TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Cal State Fullerton showed both sides of its still-inconsistent pitching in Saturday's doubleheader against No. 1-ranked Florida State.
Starter Matt Wise and reliever Brandon Duckworth gave Fullerton its best performance of the season in the first game, and the 10th-ranked Titans won, 2-1, in 11 innings.
But Florida State came back strong in the second game with an 8-5 victory, boosted by a two-run homer and run-scoring double by J.D. Drew, who struck out four times in the first game.
Fullerton (7-3) and Florida State (5-2), two of college baseball's most successful programs of the last decade, play the final game of the three-game series today at Dick Howser Stadium.
Considering both games, Titan Coach George Horton said he was more concerned with his team's hitting than the lack of consistency on the mound, even though Fullerton had eight hits to Florida State's five in the first game and one more than the Seminoles with 12 in the second.
"Offensively, we did a poor job," Horton said. "We didn't hit well with two strikes, and our swinging was sloppy. We didn't adjust that well to their pitching, although it was good."
Scott Seal's line-drive single off the right field wall was the big hit in Fullerton's victory. Aaron Rowand had singled, advanced on an infield out and took third on a passed ball before Seal drove in what held up as the winning run in the top of the 11th.
Up until then, the game's only two runs came on homers.
Florida State starter Randy Choate, whose 15 victories last season led the nation, gave up a leadoff home run to Nakia Hill in the second, and Wise was nailed for a homer by Jeremy Morris, the first batter in the seventh.
But Wise gave up only five hits in 7 2/3 innings, and Duckworth held the Seminoles hitless in the final 3 1/3 innings to pick up his second victory of the season. The Titans managed only three hits off Choate in 7 1/3, but got four off loser Randy Niles (0-1).
Wise had nine strikeouts, three against Drew, without a walk. Duckworth walked two and struck out four.
Florida State Coach Mike Martin was especially impressed with Wise. "He's the best arm we've faced so far," Martin said. "Wise was gorgeous, the way he threw that cut fastball today."
Wise, a senior right-hander who struggled last season, also was pleased. "I felt I really pitched aggressively," he said. "My first-pitch strikes were the key for me. I felt relaxed and confident. That's the best fastball I've had since I've been at Fullerton."
Martin said he couldn't remember Drew, rated as the nation's top pro prospect, striking out four times in a game.
Freshman Michael Garner made his first college start in the second game and quickly saw a different hitter.
Drew's two-run homer in the first stung Garner, who was charged with five runs on seven hits and a walk. Brian Tokarse came on in the third after Garner gave up three consecutive hits to begin the inning. Tokarse pitched three innings, giving up four hits and three runs. Fullerton's third pitcher, Tim Baron, held the Seminoles without a hit in three innings.
"I didn't think Garner and Tokarse were that bad," Horton said. "Garner wasn't as sharp as he normally is, but their hitters made him pay for every mistake. The pitching was great in the first game, but it really wasn't that bad in the second game. I was more disappointed in our intensity offensively in the second game."
Horton said his team might have been distracted by the first-game victory.
"It didn't seem like we were ready to compete in the first three or four innings of the second game," Horton said. "It's tough sometimes in a doubleheader like that, but we warned our players of that between games. We don't play many doubleheaders, only occasionally in rain situations like this or in the tournaments. Most doubleheaders in pro baseball end up being split, but I wanted both of them today."
Horton was disappointed the Titans left 10 runners on base in the first game and nine in the second.
Horton did take note of Hill's four hits in five at-bats in the first game and two more hits in the second game. "Hill did a great job offensively, and played well at a new position at the same time," Horton said.
C.J. Ankrum had three hits in the second game.
Hill moved to shortstop from second because Jerome Alviso is sidelined with a strained knee. Another regular, outfielder Steve Chatham, also is out with a sprained wrist.
Scott Hild (1-1) is the probable starter today for Fullerton against Scott Proctor (2-0).