyon University Lopes.
The Titans played an emotionally charged match following the death of college baseball legend Augie Garrido, and played their second highest scoring game this season to set the tone for the rest of the series.
Titans pitcher Colton Eastman played a big part in Fullerton’s win, pitching seven innings and only allowing three hits. In the 26 batters he faced, Eastman allowed no runs, and credited the Titans victory, and his performance on the mound, to Garrido.
“That was all Augie. That’s all I’m gonna say.” Eastman said.
Friday’s game was the first since the death of Garrido, and Fullerton has now adopted a new pregame routine: running to left center-field to touch Garrido’s face and Titans Head Coach Rick Vanderhook found it absolutely emotional.
“It’s not a bright time in Titan baseball right now, we’re not playing very well and Aug passed away. He was not only a mentor but a good friend,” Vanderhook said.
Despite fighting tough times, the Titans were able to overcome it, and Eastman said the win served as a turning point for the team following their toe-to-toe performance against Oregon State University.
“I think last weeks series against Oregon State was our best so far because we held our own against them,” Eastman said
The Lopes, traveling from Phoenix, Arizona, began their road trip to Southern California with a 14-inning game against another Big West opponent, UC Riverside.The Highlanders, No. 4 in the Big West, defeated GCU 9-8.
Fullerton found its way onto the scoreboard after Ruben Cardenas advanced home on a wild pitch. By the fourth inning, the Titans led 1-0.
The game went scoreless up until the bottom of the sixth inning when Titans third baseman
Brett Borgogno recorded his first collegiate hit and brought in first baseman Jake Pavletich.
Going into the seventh inning, the Titans held a 2-0 lead.
“Borgogno. I thought he had a super game. Brett has been scuffling and he got his first hit and he had a good first at-bat. He just had a good ball game,” Vanderhook said.
The Titans lit up the bottom of the seventh inning when Fullerton continued to compete despite the rainy weather.
CSUF extended its lead to 5-0 after a base hit from Cardenas brought in left fielder, Chris Prescott and a single from Hank LoForte turned into two RBI’s. Fullerton didn’t let up and extended its lead to 7-0 after a sac fly from Pavletich and a single from centerfielder Mitchell Berryhill.
The Lopes attempted to make a comeback and found their way onto the board in the eighth inning after Quin Cotton hit a single RBI and brought in teammate Preston Pavlica. GCU kept the momentum up, scoring again after Brock Burton singled through the left side, bringing in Cotton. Tyler Watt singled up the middle, brought in Ian Evans, bringing the score to 7-3.
CSUF baseball will play game two of the three-game series tomorrow, March 17th at 6 p.m. at Goodwin Field.