Long nights for Ti­tans

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Chris Dufresne chris.dufresne@la­times.com Twit­ter: @Dufres­neLATimes

The NCAA’s road to Omaha can some­times mir­ror the life of a long-haul trucker.

It en­tails overnight work, black cof­fee and sleep­ing fast.

Cal State Fuller­ton toiled un­til 1:47 a.m. Sun­day morn­ing, splashed wa­ter on its face and hopped back on that long rib­bon of base­ball high­way.

The Ti­tans had enough in the tank Sun­day night at Good­win Field to jump on Pep­per­dine in an­other tour­na­ment game des­tined for a mid­night fin­ish.

Fuller­ton held a 8-0 lead through six innings as it pushed to­ward its 21st re­gional ti­tle and a spot in next week­end’s su­per re­gional.

The fi­nal­ists on this weary week­end were sur­vivors.

Pep­per­dine crawled back af­ter Fri­day’s loss to Fuller­ton and nearly blow­ing it against Clem­son. The Ti­tans out-lasted Ari­zona State with a 14-in­ning win that ended with a train whis­tle.

The Ti­tans on Sun­day spot­ted fresh­man starter Con­nor Se­abold an early 2-0 lead, scratch­ing home a run in the sec­ond us­ing two ground ball outs and an­oth- er in the third when David Olmedo-Bar­rera sin­gled home Josh Var­gos from sec­ond.

Fuller­ton added four runs in the fourth in­ning that chased Pep­per­dine’s starter from the game.

The win­ner out of Fuller­ton ad­vances to a best-ofthree su­per re­gional matchup next week­end at Louisville, against the Car­di­nals.

Fuller­ton swept Louisville in the 2009 su­per re­gional.

It was ev­ery arm up for Pep­per­dine’s staff.

Sun­day night starter Chan­dler Blan­chard pitched against Clem­son on Satur­day and ear­lier on Sun­day, pick­ing up the win, 7-4 against Ari­zona State, with two-thirds of an in­ning in re­lief.

Fuller­ton had to re­cover quickly af­ter win­ning Satur­day night’s game against Ari­zona State, 3-2, on a bases­loaded, walk-off walk in the bot­tom of the 14th in­ning.

The game lasted five hours and 12 min­utes and ended at near sun­rise in the East.

The victory was big be­cause it put Fuller­ton at 2-0 en­ter­ing the Sun­day night game in­stead of 1-1 in the 4 p.m. start. Ari­zona State had to burn six pitch­ers in the loss, in­clud­ing its usual No. 3 starter and closer Ryan Burr, who worked 41⁄3 innings and threw 74 pitches.

The Sun Devils, not sur­pris­ingly, had lit­tle left in Sun­day’s turn-around loss to Pep­per­dine.

Fuller­ton used only two pitch­ers in 14 innings, ace Thomas Eshel­man and re­liever Tyler Peitzmeier.

Eshel­man was bril­liant through nine, strik­ing out 14 with no walks, while Peitzmeier added five score­less innings.

Some crit­i­cized Fuller­ton Coach Rick Van­der­hook for start­ing John Gavin in Game 1 in­stead of Eshel­man.

Van­der­hook, though, said Game 2 is the most im­por­tant game in the fourteam, dou­ble-elim­i­na­tion for­mat.

“I threw Eshel­man be­cause this is the game you have to win,” Van­der­hook said af­ter Satur­day’s game.

Pep­per­dine had enough punch to take out Ari­zona State but then had to turn around and play Fuller­ton.

The Ti­tans, who lost starter Justin Garza to an el­bow in­jury in early May, had to turn to Se­abold for the po­ten­tial re­gional clincher.

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