Titans Take on Matadors to Open Big West Action

March 29, 2012

PLAY BALL! Like a second opening day of sorts, the Titans will begin its 38th Div. I conference season this weekend against visiting Cal State Northridge at Goodwin Field. They are coming off a 1-1 split with No. 14 Arizona State on Tuesday and Wednesday as they continue playing one of the nation's best schedules.

An season-high 18-hit attack on Wednesday contributed to a 9-5 victory over the Sun Devils following a 1-0 loss on Tuesday. Koby Gauna (2-2) was a tough-luck loser on Tuesday. He faced only 12 men through the first four innings, pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth and then surrendered a leadoff double to Andrew Aplin in the sixth. Dimitri DeLaFuente relieved and got one out before DeMichele singled cleanly to right. Fullerton out-hit ASU 7-5, but hit into three double-plays on the night.

On Wednesday, Austin Kingsolver and Richy Pedroza each had three hits to help Fullerton end their two-game losing streak and a 19-inning scoreless drought. Tyler Peitzmeier (1-0) got his first collegiate win after a 3.1 inning "staff" start, allowing only one run. Willie Kuhl allowed one run in the next 3.1 innings. Grahamm Wiest allowed a pair in the eighth before Michael Lorenzen came on to get his ninth save.

Fullerton went 2-1 last week in a series with Oral Roberts dominated by starting pitching. The Titans got strong efforts from Dylan Floro (8 innings in 7-1 win Thursday), Kenny Mathews (5.2 innings with 11 strikeouts in 5-3 win on Friday) and Wiest (8+ innings in 3-0 loss on Saturday).

The offense struggled. It took four unearned runs in the seventh inning -- the last two on Derek Legg's 2-run single - to break open the Thursday game. Doubles by Matt Chapman (2) and Anthony Trajano were key in the Friday win and Michael Lorenzen and Chapman each had 3 hits. But Saturday the Titans managed only 5 hits off Alex Gonzalez and two relievers and got shut out for the first time this season. Lorenzen logged his eighth save on Friday with his longest effort to date, 1.2 innings.

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THIS WEEKEND IN TITAN BASEBALL
Mar. 30 vs. Cal State Northridge (Goodwin Field), 7 p.m.
Mar. 31 vs. Cal State Northridge (Goodwin Field), 6 p.m.
Apr. 1 vs. Cal State Northridge (Goodwin Field), 1 p.m.

FOLLOW THE GAMES: All three games this weekend will have free audio broadcasts provided live as the action happens at fullertontitans.com. To hear the games presented with our audio partner Stretch Internet, go to our website and click the headphones in the upper right hand corner of your browser - that applies from your computer or your iPhone and Android smart phones. There will also be video streams of all three games on the subscription-based BigWest.TV. There will also be GameTracker coverage for each game. Just click the GT mark in the rotating scoreboard on the home page of fullertontitans.com, or find the link on the baseball schedule page, and track most all of college baseball in just a few clicks of the mouse.

PITCHING PROBABLES:
FRIDAY
CSF - RHP Dylan Floro (3-2, 2.51 ERA)
CSUN - RHP Vincent Roberts (0-4, 5.04 ERA)

SATURDAY
CSF - LHP Kenny Mathews (3-0, 2.14 ERA)
CSUN - RHP Alex Muren (5-1, 3.46 ERA)

SUNDAY
CSF - RHP Grahamm Wiest (1-2, 3.10 ERA)
CSUN - LHP Jerry Keel (1-1, 1.62 ERA)

VERSUS NORTHRIDGE: The Titans are 48-17 all-time against the Matadors dating back to the 1975 season. The Matadors joined the Big West Conference in 2001 after a five-year stint in the Big Sky, and since have won just eight of the 33 meetings with Cal State Fullerton (25-8) and one of the last eight. At home, the Titans are 27-7 against the Matadors and have won 14 of the last 15 games at Goodwin Field. Last year, the Matadors won the first game of the three-game set in Northridge, 5-4, but the Titans came back for 6-0, 11-6 victories to take the last series of the year.

