Titans in Stockton to Take on Tigers

May 3, 2012

PLAY BALL: After last weekend's hiatus, the  No. 8 Titans are back in action this weekend against Pacific in a three-game Big West Conference series at Klein Family Field.

In their second to the last midweek game of the year on Tuesday, Fullerton avenged an ugly, 7-4 loss at Dedeaux Field back on Mar. 6. Michael Lorenzen had two doubles, a triple, two RBI, a run scored and a save in the Titans' 4-2 victory. Koby Gauna (4-3) got the win as seven Titan arms outdueled five Southern California arms that walked 12 and hit two on the night.

Fullerton (26-14, 9-3) currently sits percentage points ahead of Long Beach State (21-20, 11-4) in the league standings despite having not played the same number of games. That, however, will work itself out this weekend as the 49ers are idle in Big West action and will take on LMU in a split home/away series, Saturday-Monday.

Pacific (11-31, 1-11) has dropped seven in a row and has lost 15 of its last 18 games. The Tigers have been swept in three of their four Big West series thus far, with UC Davis dropping the only game to the Tigers, 1-0 on Apr. 15. Pacific has won just one series all year, a four-game sweep of Brown University (Mar. 24-26).

The Titans lost by one run in last week's only action, a 6-5 decision at LMU. An eighth-inning solo home run by Shon Roe off Dimitri DeLa Fuente was the difference. A four-run fourth put the Titans up 4-2, but the Lions evened it up in their half of the inning off Koby Gauna, and tacked on runs in the seventh and eighth off of Christian Coronado and DeLaFuente for the win. Richy Pedroza had three hits in the defeat.

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FOLLOW THE GAMES: All three games this weekend will have audio (fullertontitans.com) and video (bigwest.tv) broadcasts available. You can follow the game on your computer via Pacific's Live Stats feature at pacifictigers.com. Remember you can access the Titans' audio broadcasts via your iPhone or Android smart phone by accessing fullertontitans.com

THIS WEEKEND IN TITAN BASEBALL
May 4 at Pacific (Klein Family Field), 6 p.m.
May 5 at Pacific (Klein Family Field), 6 p.m.
May 6 at Pacific (Klein Family Field), 1 p.m.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCH-UPS
FRIDAY
CSF - RHP Dylan Floro (6-3, 2.28 ERA)
PAC - RHP Michael Benson (2-6, 3.34ERA)
SATURDAY
CSF - LHP Kenny Mathews (4-0, 3.77 ERA)
PAC - LHP Travis Lumby (1-3, 7.65 ERA)
SUNDAY
CSF - RHP Grahamm Wiest (3-3, 3.02 ERA)
PAC - RHP Mike Hager (3-4, 4.67 ERA)

VS PACIFIC: All but two of the Titans' and Tigers' games have been played in conference dating back to the 1975 season. Both have been in the PCAA/Big West at the same time. From 1977 to 1985 the two teams met twice up while the Tigers played in the NCBA. Fullerton played their games in the SCBA. Overall the Titans have a 75-12 all-time record against the Tigers and 75-12 in conference. Fullerton is 36-5 at Pacific. Klein Family Field is in its 7th season in existence and the Titans actually played the first weekend series at the new park from Apr. 21-23, 2006, sweeping the Tigers, 8-1, 11-1, 8-4. Since then, the Titans are 8-1 in Stockton. Pacific has done its share of damage against the Titans in conference over the last three seasons despite the historical dominance of the Titans at the Div. I level. Pacific has gone 4-5 against the Titans since 2009, and won is first-ever series against the Titans in 2009 at Goodwin Field. Prior to 2009, the Titans had rattled off 19 consecutive victories and were victorious in 29 of its previous 30 games.

MICHAEL SAVES: Sophomore Michael Lorenzen's 13 saves ranks him tied for fourth on the Titans' all-time single-season record list with former closers Vinnie Pestano (2005 and 2006) and Ted Silva (1994). With his next save he will tie the "Chief," Chad Cordero for third on the single-season list. Three more will tie him with Nick Ramirez (2011). The all-time single-season saves leader for the Titans is Scott Wright, who nailed down 22 saves in 1984. Lorenzen came into the week tied for 6th in the nation with Florida's Austin Maddox (12 each), but has now moved into at least a tie for fifth in the nation. Everyone is chasing the nation's leader, Michael Wagner (San Diego), who has 19 saves going into the weekend. Lorenzen is 2-0, with an ERA of 1.56 in 17.1 innings (16 appearances). The right-hander, in his first season on the mound, converted his first 12 saves of the year before blowing one, and subsequently earning the win, on Apr. 22 against Cal Poly.

LEADING THE NATION: Coming into the week, the Titan pitching staff continues to lead the nation in fewest walks per nine innings, surrendering just 1.82 free passes a game. The Titans are led by Dylan Floro (7th in the country, .85 bb/9inn.) and Koby Gauna (22nd, 1.08 bb/9inn.). The pitching staff also ranks fourth in the country in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 3.44-to-1. Dylan Floro ranks 15th (7:1) among the top 100 pitchers in the country.

STARS AND STRIPES: Michael Lorenzen recently accepted an invitation from USA Baseball to compete with the Collegiate National Team for the second straight year. He will be coached by former Titan players/coaches Dave Serrano, George Horton (assistant coach) and Jason Gill. Serrano, now with Tennessee, will manage Team USA while Horton (Oregon) and Gill (LMU) will assist. This year, Lorenzen and the CNT will play 10 games in and around North Carolina before heading to Cuba for a five games and then to The Netherlands for the Honkbal-Haarlem Baseball Week at Prim Mulier Stadium.

