Titans Open Big West Play In Northridge This Weekend
March 29, 2007
PLAYBALL! No. 13 Cal State Fullerton (15-10) continues its six-game road trip in Northridge with a three game series against the 12-16 Matadors to open up Big West Conference play. Fullerton is coming off a 2-1 series win over nationally ranked Long Beach State while Northridge is coming off a midweek win over LMU, snapping a dreadful eight-game losing streak.
THIS WEEK IN TITAN BASEBALL:
All three Titan games will be broadcast (WEB) on fullertontitans.com and can be followed on GameTracker (GT). You can also purchase a subscription for steamed video of the game through BigWestTV (BWTV) at bigwest.org/tv.
TITANS IN THE RANKINGS:
Baseball America: 13
Collegiate Baseball: 16
MATADORS IN THE RANKINGS:
Cal State Northridge is not currently ranked by any polls.
LAST WEEK: Late-inning heroics played a big part in both Titan wins, as Jake Vasquez's two-run, seventh-inning home run gave the Titans a come-from-behind 7-4 win on Friday. Starter Wes Roemer's struggles continued as he was unable to get out of the fourth inning, but Justin Klipp and Adam Jorgenson tossed 4.1 of scoreless ball to hold off the 49ers. Klipp earned his first win of the year, and Jorgenson picked up his fourth save.
On Saturday, five hours and 43 minutes after the first pitch was thrown, Long Beach's Steve Tinoco delivered a game-winning single off Nolan Bruyninckx as the 49ers outlasted the Titans in a 14-inning marathon. Trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning, Chris Jones and Khris Davis each singled home runs to tie the game, but that would be all for the Titan run production as they went scoreless over the last six frames in a 4-3 loss.
The heroics continued Sunday afternoon as Matt Fahey's bases-loaded, two-run, pinch-hit single drove home two runs to tie the game at 5-5. Matt Wallach then walked to reload the bases for Clark Hardman who also singled, delivering the game-winner as the Titans went on to win, 7-5. Klipp, again in relief, finished for Sean Urena, picked up his second win of the weekend, with another 3.2 innings of scoreless relief.
AGAINST CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: The Titans holds a 36-14 all-time advantage over the Matadors dating back to 1975. Fullerton is currently riding an 11-game winning steak versus Northridge, sweeping the season series in each of the last three seasons. The last time CSUN upended the Titans was back in 2002...they swept the Titans at Goodwin Field Apr. 26-28, 2002 (2-1, 8-6 , 12-3). The two teams have never met in the post-season.
&\#149;The Titans collected 10-or-more hits in all three games last weekend, jumping their total to 13 games in double-digit hits. In those 13 games the Titans are 10-3.
&\#149;The Titans are 4-3 on Fridays this season, 4-3 on Saturday and 5-2 on Sundays.
&\#149; All three games this weekend will be played during the day. Fullerton is 8-3 in games in the daylight. Clark, Hardman is leading the team with a .404 average and has driven in 15 of his 25 RBI without the aid of artificial lights.
&\#149; The Titans are currently 7-4 against teams ranked in Baseball America's Top 25 poll. (versus UCLA, Rice, Pepperdine, San Diego and Long Beach State.)
&\#149;After going one for his previous 23 at bats (.034), senior John Curtis broke out of his modest slump collecting five hits versus Long Beach State last weekend, hitting .417 (5-for-12).
&\#149; The Titans have committed 38 errors in the 25 games they have played so far (averaging 1.52 a game). Their 2007 fielding percentage (.960) is as low as it has been since the 1994 season when it was .958. The Titans are coming off back-to-back seasons with the school's best fielding percentages of .977 in both 2005 and 2006.
&\#149; Despite hitting just .229 with the bases empty, the Titans as a team are doing the job at hitting with runners on base. The Titans are hitting .315 with runners on base, .375 when the bases are loaded and .347 with runners in scoring position. It is also good to note, when runners are advanced to third base with less than two outs, The Titans have driven in 75 percent of the runners (56 RBI in 74 opportunities).
&\#149; Clark Hardman (CF, Jr., Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) sits just six RBI away from tying his career-high of 31 set back in 2004 when he earned freshman All-American honors. His current .370 average is 30 points higher than his first season and his two home runs is a career-high. His six stolen bases leads the team and with two more swipes he will tie his career-mark in that category too.
