Big West Conference Play Begins Tonight

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March 31, 2006

Fullerton, Calif. - Overall Record: 21-7
Big West Conference Record:0-0
Versus Ranked Teams:2-6
Last Week:3-1
This Week:1-0
Last 5 Games:4-1
Last 10 Games:9-1
Streak:Won 4

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:
Lost, 7-4 to No. 21 Pepperdine on Mar. 21 at home
Won, 2-1 (11), against Long Beach State Mar. 24 at home
Won, 7-4, against Long Beach State Mar. 25 at home
Won, 6-2 against Long Beach State Mar. 26 at home

THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE:
Won, 8-4, @ Loyola Marymount on Mar. 29 at Page Stadium
Fri., Mar. 31 vs. Cal State Northridge*, 7 p.m. at home (WEB, GT)
Sat., Apr. 1 vs. Cal State Northridge*, 6 p.m. at home (WEB, GT)
Sun. Apr. 2 vs. Cal State Northridge*, 1 p.m. at home (WEB, GT)

* Denotes Big West Conference Games, WEB - broadcast on fullertontitans.com, GT - game cast on GameTracker

PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION:
Tuesday: WP, Bryan Harris (1-2)
Friday: Wes Roemer (5-0, 1.79 ERA)
Saturday: Lauren Gagnier (6-2, 2.86 ERA)
Sunday: Dustin Miller (6-1, 3.40 ERA)

WRAP UP: Big West Conference play opens this weekend after the Titans downed LMU, 8-4, Wednesday afternoon in the last non-conference meeting before Big West play begins on Friday night. The red-hot Titans host Cal State Northridge, equally warm after a surprising sweep of a conference-opening series with Cal Poly.

With the win in Los Angeles, Fullerton is riding the momentum of 12 wins in 13 games including last weekend's sweep of Long Beach State that unfortunately does not count in the standings. Against the 49ers, pitching was the name of the game again as Fullerton won, 2-1 in 11 innings, 7-4 and 6-2. Attendance for the series was 8,971.

A pitchers' duel between Long Beach's Jared Hughes and Fullerton's Wes Roemer on Friday night was decided by the bullpens and shaky 49ers fielding in the 11th inning. The CSULB left fielder misplayed Blake Davis' lead-off fly ball into a double and, after a ground out, David Cooper grounded to short and the catcher couldn't handle the throw home as Davis slid in with the winning run.

On Saturday, Long Beach concentrated its offense on four consecutive hitters in the third inning as two doubles, a single and a home run by Evan Longoria erased an early 3-0 Fullerton lead. But Brett Pill's bases-loaded single in the fifth put the Titans ahead to stay at 5-4 and Brandon Tripp scored two insurance runs after a triple in the sixth and a double in the eighth. Lauren Gagnier got two hitless relief innings from Ryan Paul and Vinnie Pestano for his team-high sixth win.

Dustin Miller caught up to Gagnier on Sunday after a solid 6.1 innings and adequate support from a pair of early 3-run innings. Four double plays helped Miller immensely and Pestano came on after Paul and Justin Klipp to get the final out in the ninth. Pestano had a win and two saves for the weekend and in the last nine days has a win and five saves.

Pestano also got the final out in Tuesday night's 7-4 loss to Pepperdine. The Waves rode two home runs by catcher Chad Tracy to the win. Evan McArthur's 2-run home run had given Fullerton a 4-3 lead but four Titan errors -- two by McArthur -- led to four unearned Pepperdine runs.

SERIES BUSINESS: The Titans picked up their third-consecutive series sweep, and fifth overall as they downed their cross-town rivals Long Beach State 6-2 on Mar. 26. The Titans are winners of 12 of their last 13 after winning a midweek meeting with LMU on Tuesday. Fullerton will open with Cal State Northridge Friday night to open up Big West Conference play.

POW:Cal State Fullerton third baseman Evan McArthur earned his first Big West Player of the Week honor for the Week ending Mar. 26. He joined Pitcher of the Week, Craig Baker (CSUN) as the Conference's best players of last seven days.

Last week, McArthur led the Titans in hitting (.615), runs (4), home runs (2) and RBI (5) to lift Cal State Fullerton to a 3-1 week against No. 21 Pepperdine and conference foe Long Beach State. The junior posted a 3-for-4 evening against the Waves in the losing effort, which included his second home run of the season and two RBI. McArthur also capped the weekend with a 4-for-4 performance, just a triple away from hitting for the cycle, as the Titans swept Long Beach State with a 6-2 win on Sunday.

