Titans Return Home to Host 49ers

May 12, 2011

PLAY BALL: Cal State Fullerton (33-13, 14-4) returns home for the last regular season series at Goodwin Field against long-time rival and fourth place Long Beach State (24-22, 8-7).

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The Titans, who had lost four of six from Apr. 21 to Apr. 30 are winners of four of their last five and six of their last nine.

The Titans have not had a full roster of its regular players since before the series at Hawaii (Mar. 25 to 27) and continue to find setbacks on the injury front. The Titans saw ace right-hander Noe Ramirez (sprained ankle), outfielder Michael Lorenzen (sprained wrist) and Richy Pedroza (both left and right shoulders) return to the line-up last weekend at Riverside, only to see another of its key players, Anthony Trajano (hamstring), go down with injury. There is no timetable for Trajano's return. Lorenzen missed Tuesday's game at Pepperdine with soreness in his injured wrist.

THIS WEEKEND IN TITAN BASEBALL:
May 13 vs. Long Beach State (Goodwin Field), 7 p.m.
Follow the Game: GameTracker / Live Audio on fullertontitans.com
PITCHING PROBABLES:
CSF - RHP, Noe Ramirez (7-2, 1.86 ERA)
UCR - RHP, Andrew Gagnon (4-7, 2.73 ERA)

May 14 vs. Long beach State (Goodwin Field), 6 p.m.
Follow the Game: GameTracker / Live Audio on fullertontitans.com / BigWest.tv
CSF - RHP, Tyler Pill (5-1, 2.45 ERA)
UCR - LHP, Ryan Strufing (3-2, 3.92 ERA)

May 15 vs. Long Beach State (Goodwin Field), 1 p.m.
Follow the Game: GameTracker / Live Audio on fullertontitans.com / BigWest.tv
SUN CSF - RHP, Colin O'Connell (6-3, 2.85 ERA)
UCR - TBA

ON TUESDAY: Freshman Eric Karch collected his first three collegiate hits and sophomore Alex Najera held the Titans at bay for 6.1 innings on the mound to pick up his first career victory as Pepperdine evened the season series at 1-1 with a 7-0 shutout of the Titans in Malibu. Jake Floethe was touched for four runs on eight hits over five innings of work. Chris Devenski (2 runs) and Christian Coronado (1 run) allowed the other runs for Fullerton. Five Waves had multiple-hit games with Karch leading all players in just his fourth career game. He also led all players with three RBI. Ivory Thomas (2) and Austin Kingsolver (2) combined for four of the Titans' seven hits on the day. Nick Ramirez (9 games) and Tyler Pill (10 games) saw their hitting streaks come to an end.

LAST WEEKEND: Fullerton has a 2 1/2-game lead in the standings on UC Irvine and 4 games on third-place Cal Poly after the Titans registered their first series sweep at UC Riverside over the past weekend. The pitching staff allowed only 6 runs in 3 games.

Noe Ramirez was back in action on Friday after missing two weeks with an ankle injury. He allowed only 1 hit and 1 run in six innings and the Titans piled up 16 hits -- all singles -- for a 4-1 victory. Carlos Lopez's 2-run single in the first set the tone for the series. Dylan Floro pitched a scoreless seventh and Nick Ramirez went two scoreless innings for his 10th save.

The Titans did all of their scoring Saturday in the final three innings for a 5-3 victory that went to reliever Chris Devenski with Ramirez logging save No. 11. Greg Velasquez' 2-run pinch-hit single tied the game at 2-2 in the seventh. Ramirez' 8th homer of the year tied the game at 3-3 in the eighth and the Titans won it in the ninth. Michael Lorenzen and Richy Pedroza were aboard after singles and both scored on a Dustin Emmons' wild pitch.

