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Titans Battered, but Not Beaten

Injury-riddled Cal State Fullerton beats Arizona State, 5-1, in NCAA baseball super regional.

June 07, 2003|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

The Cal State Fullerton baseball team limped within a victory of its third College World Series appearance in five years.

The Titans defeated Arizona State, 5-1, in an NCAA super regional Friday before a Goodwin Field-record crowd of 3,541, scoring four runs in the second inning and riding another strong pitching performance from junior right-hander Jason Windsor.

Windsor (10-2) gave up five hits and one run before giving way to closer Chad Cordero with one out in the eighth. Cordero recorded the final five outs to earn the 34th save of his career.

A victory against the Sun Devils (53-13) today at 2 p.m. will advance the Titans (47-13) to the eight-team tournament next week in Omaha. Finding enough sound players to do the job might require some creativity, however.

Fullerton started without injured center fielder Kyle Boyer, who is second on the team in home runs, for the second consecutive game and later lost his replacement, David Fischer, to a shoulder injury.

Fischer played right field in place of starter Shane Costa, who was filling in for Boyer. But Fischer re-injured his shoulder while lining a leadoff single to left field in the fourth. He stayed in the game but was lifted after fouling off a pitch in his next at-bat. Boyer returned to center field and Costa to right, but Boyer was still feeling discomfort from a pulled muscle in his abdomen area and he left the game an inning later.

Fullerton Coach George Horton is contemplating moving second baseman Jason Corapci to the outfield for today's game.

"The good thing is we have great depth," Horton said.

For the second consecutive day, the Titans also nearly lost a player to a freak injury.

During batting practice Thursday, pitcher Wes Littleton was hit by a line drive that barely cleared a safety screen near second base and struck him in the back. In Friday's game, catcher Kurt Suzuki was hit in the hand with Justin Turner's bat. Turner had inadvertently lost his grip swinging at a pitch and Suzuki was hit while standing in the on-deck circle. Suzuki stayed in the game and later hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning that gave Fullerton a 5-1 lead.

The Titans put their leadoff batter on base in three of the first four innings against freshman starter Erik Averill. But Fullerton scored only in the second and seventh innings.

Ronnie Prettyman hit a two-run triple to highlight the second inning and Corapci, who drove in Prettyman with a single, also scored two runs.

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