April 6, 2011
PLAY BALL: After a 13-3 route of Pepperdine on Tuesday, No. 12 Cal State Fullerton (21-8, 3-0) must get back to business against UC Irvine (19-8, 3-0) in Big West Conference action this weekend at home.
Both team are perfect atop the Big West Conference standings, with this early series figuring to de a deciding factor in the standings later in the year. Last season, the Titans took two of three from the Anteaters and went on to win the conference by four games.
Fullerton is riding a season-best nine-game winning streak and has won 13 of its last 14 ball games dating back to the 0-4 road trip to LSU and Texas A&M.
The Anteaters, ranked in three of the four major poll/rankings, come into the weekend just outside of the Baseball America Top 25 on a five-game winning streak of their own. Irvine beat a struggling San Diego team on Tuesday, 5-0.
Apr. 8 vs. UC Irvine (Goodwin Field), 7 p.m.
Follow the Game:
Gametracker / Internet Audio / BigWest.tv
Probable Pitching Match-Up:
CSF: RHP, Jake Floethe (3-1, 1.52 ERA)
UCI: RHP, Matt Summers (3-2, 2.45 ERA)
Apr. 9 vs. UC Irvine (Goodwin Field), 6 p.m.
Follow the Game:
Gametracker / Internet Audio / BigWest.tv
Probable Pitching Match-Up:
CSF: RHP, Noe Ramirez (4-2, 2.11 ERA)
UCI: RHP, Andrew Thurmond (1-2, 3.29 ERA)
LAST WEEKEND: Fullerton pitching allowed Davis only 2 runs and 18 hits while striking out 26 in the series. The Titans have won the last 10 meetings with the Aggies.
ON TUESDAY VS. PEPPERDINE: Carlos Loez drove home 5 runs (3-run home run, 2-run single) in a 9-run fourth inning as the Titans had to come from behind to beat the Waves 13-3 in non-conference action on Tuesday evening. David Hurlbut (2 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K), the first of four relievers behind starter Colin O'Connell (4 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 7 H), got the win and improved to 2-0. Christian Coronado, Raymond Hernandez and Chris Devenski combined for three hitless innings with Hernandez striking out the side in the eighth. Richy Pedroza also had a bases loaded-triple in the fourth.
LAST WEEKEND: On Friday, Jake Floethe allowed only 2 hits over 8 innings while the Titans erupted for 16 hits led by Joe Terry's 4-for-4 effort. Walker Moore made his pitching debut with a hitless ninth but he did hit one batter and walk another.
On Saturday, four Titans combined on a 9-hit shutout. Noe Ramirez went the first five innings, Dylan Floro went 1 1/3, Ray Hernandez went 1 2/3 to get the win and Ryan Ackland pitched the ninth. It was a scoreless game until the eighth inning when Chad Wallach's single set up Nick Ramirez' sacrifice fly. The Titans then erupted for 6 runs in the top of the ninth capped by a Nick Ramirez home run.
Tyler Pill matched his career high with 11 strikeouts in a 7-inning effort Sunday that was rewarded with a "W" when the Titans rallied for 3 late runs, overcoming a 2-1 deficit. Blake Barber's double was the key hit in a 2-run seventh and Michael Lorenzen doubled home an insurance run in the eighth. Floro pitched the eighth and Nick Ramirez pitched the ninth for his 24th career save.
LAST TUESDAY: Tyler Pill and Carlos Lopez each knocked in a pair of runs and Raymond Hernandez pitched three scoreless innings to save a 5-3 win over UCLA in the teams' first meeting since the 2010 Super Regional. O'Connell bounced back from two tough starts to go 6 innings and allow only 3 runs (2 earned). The Titans have now beat the Bruins in 40 of their last 49 meetings.
VS UC IRVINE: Fullerton is 69-23 all-time against UC Irvine dating back to the 1976 season. UCI's program was reinstated in 2002 after a 10-year hiatus, and Fullerton has gone 19-12 against them, 7-2 with John Savage as their head coach, 7-6 with Dave Serrano as their head coach and 5-4 with current head coach Mike Gillespie at the helm. Fullerton holds advantages both at home (30-14) and on the road (34-8) including edges at Goodwin Field (9-8) and Anteater Ballpark (12-4). Fullerton holds a 60-21 all-time conference record (SCBA and Big West) against the Anteaters and a 37-17 all-time in Big West play. The two teams met up in the postseason just once, and that was in the 2007 College World Series, where they set the record for the longest game (time) ever played at the CWS. Irvine won the game 5-4 in extra innings and eliminated the Titans from the series.
