Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
LONG BEACH, Calif. – It has been three long years.
That’s how long it has been since Cal State Fullerton pitcher John Gavin has thrown a complete game.
Gavin held the Long Beach State offense in check, throwing a complete-game shutout to defeat the Dirtbags 12-0 in Game 2 of the NCAA Super Regionals Saturday at Blair Field. The Titans’ victory forces a Game 3 Sunday afternoon, with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
“I knew Long Beach was an aggressive team,” Gavin said. “Just tried to throw strikes, and it worked.”
Gavin (8-2) allowed seven hits and two walks and struck out five. He only allowed one runner to reach third in continuing his mastery of the Dirtbags: In three starts against Long Beach this season, the lefty has allowed one earned run in 21.1 innings with 17 hits and 16 strikeouts.
Fullerton jumped on Long Beach starting pitcher Dave Smith early, scoring two in the first inning and erupting for seven runs in the third.
Offensively, Fullerton shortstop Timmy Richards led the way, going 3 for 4 with three runs and two RBI. Chris Hudgins added four RBI with a home run and two runs.
“Once it gets rolling, it gets rolling,” Richards said. “I led off that [third] inning and then after it was just hit after hit after hit. It got contagious and it kept going.”
Smith got off to a rocky start, hitting the first two batters he faced. Scott Hurst and Sahid Valenzuela moved to second and third after a sacrifice bunt by Dillon Persinger. Richards singled to right center to score Hurst.
Taylor Bryant smacked a line drive to center field that was dropped, leading to another run and giving the Titans an early 2-0 lead.
“That was a good game for us,” Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook said. “We came out with a plan to be aggressive on him [Smith] because he throws a lot of strikes.”
Smith took his second loss of the season, allowing nine runs on 11 hits. Long Beach coach Troy Buckley took the blame for the loss.
“I completely own it,” Buckley said. “We weren’t ready to play, and we were a step behind. Fullerton took it to us.”
The 12-run win marks the largest Titans victory over Long Beach since defeating the Dirtbags 15-3 on May 24, 2009.
“It doesn’t really get much better than this,” Richards said. “Winning today just sets us up for tomorrow; the score doesn’t really matter. They are still going to come out and play hard.”