Tyler Pill enjoyed a busy night before a home crowd Friday in the first round of an NCAA baseball regional.
The Cal State Fullerton junior struck out 11 in eight innings and also drove in two runs as the Titans defeated Illinois, 10-4.
Fullerton (41-15) advanced to a winner's bracket game Saturday night against Stanford, a 10-3 winner Friday over Kansas State.
Last year, Fullerton lost its regional opener and had to fight its way back to win the title and advance to a super regional.
The Titans were behind early Friday but rallied to help Pill (7-1), who gave up four runs and five hits and walked three.
Greg Velazquez, who had three hits, and Nick Ramirez also drove in two runs for the Titans.
Fullerton spotted Illinois a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Casey McMurray doubled down the left-field line and Matt Dittman hit a home run over the right-field fence.
The Titans tied the score in the fourth on Ivory Thomas' bases-loaded single and an error by right fielder Davis Hendrickson. They went ahead, 4-2, in the fifth on Carlos Lopez's two-out run-scoring double and Velazquez's single.
Illinois (28-26) came back to tie the score, 4-4, on McMurray's two-run single in the fifth, before Fullerton regained the lead with a textbook Titans rally.
Jared Deacon was hit by a pitch, Thomas singled and the runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Richy Pedroza. Pill stepped in and laced a two-run single to left for a 6-4 lead.
The Titans added a run in the seventh and three in the eighth to close it out.
Stanford 10, Kansas State 3: Freshman second baseman Lonnie Kauppila had four of Stanford's 16 hits and also drove in two runs to help back the performance of sophomore Mark Appel (6-6), who gave up seven hits, struck out eight and did not walk a batter in only his second complete game of the season.
Ben Clowe, Stephen Piscotty, Brian Ragira, Kenny Diekroeger and Jake Stewart each had two hits for Stanford.
Kent Urban had three hits for Kansas State (36-24), which committed five errors.