TITANS SWEEP WEEKLY HONORS: Outstanding performances by Cal State Fullerton's Nick Ramirez and Jake Floethe earned the duo Big West Conference Player/Pitcher of the Week honors for the Week ending Apr. 3. Both Titans contributed to the team's perfect 4-0 week over nationally-ranked UCLA and a series sweep of Big West competitor UC Davis.
Ramirez led the Titans in hits (6), RBI (tied with 4), home runs (1), total bases (9), average (.500), slugging (.755) and on base percentage (.588) over the four game span. On Tuesday, Ramirez was hit by a pitch twice and scored a run in the close 5-3 win over the nationally-ranked Bruins and then collected hits in all three games against the Aggies. On Saturday, his eighth inning sac-fly drove home the game winner and he later homered in the ninth. On Sunday, he was 3-for-3 but his last at bat was the significant one when he was hit by a pitch and then scored the game-winning run. He also pitched the final inning for his sixth save.
Floethe faced just 3 batters over the minimum over 8 innings as he two-hit Davis on Friday afternoon. Floethe surrendered a hit in the third that was almost caught by his left fielder, and a second to a pinch hitter in his final inning of work. The righty did walk two, but induced three double plays, two of which got him out of innings. With the combined shutout, Floethe lowered his Big West leading ERA to a minuscule 1.52 over 40-plus innings of work.
TAKING A DOS: The Titans have been hit by 52 pitches through 29 games (Top 15 in the country), putting them on pace to finish with 100 by season's end. If they reach the 100 HBP plateau, it will be just the sixth time in school history that will have happened. Fullerton holds three of the top 20 records in NCAA history when it comes to HBPs and rank as high as 6th all-time with 124 doses in 2009.
RACKING UP THE SACS: The Titans are also on pace to near the 100 plateau when it comes to sacrifice bunts. As it stands, Fullerton has given itself up 50 times through 29 games. Only four teams in the history of the NCAA have recorded 100 or more sacrifice bunts. Fullerton is in the Top 3 in the nation currently. Austin Kingsolver (8), Jared Deacon (7) and Matt Orloff (6) are leading the way in sacrifice bunts with six more players with three or more.
&\#149; Titan first baseman Nick Ramirez struggled at the plate for the first month of the season but has made quite a turn-around since returning from the LSU/Texas A&M road trip. In the ensuing 14 games, Ramirez has hit .356 (16-for-45) with 3 home runs and 14 RBI. The current Big West Player of the Week is now hitting .288 overall and leads the team with 22 RBI.
&\#149; The Titan pitching staff allowed just 4 earned runs in 36 innings last week translating into an ERA of 1.00 against UCLA and UC Davis. Nine Titan pitchers made their way to the mound last week, with just two (Pill - 2 ER in 7.0 IP and Colin O'Connell - 2 ER in 6.0 IP) allowing runs.
&\#149; Fullerton looks to have cleaned up its defensive efforts since its string of games that saw the team commit 12 errors over a five game span (Mar. 6 to 15). Since then, the Titans have made just 15 errors over their last 14 ball games and have gone errorless in 5 of their last 8. Fullerton is 13-0 when they are errorless in a game.
&\#149; Fullerton will play its first Sunday home game this weekend. Rain washed away the team's other two opportunities earlier this year.
&\#149; Since returning to the line-up on an everyday basis (Mar. 18), two-way player Tyler Pill is tied for the second most number of hits on the team and has struck out the fewest number of times. The junior is hitting .317 over that span going 13-for-41 with three doubles, a triple and 7 RBI (in 13 games). In that timeframe, Pill has also hit for himself on pitching days and has goon 1-for-8 with two runs scored and one driven in in three games. In his career, Pill is hitting .414 (12-for-29) on days he pitches.
&\#149; In his last three starts on the mound, Tyler Pill has gone 3-0 with 2.11 ERA with a staggering 28-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio (28 strikeouts and just one walk). In his past two outings, Pill has produced back-to-back career-tying 11-strikeout performances.