Ti­tans push su­per se­ries to the max

Gavin goes the dis­tance and the of­fense breaks out to tie best-of-three duel.

Los Angeles Times - - BASEBALL - CS FULLER­TON 12 LONG BEACH STATE 0 By Cur­tis Zupke sports@la­times.com

For as in­tim­i­dat­ing a fig­ure as he casts at 6 feet 6 and 250 pounds, John Gavin is nu­anced beyond that ex­te­rior.

“I will be the first one to tell you, I’m an emo­tional guy,” Gavin said.

The Cal State Fuller­ton left-han­der had to curb that side of his per­son­al­ity through­out a 12-0 win over Long Beach State on Sat­ur­day in Game 2 of an NCAA base­ball su­per re­gional.

That re­serve trans­lated to Gavin’s first ca­reer com­plete game as Fuller­ton tied the best-of-three se­ries to set up the de­cid­ing game Sun­day at Blair Field.

Gavin threw a seven hit­ter with two walks and Fuller­ton put the game away with a seven-run third in­ning. He came back out for the ninth in­ning with his pitch count at 109 and re­tired the Dirt­bags in or­der. Fans chanted his name. “Goose­bumps,” Gavin said. “That was some­thing I will never for­get the rest of my life. They did it when I went out [ear­lier] and it got me re­ally ner­vous and I think I threw one to the back­stop. I got re­ally scared there be­cause I knew [Fuller­ton coach Rick Van­der­hook] was watch­ing and I thought he was go­ing to pull me right af­ter that. So I knew I had to get my emo­tions un­der con­trol.”

That will be im­por­tant for both sides in what seems like a nat­u­ral end­ing to the chippy South­land ri­valry: A win­ner­take-all game for a berth in the Col­lege World Se­ries.

“It’s tee it up, toe to toe,” Van­der­hook said. “The Big West against the Big West. It’s go­ing to be a blast.”

Short­stop Timmy Richards and Chris Hud­gins led a state­ment at­tack. Hud­gins was three for five with a tworun ground-rule dou­ble and a two-run home run in the eighth to cap the scor­ing.

Richards, from Long Beach Wil­son High, was three for four with two RBIs and is four for seven in the se­ries.

“It’s kind of full cir­cle for me,” Richards said. “I grew up watch­ing the Dirt­bags all the time, and now to be able to play them in a su­per re­gional, for Cal State Fuller­ton, as their ri­val, it’s pretty awe­some.”

Right-han­der Dave Smith was done in by the third in­ning af­ter giv­ing up nine runs and 11 hits. He had not given up any runs in 13 post­sea­son in­nings and had not given up a run in 132⁄3 in­nings against Fuller­ton this sea­son.

Coach Troy Buck­ley said it was ask­ing too much of Smith, who pitched Mon­day. Smith hit the first two bat­ters of the game.

“He’s out of gas at this par­tic­u­lar point, and that’s on me for ask­ing him of that,” Buck­ley said.

Fuller­ton had eight hits in the third in­ning. With no re­liev­ers warmed up, Smith was stuck on the mound and gave up the sec­ond hits of the in­ning to Richards and Hank LoForte to make it 9-0.

“The bot­tom line is we had one bul­let in the gun, and the gun was go­ing to be used, and that bul­let was go­ing to get shot,” Buck­ley said of leav­ing in Smith.

Fuller­ton is ex­pected to start Colton East­man for Game 3. East­man sat out nearly three months be­cause of an el­bow in­jury but beat Stan­ford last week.

“We were lucky to get him back at the right time,” Van­der­hook said. “He’s sea­soned enough to do this.”

Long Beach State will likely start John Sheaks or Tyler Rad­cliffe. The Dirt­bags can draw on hav­ing played three elim­i­na­tion games in the first round.

“We’re bat­tle tested,” Laine Huff­man said.

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