May 5, 2009
PLAY BALL: Cal State Fullerton plays its most significant series in San Luis Obispo in memory this weekend as the Titans and Cal Poly clash in a 3-game battle for Big West Conference standings and national rankings. But first the Titans have two mid-week games at home with Arizona.
Cal Poly, Fullerton and Long Beach State are in a virtual tie for second place in the Big West behind runaway leader UC Irvine. The Titans' final six Big West games are against the Mustangs and 49ers. Cal Poly is ranked No. 12 in this week's Baseball America poll, which kept the Titans at No. 6 after a week which saw them lose to USC (9-3) on Wednesday but bounced back to sweep UC Santa Barbara (7-2, 5-4 and 15-3) and likely knock the Gauchos out of NCAA playoff contention.
Cal Poly is 20-2 at home this year while the Titans are 19-4 away from Goodwin Field.
THIS WEEK'S PITCHING ROTATION:
CSF: LHP, Kevin Rath (2-1, 5.87 ERA)
CSF: RHP, Daniel Renken (6-2, 2.27 ERA)
CSF: RHP, Noe Ramirez (5-1, 2.80 ERA)
CSF: Tyler Pill (8-1, 3.21 ERA)
LAST WEEK: There was a distinct flavor to each of Fullerton's games last week. On Wednesday, the Titans' pitching faltered and their luck on the basepaths was dreadful. On Friday, the pitching was dominant. On Saturday, they enjoyed their first winning rally of the season from a 9th-inning deficit. And on Sunday they did just about everything in fine fashion.
Freshman Ricky Oropesa hit a pair of home runs off Kyle Witten on Wednesday that staked the Trojans to a 5-1 lead that the Titans couldn't seriously threaten despite a streak that saw 12 of 16 batters reach base during the fourth through seventh innings but only one run go up on the board. Two double plays, a caught stealing and a rundown play quelled rallies.
Daniel Renken came within inches of a 1-hit shutout on Friday vs. UCSB. He had two out in the ninth when John DeAlba sliced a ball into left-centerfield that Josh Fellhauer just missed catching with a diving attempt. The ball fell for a 2-run double and Ryan Ackland had to come in and get the final out. Fullerton earlier had erupted for 6 runs on 10 hits against UCSB ace Joe Gardner, who lost for the first time all season.
On Saturday night, the Titans squandered a 3-0 lead built mostly on Jared Clark's 2-run home run and were looking at a 4-3 deficit in the bottom of the ninth. But a walk, a bunt single, a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk set the stage for Fellhauer, who earlier in the week had minor surgery on a finger and had missed his first game of the year on Wednesday night. He ripped a 1-0 pitch into right field for a 2-run single that gave Fullerton a 1-10 record in games in which it trailed after 8 innings.
Freshman Tyler Pill cruised to his eighth win on Sunday as the Titans erupted for 13 runs in the middle innings. Fellhauer and Christian Colon each drove in four runs. A 3-run home run in the seventh following a walk and a hit batsman spoiled Pill's bid for a third shutout.
VERSUS ARIZONA: The Titans hold an all-time 59-33 advantage over the University of Arizona dating back to the two team's first meeting back in 1977. The Titans and Wildcats have met up five times in the post season (1978 USC Regional - CSF Loss, 3-7; 1979 CWS - CSF Win, 16-3; 2005 Fullerton Regional - CSF loss 5-6, CSF Win 7-2, CSF win 6-3 ), with Fullerton holding a slight edge of 3-2. The two teams also met in the 1979 College World Series, with the Titans coming out on top, 16-3 en route to their first NCAA National Championship that year. Since 2004 the Titans and Wildcats have met up 18 times with the Titans coming out on top 11 times. Last year, the Titans were in Tucson when the Wildcats were ranked No. 1 in the country, and dropped the series, two games to one (3-8, 2-6, 10-7).
PILL CHASING CSF FRESHMAN RECORD: Tyler Pill inched himself one step closer to a freshman record for wins with his eight victory Sunday afternoon. The Titan record for most wins by a rookie belongs to Dustin Miller (2003) and Dave Weatherman (1978) with nine wins.
A WINNING TRADITION: With a win on May 1 over UC Santa Barbara, The Titans won their 30th game of the season, marking the 35th consecutive season (in 35 years at the Div. I level) with 30-or-more victories. No Titan team at the Div. I level has ever finished with a losing record. The worst season in the program's history came in 1989 when Larry Cochell's squad went 30-27. Fullerton has posted 40-or-more wins 23 times, 50-or-more eight times and 60-or-more twice (1979 and 1984 championship seasons).