Tyler Pill, who got a no-decision with 7 innings on Saturday, delivered the go-ahead RBI Sunday with an infield single for a 2-1 lead in the seventh. The Titans got an insurance run on Keegan Dale's RBI bunt single in the eighth and Ramirez got his third save of the weekend, surviving the second run he had allowed all season and getting the final out with the tying run at second. Colin O'Connell pitched three perfect innings of relief for the win after starter Floro flirted with trouble for five innings, allowing 10 hits but only one run. &\#8232;

VERSUS LONG BEACH STATE: The 49ers are coming off a rough 2010 season that saw them finish dead last in the Big West standings with a 23-32 overall record and a dismal 7-17 Big West campaign. This year, the 49ers are under new management with Troy Buckley at the helm after taking over for long-time Long Beach skipper Mike Weathers, who announced his retirement at the end of last season. The Titans and 49ers have met 175 times dating back to 1975 (the first season for the Titans at the Div. I level), with Fullerton winning two thirds of the games played (117-58). They have been just as dominant in conference match-ups, winning 91 games while losing just 46 throughout three different conference alignments (PCAA, SCBA and the Big West). The Titans have been very consistent in their dealings with the 49ers and have gone 58-29 at home and 58-28 on the road. In their more recent history, the Titans have won 20 of the last 26 meetings dating back to 2004. Under Dave Serrano, the Titans are 10-3 against the 49ers. Earlier this season, the Titans took two of three from the 49ers on the first weekend of play - a 2-1 win and a 8-5 loss at home and a 4-3 win at Blair Field.

THE RIVALRY: Despite the long history between Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, the rivalry between these two schools was at its height between 1989 and 2001 with Dave Snow at the helm of the 49er program and Augie Garrido and George Horton skippering the Titans. Over 13 season, Snow (a former Titan assistant coach under Garrido in the early years at the Div. I level) led the 49ers to its most prosperous times, not only overall (511-290-4, .637 and 4 College World Series appearances), but also against the Titans. Snow had a winning record against the Titans (31-30), but had a hard time doing it, watching the Titans winning nearly half of the 61 games played. Since Snow's departure (under Mike Weathers and now Troy Buckley), the 49ers have not fared nearly as well, going just 17-33 against the Titans under coaches Horton (1997-2007) and Dave Serrano (2008-present).

THE LAST TIME OUT WITH 49ERS:
(Feb. 19, 2011) Richy Pedroza's bases-loaded sac-fly in the bottom of the seventh inning was the difference in the Titans' 2-1 win over the 49ers in non-conference action at Goodwin Field. Noe Ramirez logged his first win (7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) and Nick Ramirez logged a two-inning save. Titans maximized five hits, two of which came off the bat of Joe Terry. Terry's RBI triple drove home Tyler Pill (who doubled) for the first of two big runs in the bottom of the seventh off of 49er ace Andrew Gagnon (7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K). Jonathan Kim had two of LB's seven hits and Mike Marjama drove home its only run.

(Feb. 20, 2011) Christian Coronado's debut went sideways (walk, hit batter, single) with all three batters he faced eventually coming around to score in a decisive five-run sixth inning as Long beach went on to win 8-5 at Goodwin Field. Dylan Floro tried to stop the bleeding, but was touched for 2 runs on four hits in just .2 of an inning. The Titans left 14 men on, 11 in scoring position, wasting an 18-hit attack. Richy Pedroza (4), Nick Ramirez (4), and Carlos Lopez (3) had 11 hits from the top four sports in the order. It took both teams 1:45 to complete three innings that included a 27 minute injury delay to home plate umpire Gary Gillman (concussion), possibly effecting starter Jake Floethe (5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) who looked sharp but also had to endure the delay. Joe Terry led the Titans with 2 RBI. LB's Matt Duffy was 3-for-5 with 3 RBI to lead LB to its first win over CSF in its last nine tries.

(Feb. 21, 2011) Walker Moore's pinch-hit double in the top of the seventh broke a 1-1 tie as the Titans went on to win its first series of the season, 4-3, and gave their head coach Dave Serrano his 250th career Div. I victory. Colin O'Connell bested Brandon Pinder (6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) with 7.0 innings of five-hit ball. He allowed just one run and struck out six without a walk. Despite giving up a pair of runs, Chris Devenski logged his first career save. Moore's double was followed by Michael Lorenzen's pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh to give the Titans a two-run cushion, and then Moore singled and came around to score the decisive run on three wild pitches in the ninth.