&\#149;The Titans were 19-8 in the Big West Conference a season ago, finishing first with an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. Fullerton has earned 22 Division I Conference championships including three consecutive dating back to the 2004 national championship season.
MILESTONES AHEAD: 11th-year Head Coach George Horton is 35 wins away from his 500th career win. Last season Horton tallied his 188th career Big West Conference win, tying him with Fresno State's Bob Bennett for second place on the all-time Big West leader board. His next conference victory will put him in sole possession of second place behind former Long Beach State skipper Dave Snow's 218 Big West wins.
CLUTCH PERFORMANCES: Cal State Fullerton's Clark Hardman and Justin Klipp were named Big West Conference Player and Pitcher of the Week as their performances helped lift the Titans to a series win over nationally-ranked Long Beach State.
The Titan centerfielder hit .375 and drove in four last weekend with his final hit coming as the game- and series-winnner against the cross-twon rivals. His six hits on the weekend tied him for the team lead but his 4 RBI paced the squad. The junior from Trabuco Canyon was key in Friday night's come from behind win, as he laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to tie the game, then later singled and came around to score the game-winning run in the seventh inning. On Sunday, Hardman's two-out, game-winning single drove in two and capped a Titan four-run top of the ninth inning for the series win.
Klipp (Senior, RHP, Bell Canyon, Calif.), was instrumental from the mound picking up two wins in two appearances, without surrendering a run in seven total innings. On Friday, Klipp picked up for a struggling Wes Roemer and tossed 3.1 near perfect innings, walking just one batter while striking out three. Two days later Klipp reemerged from the pen, this time to help Sean Urena. Klipp was equally effective Sunday, tossing 3.2 innings surrendering just two hits, earning the win after Fullerton's triumphant ninth-inning rally. On the weekend, the Titan right hander struck out six and held the 49ers to just an .091 batting average.
MATADORS TURNED TITANS: Matador Field is no stranger to a trio of Titans as they have spent some time in the Matador baseball program prior to coming to Fullerton this season. Brad Barragar was granted his redshirt at Northridge in 2004. He and Titan outfielder Nick Mahin played for Matador Head Coach Steve Rousey (coincidentally a former Titan). Mahin played parts of the 2004 and 2005 seasons, posting a career .276 average in 48 career games. Volunteer Assistant Coach Bill Kernen was instumental, as the Matadors' head coach, in turning the strong Div. II school into a Div. I competitor. Kernen tallied a 240-154-3 record as head coach of the Matadors and in their first season at D-I, nearly missed the College World Series in 1991.
FACE IN THE CROWD: Right-handed pitcher Sean Urena (Rialto, Calif.) as he has been included as one of Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" in this past week's issue (Mar. 26) of the highly-regarded publication. The freshman hurler tossed a one-hitter against then-No. 6 Rice back on Mar. 4 that garnered him a handful of national player of the week awards. He struck out a career-high six and faced just three Owls over the minimum in the complete-game effort.
THE TITAN KLIPPER: The Titans' Justin Klipp picked up a pair of wins last week in two, three-innning-plus outings against nationally-ranked Long Beach State. In his two appearances, the threw seven scoreless innings while striking out six, surrendering just two hits. The right-hander from Bell Canyon lowered his 2007 ERA to a team-leading 1.45 ERA and improved to 4-1 in his career as a reliever. The senior is the reigning Big West Conference pitcher of the Week.
MORR SCORELESS RELIEF: In addition to Justin Klipp's scoreless string, Michael Morrison (Cypress, Calif.) has also posted an impressive run out of the pen. he too has posted seven consecutive innings without allowing a run. In games against East Carolina, Pepperdine, and Long Beach State, the freshman has surrendered just three hits while striking out six.
