Titans Travel North to Take on Gauchos

May 1, 2008

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BATTER UP: The Titans moved up three spots in Baseball America's national poll to No. 12, and proceeded to beat its No. 8 team in San Diego in impressive fashion. Fullerton (27-15, 11-4) took care of the Toreros 12-3 in tuning up for a key Big West Conference weekend series against UC Santa Barbara (29-14, 8-4) in Goleta.

FRIDAY, MAY 2 AT UC SANTA BARBARA, 2 p.m.
CSF: RHP, Jeff Kaplan, 7-1, 4.50 ERA
UCSB: RHP, MIke Ford, 5-3, 2.84 ERA

SATURDAY, MAY 3 AT UC SANTA BARBARA, 1 p.m.
CSF: RHP, Daniel Renken, 4-3, 3.02 ERA
UCSB: LHP, Mario Hollands, 5-2, 3.12 ERA

SUNDAY, MAY 4 AT UC SANTA BARBARA, 2 p.m.
CSF: RHP, Cory Arbiso, 8-2, 4.11 ERA
UCSB: LHP, Chuck Huggins, 7-1, 3.38 ERA

VS UC SANTA BARBARA: The Titans are leading the all-time series at the Div. I level versus the Gauchos 83-30 since their first meeting in 1976. The Gauchos are currently riding a two-game winning streak against the Titans, winning the final two of the three-game conference set at Goodwin Field last year. The Titans took the first and third game of the 2006 series the last time they traveled to Santa Barbara in 2006, May 5, 6, and 7.

SPECIAL POWERS: Khris Davis has found a special niche when it comes to pinch-hitting powers. Three of the sophomore's four home runs have come as a pinch hitter including late in Tuesday night's (Apr. 29) game vs. San Diego. His only non-pinch-hit long ball came on Apr. 1 at LMU, a game in which he started.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Junior outfielder Erik Komatsu owns the opponent best pitchers in the opening game of three-game series. The left-handed hitting Komatsu has posted a .524 batting average (22-for-42) including four doubles, three triples and two home runs. To go along with that, Komatsu has driven in 16 runs and has a slugging percentage of .905. The Camarillo native has also reached base via three walks, three HBPs and also has 2 sac-flies to his credit over the 10 weekend openers thus far.

THE LAST 10 GAMES: Who has been the most productive Titan over the last 10 games? In RBI totals, its Erik Komatsu (10) and Josh Fellahuer (9). In hits ... its Fellhauer (15 hits, .341 average). Fellhauer and Christian Colon (14 hits) have combined for 29 hits over the last 10 games. In extra base hits...Fellhauer and Jared Clark each have five. Clark has five doubles to his credit, while Fellhauer has spread it around with two doubles, a triple and two homers. From the mound, Jeff Kaplan and Cory Arbiso have both picked up a pair of wins while Kaplan has struck out 17 while only surrendering two walks. Daniel Renken has an ERA of 1.20 in 15 innings of work.

IN COMPARISON: Coach Serrano predicted in the fall this year's team wouldn't hit their stride until conference play, and it seems that his predictions may have come true. The Titans posted a 9-8 record to start the season and were struggling to find their identity. Over the past 25 games, Fullerton is 18-7 and has hit, fielded and pitched better than they did over the first 17 games.

GREAT SCOTT!!! Junior Joe Scott made his return to the starting lineup Tuesday night (Apr. 29) for the first time since last year's College World Series. Scott, who started the season on the injured list with a sports hernia, has seen limited time late in games mostly at second base for defensive purposes. Scott will bring experience to the Titan down the stretch. The Corona native has posted a .278 batting average (5-for-18) in 22 games thus far. His best effort this season was a 2-for-2 day with an RBI and a run scored, Apr. 18 at Pacific.

BIG GAME PITCHER: Senior Jeff Kaplan has been at his best and has come through for the Titans in three starts against Top 5 teams in the nation. The right-hander has gone 2-0 in three starts against No. 3 UCLA, No. 1 Arizona and No. 5 UC Irvine posting a 2.70 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched. He picked up wins against the Bruins and Anteaters and held the top-ranked Wildcats to two runs on eight hits over 6.1 innings in the no-decision. The senior has put together a fine season so far, posting a 7-1 record with a 3.89 ERA in 10 starts. He also ranks fifth in the Big West Conference with 62 strikeouts. Kaplan is a winner in each of his last six starts that includes five conference openers and an eight-inning win last weekend over second-place UC Davis.

SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALRIGHT (FOR FIGHTING): The Titans are 3-7 overall on Saturdays and 2-5 since freshman Daniel Renken joined the official weekend rotation on March 15 at Arizona. It is not like Renken is pitching poorly. The righty is averaging 6.1 innings per outing and is allowing an average of 3.6 earned runs per start. It's the run support. Since Renken's Mar. 15 start, the Titan offense is scoring just 4.86 runs for the right-hander as opposed to 7.60 runs for Cory Arbiso (Sunday), and 9.27 for Jeff Kaplan (Friday). Fullerton has lost four Saturday conference games by no more than two runs. Renken is 4-3 on the year with the team's second-best ERA of 3.02 in 59.2 innings.

BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR ARBISO: Sunday's daylight has treated Cory Arbiso (8-2) well since being moved to the Sunday slot in the Titans rotation back on Mar. 9. The right-hander from La Mirada has recorded eight straight wins and has averaged 7 innings in each of his starts. The junior posted his first complete game on Mar. 30 where he fanned a career high 10 hitters as he seven-hit UC Riverside. He has also posted wins over No. 1 Arizona and No. 5 UC Irvine in that slot in the rotation. Arbiso started the season as the Saturday night pitcher, but was moved to Sunday when Daniel Renken broke into rotation. Arbiso ranks 14th in nation just 1.1 walks per nine innings. He is currently tied for 1st in the Big West Conference (With UCI's Scott Gorgen) and 7th in the nation with eight wins.

GIVING HIMSELF UP: Freshman Christian Colon is doing his job in the No. 2 spot in the Titan lineup, droping down 14 sacrifice bunts to rank 5th in the nation. The shortstop from Corona is also listed as 6th in the country in sacs per game (0.34). Fullerton, as a team, is fourth in the country with 56 sacrifice bunts on the year. Creighton leads the NCAA with 67.

BADGE OF HONOR: Eight more Titans were hit-by-pitch last week versus Arizona State and UC Davis and three more by San Diego on Tuesday, bringing the Titans Big West Conference leading total to 89. The Titans entered the week ranked 2nd in the nation in hit by pitches (86) trailing South Florida by eight doses for the nation's top spot. Christina Colon is leading the bruised (most in the Big West) with 11 HBPs, while Dustin Garneau trails by one with 10.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU? Freshman Gary Brown struggled offensively for the first 23 games of the year, hitting just .197 (.12-for-61) in 21 games (16 starts) in the outfield and at second base. Early on, Brown's speed (seven stolen bases) and extra ability defensively seemed to keep him in the lineup. Over the past 19 games, however, Brown has stepped his offense up, hitting .3317 (20-for-63) in 19 starts, tallying three doubles, two triples, two home runs and 12 RBI over that span. He has posted eight multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games and has stolen three during that window as well. Brown Is now hitting .258 with 10 stolen bases (tied for second-most on the team).

THE RUNNING GAME: Despite going 6-for-15 in stolen base attempts in the last six games, the Titans remain atop the Big West Conference with 83 total steals. Josh Fellhauer and Erik Komatsu lead the Titans with 13 bags each. Gary Brown and Khris Davis are tied for next in line with 10 each. Fullerton stole its 53rd base in its 21st game, tying last year's total set in 63 games.