WALK-LESS WAY: Sophomore phenom Wes Roemer (Glendora, Calif.) continued his amazing streak of innings pitched without a walk Mar. 24, upping his inning total to 60 2/3 dating back to last season. Roemer surpassed his only competition, as far as we can gather, as Kentucky's Greg Dombrowski walked two batters in his outing on Mar. 26 to end his streak at 58 1/3 innings. Roemer's is having himself a fabulous second season posting a perfect 5-0 record and a 1.79 ERA while striking out 58 in 60 1/3 innings. He is leading the conference in innings pitched and trails CSUN's Chris baker by just three for the league-lead in strikeouts.

QUALITY TIME: The Titan weekend rotation has put together 16 Quality Starts (six-or-more innings with three or less earned runs) in 21 starts as a unit. Wes Roemer (7 QS), Lauren Gagnier (6 QS) and Dustin Miller (3 QS) are a combined 17-3 on the season with Roemer (1.79) and Gagnier's (2.86) ERAs both under 3.00. The three lead the Big West Conference in wins with Gagnier and Miller topping the list, while Roemer is just one off the mark tallying three no-decisions.

"HURRICANE" RELIEF: In his last seven appearances, closer Vinnie Pestano has earned five saves and a win without allowing a run. The righty has tossed six innings of relief, fanning 11 opposing hitters over that span. Pestano is currently leading the Big West Conference in appearances (18), saves (10) and games finished (17). "Hurricane" has posted a 0.43 ERA in 21 innings thus far holding the opponent to a .141 batting average against him.

BY GEORGE, I THINK HE'S GOT IT: George Horton managed his 600th game as the Titan head coach, winning career game number 422 on March 24. "The Commisioner", Horton has posted a career record of 422-179-1, good for a .702 winning percentage in his tenth year at the reins of the Titans.

SNAP! Blake Davis had his hitting streak of 17 games snapped with an 0-for-3 performance Sunday afternoon versus Long Beach State. The junior hit a team-leading .394 over that span, collecting 26 hits, including a home run, four doubles, two triples and 11 RBI.

GOOSE EGGS: After starting the season with a 13-game hitting streak that saw David Cooper (Stockton, Calif.) hit .394 (12-for-38), the freshman has fell on hard times as of late. The designated hitter has gone 0-fer his last 22 without an RBI or a sacrifice bunt. The last game in which Copper got a hit, he went 4-for-5 in a game that saw him hit his first-career home run.

CATCHING UP WITH JOHN: In a fitting gesture to arguably the most improved offensive player of last year, John Curtis was added to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission on Mar. 14. The Bench Award goes to the best collegiate catcher in the country, an honor former Titan Kurt Suzuki won in 2004. Curtis, who hit just .208 and .234 in his first two seasons in pinstripes, has vastly improved his offensive skills and is currently hitting .313 and is among the team leaders in RBI with 15. Over the last 10 games, Curtis leads the team with a .438 average, going 14-for 32 including three doubles and five RBI.

NEXT STOP... SILVA:Reliever Vinnie Pestano has broken into the middle of the pack on the all-time career appearance list with 18 so far this year and 82 in his three-year career at Fullerton. He currently sits at No. 6 trailing current Volunteer Assistant Coach Ted Silva, who tallied 94 between 1993 and 1995. Pestano also Trails Silva in career saves by just two. Pestano currently sits in the No. 4 spot behind his coach with 24 career saves while silva remains No. 3 for the Time being with 26. Vinnie is just three saves off his career-high 13-save season, set last year as a sophomore that again tied him with Silva for the third-best single-season save total behind Chad Cordero (14, 2001) and Scott Wright (22, set in 1984).

RED ALERT:Having played in every one of the Titans' 28 games thus far, senior Justin Turner has broken his way into the all-time top 10 in games played at Cal State Fullerton. "Red" has taken the field 216 times in his four-year career, placing him tied for sixth place all-time with another four-year second baseman Jason Corapci (216 games from 2000-03). If Red can stay healthy, he could reach as high as the No. 2 spot behind the NCAA record holder, former Titan John Fishel (295 games from 1982-85). Turner Has also broken the 500 assist mark as a Titan, a feat only two other Titans have accomplished. Turner has 34 on the season and 507 in his career. He sits behind only Shane Turner (636 from 1982-85) and record holder David Bacani (673 from 1998-2001). Turner also sits tied for fifth with 768 career at-bats, and sixth all-time with 38 hit by pitches.