May 13, 2010
PLAY BALL: Cal State Fullerton (31-14, 15-3) hit the road for the last time in the regular season as they travel to crosstown rival Long Beach State (22-28, 7-8) with a 3 1/2 game lead over second-place UC Irvine, which will be hosting UC Santa Barbara. In Irvine's shadow is Pacific which is two games behind the Anteaters in the loss column.
The Titans, winners of 13 of their last 14, head to Long Beach with their offense kicking, and what looks to be a fairly solidified starting pitching rotation, something that has been up in the air for numerous weeks with sidelined Noe Ramirez and Tyler Pill.
Fullerton is 19-3 over the months of April and May ad find themselves with an RPI of 10, the 5th toughest schedule in the country and the 4th best ISR according to Boyd Nation at Boydsworld.com.
FRIDAY at Long Beach State, 6 p.m.
CSF: RHP, Noe Ramirez (6-1, 3.36 ERA)
LB: RHP, Andrew Gagnon (5-5, 2.83 ERA)
SATURDAY at Long Beach State, 2 p.m.
CSF: RHP, Daniel Renken (8-2, 4.48 ERA)
LB: RHP, Jake Thompson (5-2, 4.99 ERA)
SUNDAY at Long Beach State, 1 p.m.
CSF: RHP, Dylan Floro (4-0, 2.81 ERA)
LB: RHP, Branden Pinder (4-5, 4.15 ERA)
FOLLOW THE GAME: All three games will have audio broadcasts and the GameTracker interface linked live at fullertontitans.com.
VERSUS LONG BEACH STATE: Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State have a long storied history with each other and the Titans hold a 111-57 all-time record against the cross-town rivals at the Div. I level. The two teams have always competed in the same conference with Fullerton holding an 88-46 all-time mark overall in league play, and a 58-39 mark in Big West Conference/PCAA play. The two squads have met up six times in Big West Tournament action, with Fullerton wining four of those meetings. The Titans and 49ers met up once in the postseason back in 2002 at the NCAA Stanford Regional in Palo Alto. Long Beach shut out Fullerton in that game, 4-0, to eliminate the Titans from tournament play. Fullerton's home and road totals are nearly identical, with the Titans going 56-28 at home and 54-28 on the road. Over their last 30 meetings (since 2004), the Titans have posted a 20-10 mark against the 49ers. Fullerton has gone 3-3 in their last two series at Blair Field. Dave Serrano's 2008 team went 1-2 at Blair in the Titans' last trip there.
FRIDAY NIGHT PITCHER: \#24 Noe Ramirez, RHP
&\#149; Noe Ramirez, though he looked a little rusty, was quite effective in his return to the mound on Friday after a 3-start absence. The right-hander, who is recovering from a fractured left wrist, picked up the win in a 6-inning, 3-run, quality start in the series opener with UC Riverside.
&\#149; This will be Noe's fourth Big West Conference start. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 4.19 ERA. He got a no decision in the opening game of the UC Irvine series.
&\#149; Is a winner in six of his last seven starts
SATURDAY PITCHER: \#35 Daniel Renken, RHP
&\#149; Has won his last six starts, All Big West games.
&\#149; Is coming off a light-shortened start against UC Riverside last Saturday night (W, 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 K, 3 BB)
&\#149; Has struggled with dominance of the strike zone over his past two starts, walking 8 and hitting one, but has surrendered just 8 hits.
&\#149; Worked a season-high 8 2/3 innings on Apr. 24 vs. Cal Poly.
SUNDAY PITCHER: \#15 Dylan Floro, RHP
&\#149; He wasn't flashy, but he was efficient and is the current Big West Pitcher of the Week. He worked an inning on last Friday night in relief and pitched a complete-game shutout last Sunday to help lift the Titans to a 3-0 sweep over UC Riverside. He took top billing in Sunday's 6-0 win over the Highlanders, throwing his first complete-game in just his second career start. On the week, the freshman worked 10 innings and allowed just 7 hits. In Sunday's shutout, he didn't allow a runner past second base. He has not allowed an earned run over his last 17 2/3 innings of work (two starts and a relief appearance in the Titans' last 6 games). On Friday, Floro picked up a strikeout and a ground out to get the Titans out of a bases-loaded, 1-out jam in the seventh, and could have made it out of the eighth completely unscathed if not for fielding error behind him.
&\#149; Over the last 10 Titan ballgames, the right-hander has worked in four of them, posting a 0.43 ERA over 21 innings of work. Over those last four appearances, hitters are batting just .182.
