Titans Declaw Wildcats

Cal State Fullerton beat Arizona 9-2, taking the weekend series two games to one in front of 2,938 at Goodwin Field on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Starting freshman right-hander Sean Urena had his best outing of his career, pitching 7 1/3 innings while giving up only five hits and two runs in 97 pitches.

Urena earned his first victory of the season.

The Titans had 13 hits to Arizona's six. Titan center fielder Clark Hardman stole the show going 4-5 with two doubles, a triple, and a homerun - just a single short of hitting for the cycle.

In the bottom of the second, Fullerton first baseman Jake Vazquez ripped a single to right field. Left fielder Nick Mahin then drew a walk. Third baseman Bryan Harris reached base on an error committed by Arizona second baseman Kevin Rodland, enabling Vazquez to score.

Urena started the third inning with two strikeouts but then surrendered a homerun to Arizona's right fielder Jon Gaston. Urena also ran into some trouble in the fourth inning giving up two hits including a double off the wall, but then managed to retire the side.

Harris got the Titans going in the fourth inning with a leadoff homerun. Two batters later, Hardman would not be outdone as he blasted a homerun.

Titan Coach George Horton talked about Hardman's power surge.

"I don't know where all that power came from," Horton said. "He was frustrated with the ball he dropped in the first inning; he doesn't do that, so to come right back. It was a big bounceback for him - it shows his maturity and his toughness."

Arizona Coach Andy Lopez then pulled Mike Colla and replaced him with David Coulon. The Titans added one more run off of the John Curtis single, totaling three runs in the fourth inning.

Fullerton loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, but were unable to capitalize. Hardman was thrown out at home, Vazquez struck out, and Mahin grounded out to end the inning.

Building on his young career, Urena retired seven batters at one point. Urena talked about what went well for him: "Just pounding the strikezone and just getting ahead in the count," Urena said. "When you're ahead in the count, you do whatever you want."

Urena started the eighth inning with a strikeout, but then gave up a double prompting Horton to give him the hook. Urena received a handshake from Horton and a standing ovation from the crowd.

"Oh it was amazing," Urena said speaking about the ovation. "You're heart starts pumping and you get chills."

Coach Horton lent insights into's Urena's strongest performance in his three starts:

"It was big for him because Jorgenson has been pitching well in the bullpen and guys might be feeling pressure that we might make a change," Horton said. "I think Sean made it look real easy with the tough conditions today."

Relief pitcher Adam Jorgenson struck out a batter in the eighth but then gave up a hit and walked the bases loaded. He walked one run in and then struck out the last batter to end the Wildcats attack in the eighth.

Baseball America had predicted that the Titans were going to get upset by Arizona. This proved to be motivation for Horton and his ballclub.

"Part of that article [the Baseball America article] was about the pitching getting off to a slow start," Horton said. The pitching staff is way better then what they showed in the first six games."

The Titans are 7-2 overall now and Vazquez shed light on the teams impressive chemistry.

"When the pitchers are doing badly the hitters help them out and when the hitters are having a tough time the pitchers help," Vazquez said. "We have good balance."