View Original Notice ? Chester twirls gem as Cal State Fullerton baseball beats Long Beach State

LONG BEACH — The Cal State Fullerton baseball team on Sunday afternoon showed fans a nice slice of how good the program once was and a preview that things will get better sooner than later.

Junior Fynn Chester tossed a complete game three-hitter against Long Beach State in a 3-0 Big West Conference victory at Blair Field. It was an overwhelming performance, the transfer from Salt Lake City College needing just 76 pitches and retiring 23 consecutive hitters at one point.

He had Long Beach (26-27, 14-13 Big West) hitting ground balls all day. He allowed two hits in the first, the second an infield single, and then retired the next 23 until pinch-hitter Devereaux Harrison singled to left. Chester then induced a double play to end the game.

The Titans (20-32, 12-15) salvaged the last game of the three-game rivalry series, but the pitching of Chester and Tyler Stultz in the series opener on Friday night were throwbacks to when the Titans ruled the conference.

The Titans endured a 2-9 start to this season and had won just two of their last 12 games before Sunday. But first-year head coach Jason Dietrich believes the program will return to prominence sooner than later.

“It’s just been a season of grinding,” he said. “There’s been no quit in the team and we’ve competed hard. I think the one word you would use for us is frustrated.

“We’ve lost a lot of one-run games (13), and those are hard to take for a team that’s playing hard. In most cases, it was like we found ways to lose games we could have won.”

The Titans jumped on Long Beach starter Zach Voelker in the first inning, Deylan Pigford’s double one of three hits producing a 1-0 lead. They extended it in the third on a two-run home run by Jason Brandow, his seventh of the season.

The Titans are 3-11 in series this season, managing series wins against Loyola Marymount (19-32-1) and the two big West laggards, UC Riverside (8-42) and UC Davis (6-32).

Dietrich used a lot of pitchers in 2022 who have an upside and should return next season. Six of Fullerton’s 10 prep commitments for 2023 are also pitchers

Chester said he has always been a ground ball pitcher, and that was the case Sunday, as 21 of the 27 put outs were by infielders.

“The real story today was the team defense,” Chester said. “The defense made a lot of big plays today to keep me in the game.”

He was used in relief most of the season but got two early mid-week starts and entered the rotation last week. He’ll get another start in the season’s final series next weekend at home against UC Irvine.

Long Beach closes its season at UC Davis next weekend.