After second baseman Hank LoForte predicted that Cal State Fullerton baseball would come out “on fire” following Saturday night’s loss, on Sunday the Titans did just that at home, scoring all of their runs in the first three innings on the way to a 8-0 win over Hawaii.
The 2-1 series victory puts CSUF a half game behind UC Irvine for first place in the Big West conference.
“We came out hungry because last night was a tough loss,” shortstop Sahid Valenzuela said. “We were all pumped up and were locked in for this game.”
Catcher Daniel Cope got the ball rolling for the Titans with a double that brought Valenzuela home. Following his at-bat, they recorded six more hits and scored seven more runs to put Hawaii away by the end of the third.
Fullerton finished the contest with 11 hits despite facing a left-handed pitcher, a position CSUF usually struggles to hit against. Cope (2), Valenzuela (3) and Cardenas (2) all logged multiple hits.
Valenzuela said the team came out with “a different mentality” knowing they were going up against a lefty.
“We just tried to cut the field in half and stick to our short swings,” Valenzuela said. “We tried to put together good, quality at-bats and they went our way.”
Sahid Valenzuela’s sacrifice fly to right center brings Mitchell Berryhill home and advances Hank LoForte after the Hawaii outfielders slipped following the catch pic.twitter.com/PE6sGcZ5qF
— Jared Eprem (@byJaredEprem) April 22, 2018
Titans Head Coach Rick Vanderhook gave the team an ultimatum prior to the game, saying they have “more than struggled” against left-handers.
“I told them today ‘If you see a lefty, you either get your ass kicked or you do something about it.’ And today, they actually did something about it,” Vanderhook said.
The Titans pitching staff allowed 11 hits in each of the two previous games against Hawaii. Although Andrew Quezada gave up 11 on Sunday, he pitched a shutout in his second complete game of the season.
Quezada said seeing how Hawaii attacked the pitchers in the last two games helped him choose his pitches Sunday.
“My change-up was working today so I continued to use it consistently. Having the fastball to back it up also helped,” Quezada said.
CSUF’s defense also turned five doubles plays on Sunday. Quezada said the strong offensive and defensive play behind him helped alleviate pressure on the mound.
“It was nice for sure, but like I said, as a pitcher, it’s a 0-0 ballgame. I need to continue to execute pitches regardless of the score,” Quezada said.
The Titans will hit the road Tuesday to take on UCLA for the second time this season at 6:00 p.m.