TITANS TIBITS FROM SANTA BARBARA SERIES: &\#149; Jared Clark was caught stealing for the first time this season on Sunday versus UC Santa Barbara on a busted hit-and-run play. Clark, who was 10-for-19 in his career heading into this season, had stolen 12 straight before getting gunned down by the Gauchos. &\#149; The Titans tripled up on UC Santa Barbara in runs this weekend scoring 27 times to the Gaucho's nine. Fullerton hit .315 in the three-game series, while the pitching staff held the Gauchos to just a .167 average. &\#149; Six Titans hit .400 or better in the Big West Series with UCSB, with Joey Siddons leading the pack with five total hits. Khris Davis led the team with a. 444 average (4-for-9) with three stolen bases. Jared Clark had six RBI in the three-game set and seven on the week. &\#149; Fullerton used just three relief pitchers in the three-game series vs. UCSB, and Ryan Ackland, Kyle Mertins and Nick Ramirez combined for three innings of scoreless relief, surrendering just one hit.
TITANS AT HOME: &\#149; The Titans are 13-8 (.619) THIS YEAR AT Goodwin Field. The worst single-season record at home is 20-11 (.645) in 2000. &\#149; The Titans have outscored their opponents 130-106 at home. &\#149; The sweep of UC Santa Barbara last weekend was the first Big West Conference series win at Goodwin Field for the Titans in 2009. Previously, the Titans lost a pair of Big West series against UC Irvine and Pacific. &\#149; Christian Colon, at .423, is hitting 90 points higher than the next best home hitter, Khris Davis, at home. &\#149; Christian Colon leads the team with 33 hits at Goodwin Field with five doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs. &\#149; Jared Clark has a whopping 26 RBI at Goodwin Field this year, and has also hit three home runs. Khris Davis is the only hitter with more home runs at home with five. &\#149; Billy Marcoe, in limited playing time, has posted a .469 average (15-for-32) with a pair of doubles and seven RBI in 14 games at Goodwin. &\#149; From the mound, Daniel Renken and Tyler Pill have each collected three wins, with Renken baffling hitters with a .185 batting average against and a miniscule 1.96 ERA in 41.1 IP. &\#149; The Titans have drawn 45,352 fans in attendance over 21 dates at Goodwin Field this year for an average of 2,159 per game. &\#149; Gary Brown has a seven-game home hitting streak.
MORE ON GAMES AT GOODWIN FIELD: &\#149; The Titans won their 400th home game on May 3, with a 15-3 win over UC Santa Barbara at Goodwin Field. The Titans are now 400-130 (.755) all-time at Goodwin Field (formerly Titan Field) dating back to the 1992 season. &\#149; The 2003 Titans posted the best home record in the 18-year history of the park, going 32-3 (.914) &\#149; Goodwin Field has been the setting for seven NCAA Regionals (with Fullerton winning six of them) since the first in 2000. &\#149; The home of the Titans has also played host for seven Super Regionals since the first on in 2001. The Titans have advanced to Omaha with Super Regional wins five times in front of home crowds.
NICK ON THE MOUND: Nick Ramirez's bat has certainly cooled off since the first half of the season, but on the mound things are heating up for the freshman. Since a rough season-opening weekend, Nick has posted a 1.09 ERA, allowing just three earned runs in 24.2 innings of work over 11 appearances. He has struck out 15 and walked just four in those 24.2 innings and has also tallied a pair of saves.
FRESHMAN HURLERS DOMINATING: Dave Serrano has sent five freshmen to the mound in 2009 and has received quite a resounding effort. Tyler Pill, Noe Ramirez, Nick Ramirez, Derrick Dingeman and Colin O'Connell have combined for a 16-3 record and a 2.90 ERA in return in 183 innings. And better yet, since the opening weekend that taxed the entire Fullerton pitching staff, the rookie corps they are 16-2 with a 2.51 ERA. Pill and the two Ramirezs (not related) have handled much of the freshman workload, but the five have combined for a 4.62-to-1 srikeout-to-walk ratio as well (134-to-29).
STREAKING TITANS: Gary Brown has the longest current Titan hitting streak at 11 games (18-for-41, .439, 2 HR, 8 RBI). Joey Siddons (8-for-17, .471) has the next closest streak at four games. Christian has the longest streak of the season at 13 games while Brown and Jared Clark each had 12-gamers.
HOME RUN TRIO?: The Titans have a chance to have three players in double digits in home runs in the same season for the first time since 1999 when Ryan Owens hit 23, Spencer Oborn hit 14 and Reed Johnson hit 13. Khris Davis leads the current team with 9, Jared Clark follows with 8 and Nick Ramirez has 7. The Titans have had as many as four players in double digits (on three occasions). In five of the last nine seasons they have had zero players in double figures.