FULLERTON, Calif. ?- No. 8-ranked Cal State Fullerton took advantage of three early Arizona errors and right-hander Jeff Kaplan tossed a complete-game, six-hit shutout, as the Titans snapped UA’s season-opening nine-game win streak with a 9-0 victory at Goodwin Field on Saturday. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 9-1 on the season, while the Titans ended a modest two-game skid and improved to 6-2 on the year.
Aided by a two-out error by freshman shortstop Robert Abel, the Titans jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Chris Jones reached on the misplayed grounder and came around to score on a triple by Nick Mahin in the next at-bat. Senior John Curtis followed with a well-hit ball that fell just short of his first career home run, but still resulted in an RBI-double to hand CSF the two-run advantage after one.
The defensive woes continued for Arizona in the second when back-to-back two-out errors paved the way another run to score for Fullerton. CSF’s Clark Hardman got things started with an infield single to second baseman Kevin Rodland. The freshman infielder tried to make a play on the ball, but rushed his throw to first base for a throwing error that allowed Hardman to advance to second.
A miscommunication on a pickoff attempt on Hardman at second base resulted in a throwing error by catcher Dwight Childs and advanced the Titan base runner 90 feet. Shortstop Joel Scott made the Wildcats pay in the next at-bat with a run-scoring single to push the lead to 3-0.
Fullerton then exploded for six runs on five hits in the third to ultimately put the game out of reach at 9-0.
Meanwhile, Kaplan (1-0), who surrendered three of Arizona’s six hits in the first two innings, held the potent UA offense in check for the rest of the night. He finished the contest with 11 strikeouts against just one walk and retired the Wildcat side in order in five of his nine innings of work. Kaplan’s effort resulted in the first shut out loss for Arizona in 82 consecutive games.
UA’s Brad Mills (2-1), who was stymied by three of a season-high five errors in the contest, was charged with his first loss of the season after surrendering eight runs, five earned, on six hits over 2 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two in defeat.
Arizona’s T.J. Steele, who finished 2 for 3 with two doubles, extended his carry over hit streak from last season to 17-straight games with a two-bagger in the second. Sophomore classmate Brad Glenn chipped in with a pair of hits in four ABs in the losing effort.
UA and CSF will play the rubber game of the series on Sunday at 2 p.m. MST. Sophomore right-hander Mike Colla (1-0) is the scheduled starter for the Cats.