NIRAM'S BIG WEEKEND: Like most of the Titans, Nick Ramirez did not have gaudy numbers last weekend against a tough UC Riverside team in a key Big West series, but he did figure in all three of the games both at the plate and on the mound. The Anaheim native was 5-for-14 (.357) with a double, a home run and two RBI, AND also logged a save in all three games. On Friday night, Ramirez was 3-for-5 with an RBI, the third run in a 4-1 victory. He then slid over from first base and pitched two perfect innings for his 10th save of the year. On Saturday, with the Titans trailing, 3-2, he belted his Big West-leading eighth home run of the year to tie the game (also logging his Big-West leading 8th RBI) with two out, and then picked up save No. 2 on the weekend with a scoreless ninth inning. On Sunday, a double and his third save of weekend and 12th of the season capped the first Cal State Fullerton sweep of UC Riverside on the road in the history of the two teams meeting. The run Ramirez allowed in the 9th inning of Sunday's game was the first since Feb. 26 at TCU and just his second of the season in over 19 innings of work.

NICK SAVES: Southpaw Nick Ramirez saved all three games last weekend against UC Riverside and now stands at 30 career saves which ranks him alone at No. 3 in the all-time Cal State Fullerton career record book, and 5th in the Big West. So far this season, Ramirez has passed Adam Jorgenson and Kirk Saarloos (22 saves), Ted Silva (26 saves) and Vinnie Pestano (27 saves) and sits just two off Scott Wright's second place spot and four off of record holder Chad Cordero's 34 saves form 2001-03. Nick's 12 saves on the year ranks him tied with Cordero (2002) for the sixth most in a single season. The single-season record is held by Wright, who recorded 22 saves for the 1984 national champions.

TWO-WAY CLOSERS: Nick Ramirez and Titan Hall of Famer Mark Kotsay are the only two players that both hit and pitch on the Fullerton all-time Top 10 saves list. Kotsay saved 14 games in his career, 11 of those in 1995 en route to a national championship. Kotsay was a career .404 hitter with 45 home runs and 216 RBI. He was 3-2 with 14 saves (10th all-time at CSF) and compiled a 3.90 career ERA. Ramirez is a career .314 hitter with 34 home runs and 144 RBI and is 5-4 with 30 saves and a 2.67 ERA on the mound. Ramirez in currently on the College Baseball Foundation's John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Watch List.

JUST ONE MORE THING: Regarding Nick Ramirez's saves... did you know that 13 of them have come on the tail end of Noe Ramirez starts? You can tack on one more if you count games that Noe Ramirez pitched in. Both Ramirez's were a part of a relief effort that beat the UCLA Bruins on May 25, 2010 at Goodwin Field.

NOE'S RETURN: Junior Noe Ramirez had not pitched since Apr. 15 against Santa Barbara, and in his first game back from a sprained ankle, the righty didn't allow an earned run over six innings while giving up just one hit to UC Riverside in the series opener. The series was a big one for the Titans, and in a venue (Riverside Sports Complex) that they had not been very successful in in the past (just 14-13 heading into the weekend all-time). Ramirez faced just two batters over the minimum through six innings and threw just 86 pitches, striking out five along the way. Ramirez improved to 7-2 on the year (tying Matt Summers and Mason Radeke for the conference lead in wins), and lowered his Big West leading-ERA to a minuscule, 1.86. Noe's performance helped the Titans not only set the tone for the big weekend series sweep of UC Riverside, but also helped the Titans win consecutive games for the first time since Apr. 16 and 17 against UC Santa Barbara.

PUPPIES UP THE MIDDLE: In February, you would have never guessed the Titans would be starting a pair of true freshman up the middle at second base and shortstop. Youngin' Greg Velazquez has been quietly hitting up a storm since getting a good chunk of time at second base over the past nine games. The local product (Fullerton HS) has done nothing but hit .400 (10-for-25) with three doubles, a home run and six RBI since Apr. 23. Over that span, Velazquez is leading the team in on-base percentage (.531) and is among the team leaders with 6 walks... A very poised Keegan Dale burned his redshirt to help the banged-up Titan infield and has done a fine job on the defensive end and has done well at the plate as well. In eight starts at short, the rookie has hit .269 (7-for-26) including a 3-for-4, 3-RBI effort against Pacific in his first start at Goodwin Field on Apr. 29. He has had very few "easy" plays at short, and has made a couple of dazzlers up the middle.