&\#149; Is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 2 saves in 21 1/3 Big West Conference innings this year.
&\#149; His 2.81 ERA is challenging Dave Weatherman's 1978 freshman record for the best rookie ERA mark. Weatherman finished the season at 2.90.
CLOSER: Nick Ramirez
&\#149; Three of his 7 saves have come in Big West play.
&\#149; 4 of his 7 saves have come on the tail end of Noe Ramirez starts
&\#149;Has converted saves in each of his last two appearances (May 7 vs UC Riverside, May 12 at Pepperdine), working 1.2 innings last Friday night, and 2 innings on Wednesday. Over those two appearances, he has struck out six without a walk.
&\#149; Has not allowed a walk in his last 10 appearances (14 2/3 innings) and has struck out 14.
CONTINUED EXCELLENCE: The Titans notched their 30th win AND secured a winning record for the 36th straight season at the Div. I level last Sunday against UC Riverside. The only team to win as few as 30 games was the 1989 squad skippered by Larry Cochell. The Titans have never had a losing season at the Div. I level.
FOCUSED AT THE PLATE: Christian Colon has raised his average to .348 overall by going .500 over the last 4 games. The Titan shortstop has raised his average from .323 to .353 over the past 8 games, and has had 2-or-more hits in each of his last 5 games (including a 4-for-6 game at Pacific two weekends ago).
1-2 PUNCH: Christian Colon and Gary Brown are a deadly 1-2 punch at the top of Cal State Fullerton's batting order. The two have combined for a .402 batting average with 30 doubles, 9 triples, 18 home runs, 83 RBI, and 39 stolen bases.
SOMETHING SPECIAL: As the season winds down, the 2010 Titans are making a run at setting a new school record for team batting average. Going into this weekend's series with Long Beach State, the Titans are hitting .343 as a team. The top spot is currently occupied by the 1999 Titans, who hit a solid .338. The 1980 (.337) and the 1995 (.336) squads round out the Top 3. Last year's Titans cracked the Top 10 by hitting .329, coming in tied for eighth in school history.
DOUBLE-DIGIT HITS: Cal State Fullerton has recorded 10-or-more hits 30 times this season including a season high 25 knocks on Apr. 2 against UC Davis. Fullerton is currently amidst a string of 14 straight games of 10-plus hits, and have recorded as many in 16 of their last 17.
PROSPECTS: Christian Colon (Jr., SS, Corona, Calif., Canyon HS) and Gary Brown (Jr., CF, Diamond Bar, Calif., Diamond Bar HS) have been listed as two of Yahoo Sports' Top 50 Collegiate Draft prospects heading into this June's MLB First Year Players Draft. Colon comes in at No. 7, while Brown is slightly lower at No. 11. Colon is a lifetime .346 hitter with 24 homers, 122 RBI and 38 stolen bases, while Brown is a .358 career hitter with 17 triples, 14 home runs, 107 RBI and 77 stolen bases. Both are possible first-round draft picks in the upcoming selection process. In Yahoo Sports' Top 50 High School Prospects, there are two players who have intentions on playing at Cal State Fullerton listed. No. 24 Michael Lorenzen (OF, Anaheim, Calif., Fullerton HS) and Vincent Velasquez (SS/RHP, Pomona, Calif., Garey HS) at No. 43 are on the list.
CULTIVATING PROFESSIONAL TALENT: According to Baseball America's Aaron Fittt (thanks for the research), Cal State Fullerton has been a pipeline to the major league farm system over the past 10 years, producing 80 draft selections. Behind the Titans are Rice (78), Arizona State (77), Long Beach (69), and Miami (69), rounding out the Top 5.
DRAFT DODGERS: The Titans have 10 players on their current roster who have been drafted over the last three seasons. Four were selected in 2007, one in 2008, and five just last season.
Christian Colon (2007), 10th round, by San Diego
Gary Brown (2007),12th round, by Oakland
Dylan Floro (2009), 20th round, by Tampa Bay
Geno Escalante (2009), 28th round, by Milwaukee
Daniel Renken (2007), 35th round, by Colorado
Kevin Rath (2007), 38th round, by Oakland
Tyler Pill (2008), 38th round, by Colorado
Anthony Hutting (2009), 38th round, by Texas
David Hurlbut (2009), 42nd round, by Minnesota
Ivory Thomas (2009), 42nd round, by Houston