Texas had stud pitcher Taylor Jungmann and Oregon had its ace, Tyler Anderson.
Cal State Fullerton was no different, except you could pick just about anyone who pitched to put in that category.
The 13th-ranked Titans showed off the deepest and most complete pitching staff in recent memory at Les Murakami Stadium, polishing off a four-game sweep of Hawaii with a 3-2 victory yesterday.
A tame crowd of 1,803 yesterday afternoon saw the finale follow the same pattern as the entire series.
The Titans (16-8) scratched across just enough runs and the Rainbows (11-13) clawed their way back to create some late-inning drama, only for Fullerton to quickly slam the door on any chance for a UH victory.
"We pitched our tails off, but that’s Cal State Fullerton they pitched their tails off, too," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said. "We’re close every game but just can’t get the big hit there at the end to get us over the hump."
As well as the Rainbows pitched holding the Titans to 14 runs and 26 hits in four games Fullerton was that much better. Hawaii scored in only three of the 34 innings it came to bat and managed 18 hits in four games.
"We made the most of our opportunities when we had to," Fullerton coach Dave Serrano said. "We knew coming in it was going to have to be about our pitching staff this weekend, and were able to put up enough runs on the board to walk away from here very happy."
The Titans played without eight suspended players, including three offensive starters. First baseman Nick Ramirez, who had two saves in the series, drove in all three runs yesterday, including the key two-run single off of Lenny Linsky to put CSF up 3-0 in the seventh.
Only one of the eight batters Linsky faced reached base, but it was the guy he came in to pitch against, as Ramirez lined a single up the middle with men on second and third to give the Titans a big enough cushion.
"That’s their best hitter against our best pitcher and their guy won on that at-bat," Trapasso said. "There’s so much riding on every play when you’re not able to score and one base hit like that right there, you feel like that’s the ballgame, but our guys didn’t feel that and came back and got the tying run to the plate again."
Breland Almadova fueled the UH rally with his second double in as many games. Pi‘ikea Kitamura drove in Collin Bennett, who drew a pinch-hit walk with one out in the eighth, on a groundout for UH’s first run in 16 innings. Kolten Wong, who started at designated hitter, drove in Almadova with a two-out single and stole second before Jeff Van Doornum grounded out to end the inning.
"I’m very proud of how we dealt with, not just adversity off the field coming into this series, but how we dealt with adversity throughout the game," Serrano said. "It wasn’t easy. We won four games, but it was a nail-biter every game where Hawaii had either the tying run or go-ahead runner at the plate in the final inning of every game."
Wong, who finished 2-for-4 and combined with Almadova for four of UH’s five hits, played a day after his string of 142 consecutive starts came to an end.
"I really hurt my shoulder and decided it was best for the team to rest and let someone fresh play," said Wong, who first tweaked his shoulder a week earlier. "The swing I tried to let my hand go to try to fight it off and that’s when (the shoulder) really went out."
The Rainbows were swept at home for the first time since dropping four games to Louisiana Tech in 2009.
Zach Gallagher (3-1) pitched into the seventh inning for Hawaii, allowing the three runs on six hits in 62⁄3 innings with one strikeout.
Hawaii will try to snap its season-high four-game losing streak against Wichita State on Wednesday. The Shockers (17-8), ranked No. 24 in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll, are coming off a four-game split against the Oregon Ducks.
NO. 13 CAL STATE FULLERTON 3, HAWAII 2
|Thomas lf||5||1||2||0||Almadova cf||4||1||2||0|
|Trajano ss||4||1||2||0||Kitamura 2b||4||0||0||1|
|Ramirez 1b||3||0||1||3||Wong dh||4||0||2||1|
|Lorenzen cf||4||0||0||0||Blake 1b||4||0||0||0|
|Barber 3b||4||0||0||0||Champion c||4||0||0||0|
|Hutting rf||4||0||0||0||Montplaisir lf||4||0||0||0|
|Deacon c||4||0||1||0||Bayus 3b||2||0||0||0|
|Orloff 2b||3||1||1||0||Harrison ss||2||0||0||0|
|Cal State Fullerton||000||010||200 3||8||0|
|Hawaii||000||000||020 — 2||5||2|
E—Kitamura; Harrison. LOB—CSF 7, Hawaii 5.
2B—Pill; Almadova. 3B—Van Doornum. SF—Ramirez. SH—Orloff. SB—Wong.
|Hurlbut (W, 1-0)||5||3||0||0||1||6|
|Gallagher (L, 3-1)||62⁄3||7||3||3||0||1|
Umpires—(Plate): Tim Vessey. (First): Tony Norris. (Third): Kendall Snyder. T—2:30. A—1,803.