OPENING CONFERENCE SERIES: The Titans have won 32 of their previous 37 conference-opening weekend series since 1975. Overall they have won 32, lost four and split a four-game series with Pepperdine in 1984. The last conference opening series loss came back in 1997, when Long Beach State beat them two out of three games. Overall on this conference opening weekends, the Titans are 88-24 including 6-0 against Cal Sate Northridge.

PICKED TO WIN IT: Cal State Fullerton baseball garnered six of the nine available first-place votes and have been picked by the coaches as the favorite to win the Big West Conference championship in 2012. Fullerton, winner of the past two league titles, took home the 2011 trophy with a 19-5 mark by three games over rival UC Irvine. Fullerton has won nine conference championships in the Super Regional era (dating back to 1999; 13 years), sharing the titles with Nevada in 2000 and Long Beach State in 2008. Behind Fullerton (76 points, six first-place votes) in the coaches poll is UC Irvine (70 points, 3 first-place votes), Long Beach State (58 points), Cal Poly (54 points), UC Riverside (44 points), UC Santa Barbara (37 points), Pacific (25 points), UC Davis (23 points) and Cal State Northridge (18 points).

TITANS AND THE BIG WEST: Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 655-228-2 (.742) conference record over 37 seasons and has won 25 Div. I conference championships dating back to 1975. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, will gets his first crack at a Big West crown in 2012, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Augie Garrido (14 conference championships), Larry Cochell (1), George Horton (7) and Dave Serrano (3). A further breakdown has the Titans winning three PCAA conference championships (1975-76, 1987), eight straight SCBA titles (1977-84) and 14 while playing under the Big West name (1990-91, 94-95, 1997, 1999-2001, 2004-06, 2008, 2010-11). The Big West absorbed the PCAA records in 1990 upon its formation, giving the Titans 17 total Big West championships and a 482-182 (.725; 29 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record.

TITAN TIDBITS:
&\#149;Fullerton's 18 hits on Wednesday at Arizona State was a season high and matched last season's game high. Fullerton last had more than 18 hits in a game in 2010. That year's high was 25 against UC Davis.

&\#149;Carlos Lopez is hitting .432 (16-for-37) with four doubles and an RBI over his team-leading, nine-game hitting streak. Over that span, Lopez has an on-base percentage of .488 and has six multi-hit games.

&\#149; Michael Lorenzen has hit in his last six games and has gone 10-for-26 (.385) with 2 RBI over that span.

&\#149; Anthony Trajano has made some noise over the last five games since being inserted into the line-up beginning with the Oral Roberts series. Since, Trajano has gone 6-for-18 (.333) with a couple of RBI.

&\#149; In his last five games, Matt Chapman has seen his batting average increase from .227 on Mar. 18 to its current place at .273. The increase is large-in-part to a three-hit game on Mar. 23 vs. Oral Robers and a 2-for-4 effort on Wednesday against Arizona State. Chapman is one of just three Titans to have hit a home run this year - that came on the road at Texas A&M on Mar. 11.

&\#149; Over the last 10 games, Fullerton has hit .287 as a team to increase their overall teem batting average to .271. The Titans still have just two regulars hitting over .300 (Carlos Lopez - .370 and Michael Lorenzen - .337) but were hitting just barely .260 prior to the Oral Roberts series.

&\#149;Mr. Clutch so far has been Richy Pedroza who leads the team (by six RBI) with 10, two-out RBI.

&\#149; Between the three Titan starters this weekend (Dylan Floro, Kenny Mathews and Grahamm Wiest), there are 10 quality starts (6 innings plus and three earned runs or fewer) in 14 opportunities. That includes 7 starts from the trio against Top 15 opponents.

&\#149; Fullerton was shutout back-to-back times (3-0, Mar. 24 vs Oral Roberts and 1-0, Mar. 27 vs. Arizona State) for the first time since March of 1997. It was just the third time in the history of the program (also in 1982 at the College World Series) that the Titans were blanked in consecutive games.