May 26, 2001
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Cal State Fullerton senior All-American starting pitcher Kirk Saarloos allowed only one earned run in six and a third innings en route to his 14th win of the year as the No. 1 national seed Titans stormed past the Arizona State Sun Devils 13-3 in NCAA Regional action Saturday night in front of a Goodwin Field record crowd of 3,338.
The win improve the Titans overall record to 43-15 on the year and with a 2-0 record in NCAA Tournament action, the No. 1 National seed Titans advance to the championship game of the Fullerton Regional that will be played Sunday at 1 p.m. Arizona State falls to 37-19-1 on the year and with a 1-1 record in the regional will play in a loser's out game later tonight against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders, who lost to Arizona State Friday in the opening game of the regional 12-3, beat Temple 14-3 early Saturday to advance to avoid elimination from the tournament.
"We had them on the ropes and just couldn't come up with the big hit," said ASU head coach Pat Murphy. "They are good and came into the tournament hot and got all the breaks tonight. We have an important game to worry about tonight and have to focus on the task at hand. He (Saarloos) is a good pitcher and really kept our hitters off balance. We had out chances to get to him, but he came up with some big pitches and got out of some jams."
Saarloos was masterful in taming the high-powered Sun Devil offense by allowing only four hits and one earned run in his 16th start of the year. His 14th win of the year moves him into a tie for fourth all-time in Cal State Fullerton history. All-Big West freshman closer Chad Cordero locked down the win with two and a third shutout innings to gain his Big West freshman record 13th save of the year.
Arizona State starting pitcher Jon Switzer was roughed up in his second career postseason start, allowing six hits, two home runs, six runs, four walks and struck out four to fall to 5-6 on the year. In his two career postseason starts, Switzer has allowed 14 runs, 16 hits and three home runs in 9.2 combined innings.
"Switz pitched better than his line indicates, but he was hurt by some walks and left the ball up a little and was hurt by that," said Murphy on his junior pitcher.
The Titans, who were the visitors in the game because of a coin toss, came out of the gates swinging a hot bat, tabbing two doubles, leading to a single run to stake Fullerton to a 1-0 lead. Leadoff hitter and four-time, first-team All-Big West selection David Bacani started the rally with a double off the left field fence on a 3-2 pitch. After a sacrifice bunt from right fielder Robert Guzman, designated hitter Jason Corapci doubled down the right field line to score Bacani.
The Devils answered in the bottom half of the inning with an unearned run to even the score at 1-1. Junior center fielder Chris Duffy extended his hitting streak to seven games with a bunt single and stole second base to put himself in scoring position. After senior catcher Casey Myers walked, freshman Rod Allen appeared to ground into a double play, but second baseman Bacani threw the ball away, allowing Allen to reach safely and scoring Duffy.
Fullerton retook the lead in the top of the second by scoring a run in virtually the same fashion ASU scored in their first at-bat. The Devils tried to turn an inning-ending double play, but second baseman Brooks Conrad threw the ball into the CSUF dugout to score shortstop Mike Rouse.
The Titans continued to rough up ASU starting pitcher Jon Switzer with two more runs in the top of the fourth. Left fielder Louie Lamoure clubbed his second home run of the season deep over the left field fence to stake Fullerton to the 4-1 lead. The home run once again did in the Devils as ASU-killer Brett Kay drilled his sixth home run of the year and second vs. ASU this year to extend the Titans lead to 6-1 and chase Switzer from the game.
After Saarloos balked in a run in the bottom of the fifth, the Devils threatened to bring the game closer by loading the bases with no outs in the sixth and brought the game-tying run to the plate. But Saarloos, the Big West Pitcher of the Year and first-team All-American, struck out Brooks Conrad and got Mike Lopez to ground into a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play.
The Devils closed to within three runs with a solo home run from Jeff Phelps in the seventh, but Fullerton answered with four more runs in the top of the eighth to seal the win. Bacani and first baseman Aaron Rifkin both tallied two-run singles to fuel the four-run inning. The Titans further added to the damage in the ninth when third baseman Murph Norris tabbed his second three-run home run in as many nights to cap the 13-3 win.
Duffy tabbed his 27th multi-hit game of the year in the loss and extended his hitting streak to seven games.