May 21, 2009
REMINDER: Sunday's game versus Long Beach State is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. due to conflicts with the university's commencement exercises.
PLAY BALL!: For one of a few very times, the conference championship is not on the line when Cal State Fullerton (39-14, 14-7) and Long Beach State (25-26, 11-10) collide in the final series of the regular season.
No. 1 nationally ranked UC Irvine has run away with the crown but second-place is at stake for the Titans and 49ers as well as Cal Poly, which will be hosting UC Riverside. The Titans need to win two of three to clinch at least a tie for second if they don't get any help from the Highlanders.
The Titans moved up another notch to No. 4 in the Baseball America national poll by winning a tight weekend series with UCLA.
Complete Set of Game Notes in PDF FormatVERSUS LONG BEACH STATE: The Titans are 108-58 against the 49ers since their first meeting at the Div. I level in 1975. The 108 wins are the most for the Titans against any opponent in their 35-year Div. I history. The Titan and 49ers have met 6 times in the postseason (1 NCAA Regional and 5 times in the Big West Conference Tournament from 1996-1998) with each team tallying three wins apiece. Long Beach State's 4-0 win at the 2002 Stanford Regional was the only NCAA win for either team against each other, and was also the last time the Titans did not qualify for an NCAA Super Regional. Last year, the 49ers beat the Titans on the last two days of the regular season (8-6, 12-3) to earn a co-Big West championship with the Titans. Fullerton won the opening game of the series 4-1.
Since the turn of the century, the Titans have a 30-21 advantage over the 49ers, going 14-10 at Goodwin Field, and 16-11 at Blair Field. Fullerton has won four of the eight home series since 2000, two by sweeps. The Titans have won six of nine series at Blair Field, two by way of the sweep.
With Cal State Fullerton (6) and Long Beach State (2.5) sharing a piece of 2008's Big West Conference championship, the two teams have now won all but 3.5 titles in the last 12 season. The exceptions? UC Irvine won this year's crown, UC Riverside captured the pennant in 2007, Cal State Northridge won it in 2002 and Nevada shared it with Cal State Fullerton in 2000.
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATIONS
CSF: RHP, Daniel Renken (8-2, 2.42 ERA)
LB: LHP, Adam Wilk (7-3, 2.77 ERA)
CSF: RHP, Noe Ramirez (6-1, 3.11 ERA)
LB: RHP, Jake Thompson (4-6, 5.35 ERA)
UCLA: Tyler Pill (9-3, 4.19 ERA)
LB: RHP, Andrew Gagnon (3-6, 6.17 ERA)
TITANS IN THE POLLS:
Baseball America: 4
Collegiate Baseball: 5
USA Today/ESPN Coaches: 6
ON ESPNU: The First game of the three-game series with Long Beach State will be televised natonally by ESPNU. Same Gore will bring you the play-by-play with Titan Hall of Famer Phil Nevin providing analysis. The Titans are 1-1 in televised games this season.
PILL TIES FRESHMAN MARK: By earning his ninth win on Tuesday evening against Pepperdine, rookie hurler Tyler Pill (Covina, Calif.) has tied the school record for most wins by a freshman, matching Dustin Miller's (2002) and Dave Weatherman's (1979) freshman efforts. The right-hander will make a bid to become the lone record holder Sunday night against Long Beach State in the teams' regular season finale.
WORKING LATE: Sophomore Daniel Renken has worked at least 8.0 innings in seven of his last eight starts. Renken has two complete games to his credit in 2009 (Mar. 27 at UC Riverside and May 8 at Cal POly) and has gone as far as 8.2 in two of his last three starts. The anomaly in his last eight outings came on Apr. 17 with a 6.2 inning start in a no-decision against Pacific.
GUNNING 'EM DOWN: Senior Dustin "Drago" Garneau has shutdown the opponents running game, throwing out 60% of the would-be base stealers. Garneau has erased 22 of 37 base runner trying to swipe a bag on him. Garneau, combined with back-up cacher Billy Marcoe, have allowed just 19 stolen bases all season, while the Titans have stolen 99 in 136 chances.
YOUNG GUNS: 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 19-5 record and a 3.40 ERA in return. And better yet, since the opening weekend that taxed the entire Fullerton pitching staff, the rookie corps is 19-4 with a 3.04 ERA and five saves. Pill and the two Ramirezs (not related) have handled much of the freshman workload, but the five have combined for a 4.6-to-1 srikeout-to-walk ratio as well (158-to-34) since that opening weekend.
A WINNING TRADITION: The Titans are vying for their 24th 40-win season this weekend at home versus Long Beach State. 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).
ULTIMATE SACRIFICE(S): Senior second baseman Joe Scott currently leads the nation with 22 sacrifice bunts, and 0.43 sac bunts per game, and with his 22nd sac, set the Cal State Fullerton record for most sac bunts in a season topping teammate Christian Colon's 2008 effort. Earlier this year Scott tied the NCAA record for sacrifices in a game when he laid down four successful sac bunts on Mar. 28 at UC Riverside. He now shares the record with Tommy King of South Carolina (vs. Arkansas on March 8, 2004) and Andy Sawyers of Nebraska (vs. Kansas State on Apr. 4, 1998).
SERRANO MILESTONES: Second-year Titan Head Coach Dave Serrano is approaching victory No. 200, and sits just six wins away from the plateau at win No. 194. Serrano, in his fifth season as a head coach, has claimed wins No. 50, 100, and 150 in each of the last three seasons, and if he can reach No. 200 in 2009 will have averaged 40 wins a season in each of his first five at the Div. I level. Serrano already has 80 wins under his belt as a Titan, and on Sunday will coach his 300th Div. I game.
IN THE NICK OF TIME: Nick Ramirez's bat has certainly cooled off since the first half of the season, but on the mound things have heated up for the freshman. Since a rough season-opening weekend, Nick has posted a 1.36 ERA, allowing just five earned runs in 33.0 innings of work over 17 appearances and has struck out 23 and walked just five, compiling a 3-0 record with five saves.
BOMBS AWAY: For the first time since 1999, the Titans have three players with 10-or-more home runs, with a fourth (Christian Colon) sitting just three behind. Nick Ramirez (10 HR) homered twice against UCLA to become the third Titan to join the club. Jared Clark (10 HR) also homered against UCLA to reach double digits and Khris Davis extended his team-lead in the HR department, hitting his 11th of the season against the Bruins. The trio is the first to all reach 10-plus homers in the same season since Ryan Owens hit 23, Spencer Oborn hit 14 and Reed Johnson hit 13 in 1999. 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.