ON THE ROAD: The Titans are 6-6 in games away from Goodwin Field this season and the Titans will be without their best road hitter for the second-straight weekend, as Joel Weeks, who was hitting .393 on the road, continues to recover from a broken ankle. Chris Jones, is hitting .340 in front of the opposition's fans, collecting a tie for the team lead in hits with 16 road knocks. Clark Hardman who also has 16 hits on the road, is also tied for the team-lead in RBI with John Curtis with 11. Justin Klipp is leading the team form the mound on the road with a pair of wins and a .073 ERA. Titan starter Jeff Kaplan
DINNER WITH THE TITANS: The 2007 baseball team will be acting as the wait staff on Monday, April 23, as they serve supporters of Titan baseball dinner in its annual fundraiser. The team team, in conjunction with the Diamond Club (baseball boosters), will be putting on a prime rib dinner at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim to raise money for a new padded outfield wall at Goodwin Field...Fifteen-year major league player and former Titan All-American Brent Mayne (1988-89) will be on hand as the special guest speaker at the annual event...In addition to dinner fans will have their chance to interact and take photos with players, coaches and all four Cal State Fullerton national championship trophies and bid on more than 10 trips and cruises as well as other high-end items in a silent auction...You too can support the Titan baseball program for just \$150 a plate or \$1500 a table. All of the proceeds from the evening's events will go directly to Titan baseball. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m....For more information on how you can be a part of this special evening, contact Titans' Director of Baseball Operations Todd Rogers at (714) 278-2943 or at email@example.com...The Phoenix Club is located at 1340 S. Sanderson Ave., in Anaheim.
LEGENDARY COACH: In October, 2006, Head Coach George Horton was honored to take part in a documentary called "Legendary Coaches" that will be released as a special feature on the forthcoming "We Are Marshall" DVD. Horton is one focus of a six-segment feature with other legends Lute Olson (Arizona, men's basketball head coach), Pat Summit (Tennessee, women's basketball head coach), John Wooden (former UCLA basketball head coach), Bobby Bowden (Florida State, football head coach) as well as 1971 Marshall football Head Coach Jack Lengyel.
TOURNEY TALK: The Titans have made 28 NCAA regional appearances in their 32-year Div. I history and have not missed the post-season since 1991. The 15-year run is the fourth-longest active streak in the nation. Only Miami (34), Florida State (29), and Clemson (20), have longer streaks. Fullerton has advanced to Omaha 14 times, coming away with College World Series Titles in 1979, 1984, 1995, and 2004.
A WINNING TRADITION: On May 23, 2006, the Titans captured their 22nd 40-win season with a 6-3 win over USC. The Titans also picked up their eighth 50-win season as they defeated Clemson, 7-6, in the College World Series. Fullerton has never had less than 30 wins or finished the season with a losing record (since 1975, first year at Div. I). Larry Cochell's Titans captured the lowest win total in the school's history with a 30-27 overall record in 1989.
BEST IN THE BIG WEST: The Cal State Fullerton baseball has been picked to claim its fourth-consecutive Big West Conference championship as shown in the Big West Preseason Coaches Poll. George Horton's Titans garnered seven of the eight first place votes (63 total points) giving them the edge over UC Riverside who finished in second with 50 total points. UC Irvine and Long Beach State finished close behind in third and fourth places, respectively.
TOP 10 RECRUITING CLASS: Cal State Fullerton baseball's recruiting effort was rewarded with a pair of "top ten" rankings by the two major college baseball publications in 2007. The Titans' incoming class, assembled by Recruiting Coordinator and Assistant Coach Jason Gill, has been ranked 8th by Collegiate Baseball and 9th by Baseball America. "It is nice to be recognized on a national level for our recruiting class and we are happy with the talent we have coming in," Gill said, "but we have a lot of new names on the backs of our jerseys, and we have to wait to see how well they adapt to playing for the name on the front." Following the College World Series last June, the Titans lost three-fourths of arguably the best defensive infield in the nation, two-thirds of both the outfield and starting pitching rotation, a setup man and a closer to last year's MLB draft and free-agency.
TO THE SHOW: Three former Titans made their big league debuts in 2006 boosting the school's total number to 43 former Fullerton players that have played a big league gamee. Mike Rouse (with CSF in 2001) and Jason Windsor (with CSF from 2003-04) both made appearances with the Oakland A's, while Wes Littleton (with CSF from 2001-03) debuted with the Texas Rangers. The trio joined Shane Costa, KC (with CSF from 2001-03), Reed Johnson, TOR (1997-99), Chad Cordero, WAS (2001-03), Brandon Duckworth, KC (1997), Mark Kotsay, OAK (1994-96), Mike Lamb, HOU (1995-97), Phil Nevin, TEX-CHC-MIN (1990-92), Aaron Rowand, PHI (1996-98), Kirk Saarloos, OAK (1998-2001) and Matt Wise, MIL (1996-97), to bring the current total of Fullerton products in the bigs to 13.