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Titans Remember How to Let Good Times Roll

Miller gives up one run in eight innings and Fullerton jumps ahead early in 8-1 victory over Notre Dame that serves as regional clincher.

June 02, 2003|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

After resembling titans in name only during two close-call victories, Cal State Fullerton pieced together a commanding performance Sunday that left no doubt who was the colossus of the NCAA baseball regional at Fullerton.

Freshman Dustin Miller limited Notre Dame to one run in eight innings and the Titan offense shelved its moving-the-runner-over approach in favor of an outright onslaught, resulting in an 8-1 victory that advanced Fullerton to a super regional.

Miller (8-2), who struck out 10 and walked none for his first victory since April 12, appeared to gain strength as his outing progressed, striking out the side in the eighth inning and leaving to an extended ovation from the crowd of 2,862.

"My changeup was my best pitch today," said Miller, one of five Titans selected to the all-regional team. "I threw it for a strike 90% of the time. I could blow the fastball by them after keeping them off-balance with my changeup and curve."

Justin Turner and Jason Corapci each had two hits and two runs batted, and Fullerton put the game away with two runs in the first, two in the second and three in the third. The Titans scored two runs off four errors.

With Fullerton cruising early, the focus shifted to the site of the best-of-three super regional against Arizona State, which begins Friday or Saturday. The NCAA considers several factors in determining hosts for the next round, most prominently seeding and income potential.

While the Titans (46-13) are seeded seventh nationally and the Sun Devils (53-12) are unseeded, Arizona State plays at Tempe Diablo Stadium, which seats about 10,000. Fullerton's Goodwin Field has a capacity of 3,500, but the Titans outdrew the Sun Devils by an average of 156 people over their three weekend games.

The NCAA won't announce sites of the eight super regionals until today, but the Arizona State Web site had a story late Sunday saying the Sun Devils would play at Goodwin Field, where the Titans are 29-2 this season.

"I would be a little shocked if we didn't get a chance to host," Coach George Horton said.

No matter where the Titans play, Horton can only hope his starters continue to pitch as they did during the regional. Jason Windsor, Ryan Schreppel and Miller combined to give up only three runs over 20 innings for a 1.35 earned-run average.

Although Fullerton's middle relievers put the Titans in late-inning binds Friday against San Diego and Saturday against Notre Dame, closer Chad Cordero bailed them out with a combined three scoreless innings. Though he did not pitch Sunday, Cordero was selected most outstanding player of the regional after earning a save and a victory.

Reliever Sean Martin pitched a scoreless ninth Sunday, and afterward Notre Dame Coach Paul Mainieri let the superlatives fly.

"I have never coached against a team that performs and executes the way they do," said Mainieri, in his ninth season. "Their staff is phenomenal. Everyone they threw out there the whole weekend was outstanding.... I believe they have a good chance of winning it all."

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