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Fullerton Rolls Into Title Game

College World Series

In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, Cal State Fullerton is in the College World Series championship game.

“We rebuild fast,” coach Augie Garrido said Thursday after his Titans beat Tennessee 11-0 to advance to Saturday’s championship game. “I don’t know how we got here. I thought it was a two-year team. We didn’t have any expectation level for this group… . They rebuilt this team. I honestly didn’t think we’d be very good.”

The top-seeded Titans beat Tennessee for the second time in the CWS and again they used a grand slam in a big early inning and great pitching.

This time Brian Loyd provided the power with a first-inning grand slam, while Tim Dixon (13-0) allowed five hits in eight innings in part of the first shutout in this year’s series.

Fullerton (56-9) will play the winner of today’s Miami-Southern Cal game for the title. The Titans will play for the title for the fourth time, winning in 1979 over Arkansas and 1984 over Texas, and losing to Pepperdine in 1992.

On Monday, the Titans beat the Volunteers (54-16) 11-1 behind a second-inning grand slam by Mark Kotsay and seven innings of fourhit pitching from Jon Ward.

“I’d have to say they are a pretty good-hitting bunch,” Tennessee coach Rod Delmonico said. “They’re hot right now. They’ve only lost nine ball games. I wonder how they’d lost nine the way they’re playing out here.”

The Titans wasted no time in getting to Tennessee starter Scott Schroeffel (7-3). C.J. Ankrum singled with one out and walks to Kotsay and Jeremy Giambi loaded the bases for Loyd, who hit the eighth grand slam of the season. Tony Martinez added a three-run homer and Fullerton had a 7-0 lead.

“I thought I would get a (sacrifice) fly out of it and it just went out,” Loyd said of his 10th homer of the season. He had noticed the wind in batting practice and didn’t have high hopes for more homers at the series.

“Coach told everyone to sit on the fastball,” Loyd said as the scouting report indicated Schroeffel had a good breaking pitch. “He hung one and I hit it.”

Jones singled in another run in the second and Tony Miranda led off with a triple and scored the Titans’ ninth run on Ankrum’s sacrifice fly in the third. Ankrum was hit by a pitch for a schoolrecord 17th time in the fifth and he scored on a double by Kotsay, who later scored on a single by Giambi.