Titans Flex Their Muscles At Right Time : Baseball: Cal State Fullerton’s 2-0 victory over Georgia Tech nets a tournament title and some respect.
A week that began with a loss to a Division II team ended with an exhilarating shutout of the nation’s top-ranked Division I team, as Cal State Fullerton beat Georgia Tech, 2-0, Sunday to win the Anaheim Hilton & Towers Classic.
A sellout crowd of 1,861 in the Titan Sports Complex saw junior right-hander Mike Parisi strike out 10 and allow only four hits in seven innings to lead third-ranked Fullerton to a 3-0 record in the round-robin tournament, which included Oklahoma and San Diego.
Ted Silva pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth inning for the save and Georgia Tech suffered its first shutout since an 8-0 loss to Clemson on April 27, 1991. The Yellow Jackets (6-2) had scored in 152 consecutive games.
The Titans improved to 15-2. Nine of those victories have come over college baseball heavyweights Stanford, Arizona, Texas and Georgia Tech.
Sound like a College World Series-caliber team? You bet. But before Fullerton fans book their flights to Omaha, Coach Augie Garrido reminds you to see exhibit B, Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to UC Riverside, a tough Division II contender but one the Titans should knock out.
“We showed this weekend that we have the ability to play championship-type baseball,” Garrido said. “Against Riverside, we showed we have the ability not to play championship-type baseball. We made a lot of defensive mistakes that day. But if we continue to improve, we’re going to be hard to beat.”
Fullerton had only six hits against Georgia Tech right-hander Al Gogolin, who went the distance, but one was D.C. Olsen’s soft, two-out single to left-center field, which scored Adam Millan in the fourth inning.
Millan also singled to lead off the sixth, was sacrificed to second, and got a huge jump off Gogolin and stole third, his first stolen base in his two-year Titan career. Millan then scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
The Titans took advantage of what few offensive opportunities they had, but pitching and defense were the deciding factors.
Fullerton center fielder Dante Powell, the tournament’s most valuable player, made a diving catch of Scott McIntyre’s shot to right-center field with a runner on first and two out in the seventh.
The Titans also snuffed a Georgia Tech threat with a difficult, 3-6-1 double play in the eighth, as Millan fielded Scott Byers’ grounder at first and threw to shortstop Jack Jones, who relayed his throw to Silva covering first.
“When the defense plays like it did tonight, it gives you so much more confidence,” said Parisi, the tournament’s most valuable pitcher. “I just try to let them hit the ball and watch us make the plays.”
Fullerton didn’t have to make too many plays behind Parisi, who effectively mixed his fastball and slider throughout his seven-inning stint. He struck out the side in the sixth. Georgia Tech catcher Jason Varitek, a first-round pick in 1993 and the starter on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team, struck out three times against Parisi.
Varitek entered the weekend with a .611 average but went 0 for 9 until breaking through with a two-out double off Silva in the eighth.
“He’s a great hitter but I just went after him,” Parisi said. “The crowd cheering really pumped me up and made our whole team play better. I hope they come more often, because they had a big effect on the game.”
In other tournament action:
Oklahoma 10, San Diego 9: The Sooners scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth, on Jerry Whittaker’s three-run homer and Mark Soto’s two-run single, to tie the score, 8-8. Karl Schmidt’s sacrifice fly gave San Diego a 9-8 lead in the top of the 10th, but Oklahoma took advantage of two bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the 10th to pull out the victory.