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Cal State Fullerton Moves On

Titans win regional by beating Pepperdine, 15-1 and 16-3, advance to a super-regional.

June 07, 2004|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

To get through the loser's bracket of an NCAA baseball regional, Cal State Fullerton Coach George Horton said his team would need someone to do something special.

Three Titan pitchers took him up on that and kept the team's championship dreams alive. Led by Jason Windsor's remarkable pitching and a blistering attack, Fullerton defeated Pepperdine twice Sunday, clinching the regional title with a 16-3 victory at Goodwin Field.

Fullerton (40-21) outscored its opponents, 36-4, in the last three games to advance to its fourth super-regional in six years. The Titans will play host to Tulane in a best-of-three series starting Saturday. The Green Wave defeated Washington, 12-3, to win a regional at Oxford, Miss.

With no room for error after a 7-6 loss to the Waves that sent it to the losers' bracket, Fullerton went to its ace after the senior threw 121 pitches in a five-hitter that beat Minnesota, 7-1, Friday.

Windsor threw six scoreless innings and retired 16 of the last 17 hitters he faced. He threw 64 pitches, 44 for strikes, and was selected the most outstanding player of the regional.

"I get chills just thinking about it," Horton said of Windsor's performance. "No, I've never seen anybody do it better than that."

Said Windsor: "My pitch count was 60 pitches, and I was barely over it. My biceps was a little sore, but that was the only thing. The trainers did a good job."

Fourth-seeded Pepperdine (30-32) shocked Arizona State and the Titans on consecutive days, but it didn't have the pitching depth to match up against Fullerton.

"We tried to pull a rabbit out of our hat and we got bit by a cobra instead," Coach Steve Rodriguez said.

Kurt Suzuki led a 24-hit attack with four hits and four runs batted in, including his 15th home run. Left fielder Danny Dorn had a single, two doubles and a homer, and shortstop Blake Davis had three hits and four RBIs.

"We appreciate the choppers and the bleeders we get, but all along we knew our offense was sound," first baseman P.J. Pilittere said. "We talk about pounding it and pounding it. If we're up by eight, we want to be up by 16."

In the first game, the Titans battered three pitchers for 17 hits in a 15-1 victory to stave off elimination.

Pilittere had three hits and a career-high five RBIs. Suzuki, after a slow start in the regional, homered and drove in three more.

But the Titans' key to regional survival came from career-best performances by junior left-hander Scott Sarver and senior right-hander Mike Martinez.

Sarver, a transfer from Fullerton College, gave up six hits and one run, courtesy of a homer by David Uribes. He induced 12 groundouts in his first start this season and first appearance since May 11.

Sarver's outing came after Martinez's first career shutout, against Arizona State on Saturday night.

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