Originally published on www.csfbaseball.com
The Utes earned the right to play a rematch with CSUF after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs, 9-7, in the afternoon's elimination game. The double-elimination format, with Utah playing their fourth game in three days, left their pitching cupboard bare, so they selected "crafty" lefthander Steven Streich, making his first career start.
The designated visiting team, Fullerton, put Streich on the ropes immediately. Christian Colon led off with a walk and Gary Brown bounced a single through the left side of the infield. Third batter Josh Fellhauer surprised the Utes with a perfect drag bunt past the pitcher to load the bases with nobody out. Jared Clark then smashed a groundball that 3B Nick Kuroczko fielded within a few feet of the bag, stepped on third for the force-out and threw to second base. The second-baseman took the throw for the force-out that made it a run-scoring double-play, but he did not attempt a throw to first for an around-the-horn triple play.
Hope sprung brightly for the Utes when Streich posted a zero in the top of the Fullerton second inning - equalling the number of goose-eggs the Utah pitching staff managed Friday night against the Titans. But Pill was more than equal to the task of maintaining his team's slim 1-0 advantage.
After another scoreless frame by Pill, Khris Davis got the Titans going in the fourth inning with a leadoff home run. After Dustin Garneau walked, DH Shevis Shima pushed a perfect bunt for a base hit. After a Joe Scott sacrifice advanced both runners, Joey Siddons rammed a base hit up the middle through a drawn-in infield to make it 6-0. Siddons stole third and scored on Brown's double.
Utah's C.J. Cron hit a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the fourth to make it 8-1, but the Utes never got closer. Fellhauer led off the fifth with his third consecutive single and raced around to score on Jared Clark's double. Streich was replaced by reliever Robert Chimpky, who was unable to get the monkey off the back of the Utah pitching staff. Clark went to third on Davis' infield single and scored on Garneau's sacrifice fly. Davis later scored on a wild pitch. Scott got the rally recharged with a double deep to leftfield and scored on an RBI single by Siddons. Perhaps the best indicator of how well this game was going for Utah was when the count to Colon reached 3-2 with two outs and the first-baseman moved away from the base.
Chimpky made a perfect pickoff throw to first - but the only people anywhere near it were Colon and the umpire and neither of them had a glove. Siddons advanced to second on the error and scored the fifth run of the inning when Colon singled to make it 12-1.
Pill went eight solid innings in earning the win. After pitching a couple complete games earlier in the season, he had much shorter outings in recent starts against Cal Poly, UCLA, Pepperdine and Long Beach State, so I'm guessing he stayed in despite the lopsided score in order to "stretch him out" for upcoming action. Pill allowed seven hits and two earned runs, while striking out nine and allowing no walks or hit batters.
- Dustin Garneau (.583 average led team, three RBI, six runs scored, 5-for-5 performance in the winners bracket finale, no stolen bases allowed and enough kick saves to win the Vezina Trophy)
- Jared Clark (.500 average, three doubles, 4 RBI and more scoops than Baskin-Robbins on a summer day)
- Joey Siddons (.500 average, seven RBI, three multi-hit games, stellar defense at 3B)
- Khris Davis (.467 average, four home runs, eight RBI, six runs scored)
- Gary Brown (.467 average, three doubles, two stolen bases)
- Tyler Pill (1-0, 2.25 ERA, nine strikeouts, won Regional clincher)
- Noe Ramirez (1-0, 2.57 ERA, eight strikeouts)
- Batted .476 as team and scored 41 runs in three games
- Khris Davis led all players in home runs, RBI and runs scored (tied).
- Best team ERA: 2.33. (Gonzaga was second at 8.44.)
- Brown and Clark were co-leaders in doubles with three each, while Scott was a co-leader in triples with two. (While paling, perhaps, to Davis' 1.267, Scott had a 1.000 slugging percentage this weekend.)