FRESHMAN HOLDING THEIR OWN: The four freshman (Michael Lorenzen, Jared Deacon, Greg Velazquez and Keegan Dale) getting time this season have combined to hit .307 (82-for-267) with 40 RBI. Not bad considering just one of them (Lorenzen) was penciled in to get regular playing time.

TITAN TIDBITS:
&\#149;The Titans are 17-4 at home this season, 7-2 in Big West play. THey are hitting .282 as a team and have posted a 2.92 ERA on their home field. Richy Pedroza has hit .380 (19-for-50), Ivory Thomas, .362 (17-for-47) and Carlos Lopez, .360 (18-for-50). Lopez leads the team with 18 RBI in those 21 games, while Nick Ramirez and Anthony Trajano trail him with 16 each. Carlos Lopez has reached base safely in 13 straight home games. Noe Ramirez is a perfect 5-0 at home this season and has an ERA of 2.02 (40 K and 4 BB), and Nick Ramirez has yet to allow an earned run and has four saves in 9.2 innings.

&\#149; Over their last 22 games, the Titans have had double-digits in hits 14 times and 8 times in the last 11 ballgames.

&\#149; The Titans, now with a conference-leading 72 stolen bases, tied their season high with four bases last Sunday at UC Riverside. It is just the third time it had happened all season long. Fullerton has 25 more stolen bases than the second best team in the league (Pacific). Fullerton is led by Big West leader Ivory Thomas (18) and Michael Lorenzen (11, t-6th).

&\#149; Last week, the Titans hit .396 as a team (44-for-111) in their first series sweep of UC Riverside at the Riverside Sports Complex. The Titan pitching staff was 3-0, with 3 saves, a 1.67 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 27 innings. Riverside batted just .245 on the weekend.

&\#149; Jared Deacon was 6-for-10 (.600) with a walk, an HBP and a SAC last weekend against UC Riverside. His six hits, tied him for the team lead with Ivory Thomas (6-for-14, .429) in the three game set. Greg Velazquez led the Titans with three RBI on the weekend. The freshman had a key two-run pinch-hit single in the late innings of Saturday's ballgame. And drove in another early on Sunday with a double.

&\#149;Tyler Pill tied Richy Pedroza for the longest hitting streak of the year at 10 games before going hitless (0-for-1 with 3 BB) on Tuesday. Pill hit in all three games last weekend, and his last hit, a game-winning single extended the streak in his last at bat on Sunday. Nick Ramirez saw his nine-game streak come to an end on Tuesday. Carlos Lopez has the only significant streaks going into the weekend with a nine-game string. Lopez did not play on Tuesday. Over the streak, the outfielder has hit .444 (16-for-36) with two doubles, two triples and a home run and nine RBI.

&\#149;When Tyler Pill hits for himself this year, he is 10-for-27 (.370) with three runs scored and three RBI. In his career though, Pill is hitting .438 (21-for-48) on days he pitches.

&\#149;Nick Ramirez has had quite an impact in games played against conference opponents. The junior first baseman is hitting .353 (24-for-68) with two doubles, six home runs and a team-leading 18 RBI in the 18 games played so far. He has also walked a team-leading nine times, has a pair of SAC-flies and is perfect in stolen base attempts (2-for-2). On the mound, the southpaw is 1-0 and has seven saves over 10.2 innings with 11 strikeouts and just two walks.

&\#149;Hey opposing pitchers... be sure to load the bases for sophomore Carlos Lopez. He's only 4-for-7 with the bases juiced.

&\#149;The Titans have been in 14 games that have been decided by just one run so far in 2011. In those 14 one-run games, the Titans are 10-4, with five of the wins happening in come-from-behind fashion. Twenty-one of Fullerton's games have been decided by two runs or less, with the Titans going 16-6 in those affairs.