Against most college baseball teams, Donovan Osborne of Nevada Las Vegas is an outstanding pitcher. But against Cal State Fullerton, he’s little more than just another left-hander.
The Titans pounded Osborne for 14 hits in eight innings and defeated UNLV, 9-2, in a Big West Conference game in front of 300 Friday at Titan Field.
It was the season-high fifth consecutive victory for Fullerton (23-16, 6-1 in conference play). The Titans have won six consecutive conference games and have a half-game lead over Fresno State, which rallied for four runs in the 10th to defeat San Jose State, 8-7, Friday.
Osborne was 24-7 in his first two seasons at UNLV and was a preseason All-American pick in Baseball America this spring.
But in two appearances against Fullerton over the past two seasons, Osborne is nobody’s All-American. He is 0-2 and has given up 30 hits and 20 runs in 11 1/3 innings. He is 8-4 this season.
“We swung the bats extremely well against one of the best pitchers in the country,” Fullerton Coach Larry Cochell said.
The Titans’ attack began almost before most scouts could aim their radar guns.
Phil Nevin lined the first pitch over Osborne’s head for a single. Nevin was sacrificed to second, took third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rich Gonzales.
Fullerton added three more runs in the second, four in the third and the final run in the eighth.
The Titans received good news from starter Sam Colarusso, who was out two weeks because of a pinched nerve in his right shoulder. Colarusso had started the April 4 nonconference game at Pepperdine, but the senior right-hander lasted four batters before the pain sidelined him.
Friday, Colarusso (4-3) pitched five painless innings, allowing two runs, six hits, three walks, and had four strikeouts.
He was replaced in the sixth by Doug Ketchen, who allowed no runs and three hits over three innings. Chris Robinson worked a perfect ninth for Fullerton (23-16, 6-1), which is ranked 18th in the Collegiate Baseball/ESPN poll.
“We had a 75-pitch or five-inning limit on Colarusso,” Cochell said. “And we were pleased with what we got. Ketchen came out so he could go Sunday if we need him.”
Fullerton scored three times in the second after loading the bases with none out. Nevin lined a two-run double into left field, and Mate Borgogno followed with an RBI single.
Frank Charles started the four-run fourth with a single up the middle. Steve Sisco singled and Matt Hattabaugh followed with an RBI single. Sisco moved to third on a fly out by Domingo Mota and scored when Kevin Farlow beat out a squeeze bunt for a single.
Nevin sacrificed the runners to second and third, and both scored on a double down the left-field line by Borgogno, who has had eight RBIs in his last two conference games. Borgogno is hitting .540 with runners in scoring position and has a team-high 40 RBIs.
The teams meet again today and Sunday at 1 p.m.