Longo Garcia and Keith Kaub helped to make Coach Larry Cochell's debut at Cal State Fullerton a successful one as the Titans defeated Cal Poly Pomona, 5-1, in a baseball game Wednesday at Titan Field.
Garcia pitched a seven-hitter and struck out seven. Kaub had three hits and three RBIs, including a two--run home run in the first inning.
"I was anxious today and just wanted to get the season going," said Cochell, who had won 685 games in 21 seasons as a college coach before taking the Fullerton position. "It would be less than truthful in saying that I wasn't excited to win the first one."
Cochell, after coaching last year at Northwestern University and the previous 10 at Oral Roberts, replaced Augie Garrido, who left to become the coach at Illinois. Garrido had guided the Titans to two National Collegiate Athletic Assn. championships during his 15 years at the school.
Pomona (0-1) scored its run in the top of the first, when Chris Goldbach's sacrifice fly chased home Jim Chapman. Garcia gave up only four hits the rest of the way. A senior from Santa Ana and Orange Coast College, Garcia retired 12 straight at one point.
"I was a little nervous at the start," said Garcia, who threw 115 pitches. "As the game got going, I was able to mix up my speeds and hit spots. I thought I had good stuff today."
The Titans scored three times in the first. Mike Ross doubled to left, driving in Rex Peters from second, and Kaub hit a 1-1 off-speed pitch from Wayne Koklys over the left-field fence for a 3-1 lead.
"I saw he was throwing off-speed pitches, " Kaub said. "It was a belt-high pitch that I could handle."
The Titans, ranked 10th in the nation by Collegiate Baseball magazine, scored again in the third and eighth innings.
Koklys gave up 12 hits and struck out 1 in eight innings.
"Our kids played well for an early-season game," Cochell said. "We need to improve, but I like what I saw today."
Peters added three hits for the Titans.