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Cal State Fullerton’s Titans immediately after getting the last out in their 2-1 win over Long Beach State yesterday. Photo courtesy of santacruzsentinel.com

 

First and foremost…

Much congratulations to Cal State Fullerton’s baseball program as for the 18th time in their history, they have clinched a berth in the College World Series in beating their rivals, Long Beach State, 2-1 in Game 3 of their Super Regionals at Blair Field on Sunday.

That the Titans punched their ticket to Omaha at the Dirtbags’ expense – on their field, no less – made it all the more sweeter, I’m sure; just like when UCLA beats USC on the Trojans’ turf (or vice versa) in any sport.

Colton Eastman, the Cal State Fullerton pitcher who, like John Gavin the day before when he threw a shutout in the Titans’ 12-0 Game 2 rout, shut down Long Beach State in Game 3, no-hitting the Dirtbags for five innings plus, summed up CSUF’s feelings best when he stated:

“(Long Beach State) can have the Big West, but I’ll take Omaha…”

I know it’s a cliché, but Long Beach State, while appropriately devastated, really doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of as not only did they play their guts out,

This Super Regional in general more than lived up to the hype; I thought that it would be an absolute dogfight of a war, and that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

And from what I heard, the tension in the stands between the Titans and Dirtbags’ fans was much like Bruin and Trojan fans at their football games and other Crosstown Rivalry clashes; I’m a little surprised that there weren’t any reported fights.

At least not to my knowledge.

 

What no college athlete EVER wants to go through: watching your hated rival celebrate on your field as these Long Beach State Dirtbags are doing. Photo courtesy of D1baseball.com

 

The biggest key to Cal State Fullerton’s win in my opinion…

Quite simply, the key to any big baseball win at any level:

PITCHING.

More specifically, the Titans’ pitchers completely shutting down Long Beach State’s hitters as after those Dirtbags scored three runs in the first inning of Game 1, they scored just one more run in the following 26 innings – and that was on a passed ball.

It wasn’t so much the ineptitude of Long Beach’s batters as it was the lights out pitching of Fullerton’s hurlers that decided this ultimate rivalry showdown.

Like the saying goes, “Good pitching beats good hitting”,
and always will.

Those Titans certainly proved that this weekend.

And will be in Omaha as a result, as they will face top-ranked (with a ridiculous record of 54-4) Oregon State in their first game of the College World Series this Saturday.

 

Cal State Fullerton’s post game press conference after their 2-1 win over Long Beach State in Game 3 of their Super Regionals. Courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

Most of all, this Super Regional showed two things:

1. The Big West Conference is VERY strong in baseball, providing a very high level of play and further showing the strength of college baseball on the West Coast.

Not to mention that there’s great baseball in SoCal outside of Westwood and south of downtown Los Angeles.

2. The Big West Conference, probably because it’s a mid-major league consisting of commuter schools with no football, is the most underrated group of college sports programs in the nation.

The level of play compares quite favorably to the bigger, richer, and much more publicized Pac-12 Conference, and it’s a very good place for athletes who may have been overlooked by the SCs and UCLAs to play and get an education.

This Super Regional proved that point once and for all.

Personally, I’ve always respected the Big West and the schools making up that conference – I did graduate work at Cal State Northridge, another rival of Fullerton and Long Beach.

Hopefully after what those Titans and Dirtbags showed at Blair Field, the rest of the college sports world will respect them more.

A national title by Cal State Fullerton, which would be their fifth, would more than solidify that.

As such, it goes without saying that I wish those Titans all the best of luck in Omaha as I’m very much looking forward to seeing them take on Oregon State and other big bad teams such as LSU, TCU, Texas A&M, Louisville, and Florida State.

It’s going to be fun.

 

What every college athlete dreams of: celebrating a big post season series win on the hated rival’s home field as what these Titans are doing. Photo courtesy of journalgazette.net

 

 

 

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