GAME WINNERS: With an RBI-groundout in Tuesday's win over USC, Anthony Hutting took over the team lead in game-winning runs batted in. Both Hutting and Carlos Lopez went into Tuesday's game with four game-winners to pace the squad. Now Hutting stands alone with a team-high 5 GWRBI. Both have had walk-off hits added to their resumes too. Hutting's came on Apr. 6 against UC Davis. His pinch-hit single to left won the Saturday night game at Goodwin Field. Lopez did it in the Titans last conference home game, drilling an RBI-double to score Michael Lorenzen from first in the bottom of the 10th to take the series from Cal Poly on Apr. 22.

WATCHING THE WATCH LISTS: Outfielder Michael Lorenzen was projected as the Titans' only preseason All-American coming in to the 2012 season, but no one knew he would figure in pitcher of the year recognition too. In his first season as the Titans' closer, the Anaheim native has found himself on the watch lists for both the Stopper of the Year (NCBWA) and the Pitcher of the Year (College Baseball Foundation).

GOLDEN SPIKES WATCH: Sophomore outfielder Michael Lorenzen and junior pitcher Dylan Floro were both listed on the initial and midseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List for the award that goes to the top college baseball athlete in the nation. The Titans, along with Arizona State, have had three winners of the award over the years dating back to the 1978 season. Tim Wallach (.391, 23 HR, 102 RBI) was the Titans' first winner in 1979. He was followed by Phil Nevin (.402, 22 HR and 86 RBI) in 1992 and Mark Kotsay (.422, 21 HR, 91 RBI) in 1995.

RPI UPDATE: According to Boyd Nation at Boydsworld.com, the Titans currently rank No. 12 (.609) in the website's pseudo RPI rankings. Fullerton was ranked 13th in the NCAA's official RPI released on Tuesday afternoon before the Titans' game with USC.

SOS UPDATE: According to Boyd Nation at BoydsWorld.com, the Titans have slid into the No. 6 slot in terms of strength of schedule and currently ranks 12th in his Iterative Strength Ratings (ISR) updated daily. The ISRs are the author's best attempt at an objective rating system which covers all Division I teams. More information about the rating system - including past results so that you can get a feel for how accurate they are, a technical description of the methods used, and information about the author - can be found at BoydsWorld.com Records listed are those against Division I competition only.

IN A PINCH: The Titans are hitting .277 (13-for-47) in the pinch hitting department as a team led by junior outfielder Anthony Hutting and sophomore Greg Velazquez. Hutting has had 8 opportunities to come off the bench and help the team and he has reached base in 6 of this opportunities. overall he is 3-for-5 (.600) as a pitch hitter, but he has also reached twice via the walk and once on an error. His first career home run came as a pinch hitter and on Apr. 6 vs. UC Davis, his single drove home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, capping a three-run inning to record the Titans' second straight comeback win... Velazquez is 3-for-4 in PH opportunities. The Titans have had two other game-winning pinch hits in 2012 including: Jesse Jenner's 8th inning bloop single (first career AB) that won it on Feb. 25 against nationally ranked TCU and Clay Williamson's two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning on Apr. 5 against UC Davis. The two runs that scored on the single to center were Williams' first two career RBI.

TITAN TIDBITS:
&\#149; Cal State Fullerton has won nine consecutive series since an opening weekend series loss to then-top ranked Florida. Two of those series wins came by way of the three-game sweep (UC Davis and Utah Valley).

&\#149; The Titans need a sweep to reach the 30-win plateau this weekend in Stockton. If they do, it will be the 38th consecutive season with 30-or-more victories for the Titans.

&\#149; Fullerton has no significant hitting streaks heading into this weekend's series at Pacific. Austin Kingsolver has hit in three straight and Anthony Trajano and Richy Pedroza both have very modest two-game streaks. Carlos Lopez and Anthony Hutting both went hitless in Tuesday's game with USC to snap four-game streaks.

&\#149; In picking up his 13th save on Tuesday night, Michael Lorenzen touched 98 on the radar gun for the first time this season. He mostly worked in the 96-97 mile per hour range, but hit 98 on his last pitch of the night to strikeout USC's Alex Sherrod and end the game.

&\#149; The Titans' hottest hitter over the last five games has been Michael Lorenzen. The sophomore has gone 8-for-20 (.400) with five extra base hits (4 doubles, 1 triple) and 5 RBI. In that same five-game stretch, Anthony Hutting and Ivory Thomas have driven in four runs each, and Carlos Lopez and Richy Pedroza have each collected seven hits each.

&\#149; Junior Dylan Floro has not given up more than two earned runs in his last eight appearances (49 IP, six starts). He has only given up more than two earned runs on two occasions this season (12 appearances, 10 starts). Floro has also worked 8.0-or-more innings in 7 of his 10 starts this season and has a 7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (49:7).

&\#149; As a team, the Titans are hitting nearly the same against both righties (.273) and lefties (.283). They will see two right-handers and a lefty this weekend against Pacific.

&\#149; The Titans were hitting .265 after game 20 and topped out at .281 on Apr. 7 vs. UC Davis. Since then there has been a plateau from around .277-.279 and has dipped to .276 heading into this weekend's series in Stockton. The team average is as low as it has been over the last 18 games.

&\#149; The Titans are averaging 9.10 hits and 5.05 runs per game in 2012. The opponents are averaging 8.76 hits and 3.71 runs against them.

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 664-231-1 (.742) conference record over 38 seasons (including 2012) 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.