Titans Have "One" Thing on Their Minds at Blair
May 25, 2006
Fullerton, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton (40-13, 15-3), winners of every Big West Conference series this year, head to Long Beach State to take on the 49ers needing just one win to claim the outright title of Big West Conference Champion in the final series of the year. Fullerton has secured at least a co-championship with the 49er if they are swept this weekend at Blair Field, but that will take quite a performance by the conference foes which will have to face a trio of Titan10-game winners in Wes Roemer, Lauren Gagnier and Dustin Miller (who are a combined 31-5). Long Beach State (29-24, 12-6) will finish no worse than second place in conference but are still on the bubble and are in desperate need of wins this weekend if they want an at-large berth to the 64-team NCAA tournament.
Friday, May 26 at Long Beach State, 6:30 p.m.
at Blair Field (GT, WEB, TV)
Saturday, May 27 at Long Beach State, 6:30 p.m.
at Blair Field (GT, WEB)
Sunday, May 28 at Long Beach State, 1:00 p.m.
at Blair Field (GT, WEB)
(KSPA - AM 1510, WEB - fullertontitans.com, GT - GameTracker TV - CSTV)
Times are Pacific. * Indicates Big West Conference Game
TITANS ON TV: Cal State Fullerton will have its first game of the season televised by CSTV on Friday, May 26, when the Titans take on Long Beach State at Blair Field. Check your local listings for specific channel information in your area.
CSTV.com has also made the Cal Poly series from Goodwin Field available via the web in their XXL package. Visit CSTV.com for more information.
AGAINST USC (MAY 23): A two-out RBI single to center by Danny Dorn (Diamond Bar, Calif) in the top of the eleventh inning lifted the Titans to a 6-3 non-conference tilt with USC on Tuesday night. Dorn's hit was the game-winner, but it was Brett Pill's two-out RBI Triple off Trojan ace Ian Kennedy in the top of the ninth, that kept the Titans alive.
David Cooper drove in three runs and Pill had three hits to lead the Titans.
Turner extended his hitting streak to 12-games, while Blake Davis, went hitless for just the sixth time all year to break a 21-gamer he had going.
LAST WEEK: Outstanding performances by seniors in their final regular season games at Goodwin Field clinched a share of the Big West Conference championship for the Titans on Sunday. Dustin Miller pitched a 5-hit shutout and Justin Turner hit a home run for the only run of the game as the Titans completed a sweep of Cal Poly SLO. Fullerton needs to win only one of three games this weekend at Long Beach State for the title outright and the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Despite a mid-week loss at San Diego State, which snapped an 11-game winning streak over the Aztecs dating to 1984, the Titans remained No. 2 in the Baseball America national poll.
Fullerton overcame the indefinite loss of closer Vinnie Pestano, whose presence was missed Tuesday in San Diego. There, the Titans blew leads of 6-0 and 8-6 when SDSU scored three times in the eighth inning to overcome Danny Dorn's 5 RBI.
Against Cal Poly, Ryan Paul got the closer's role on Friday and Saturday and responded with two saves. He got the final two outs and stranded the tying runs in scoring position on Friday night for a 6-4 win and came on to get the final out with the tying run at the plate in Saturday's 3-1 victory. On Sunday, Coach George Horton let Miller close his own deal despite hitting a batter with two outs in the ninth.
On Friday night, Dorn's two-out, two-run single broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning. Jared Clark doubled home Dorn to offset a Cal Poly run in the ninth inning. Wes Roemer got the win to improve to 10-1 despite giving up a long two-run home run to Jimmy Van Ostrand in the fourth and a game-tying RBI double to Grant Desme in the top of the eighth. John Curtis singled home the first two Titan runs and Turner tripled home a go-ahead run.
On Saturday night, Brett Pill's fifth home run broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning and he singled, stole second and scored on a Dorn single in the eighth for an insurance run. Brandon Tripp's triple led to the first CSF run. Lauren Gagnier (11-4) and three relievers stranded 12 Mustang runners, three times leaving the bases loaded.
On Sunday, Miller pitched to only six men over the minimum while striking out eight. Turner's home run came in the sixth off Casey Fien, who also lost Friday night's game in relief. Fien allowed only 3 hits on Sunday and faced just two men over the minimum. Fullerton becomes the first team in the nation with three pitchers in double digits in the victory column.
VERSUS THE 49ERS: The Titans have a 101-53 Div. I record against Long Beach State since 1975. The lopsided records even up a bit in the George Horton Era, as the Titans are just 34-28 since the 1997 season. The two teams have met just once in the post season where Long Beach defeated the Titans 4-0, to eliminate them from the 2002 Stanford Regional.
Earlier this season (Mar. 24-26), the Titans took three straight form the 49ers in a non-conference three game series at Goodwin Field (2-1, 7-4, and 6-2).
A WINNING TRADITION: Cal State Fullerton reached the 40-win plateau for the 22nd time in the 32 seasons of Division I baseball with a 6-3, 11-inning victory over USC on Tuesday night (May 23). The Titans have never won less than 30 games or finished the season with a losing record, as Larry Cochell's 1989 Titans captured the lowest win total in the school's history with a 30-27 record.
SERIES BUSINESS: Fullerton has now accumulated 13 series wins in 15 opportunities posting a 35-10 record in those three-game weekend games. The Titans have captured eight of those 13 via the 3-0 sweep of their opponents, with the last victims being Cal Poly, May 19-21. The Titans have dropped just two series thus far, one to Stanford (0-3) and the other to Rice (1-2). Both losses in Houston came late in the game, with tie games going into the ninth inning.
TOURNEY TALK: The Titans have made 27 NCAA Regional appearances in their 31-year Division I history and have not missed the playoffs since 1991. The 14-year run is the fifth-longest active streak in the nation. Only Miami (33), Florida State (28), Clemson (19), and LSU (17) have longer streaks. Fullerton has advanced to Omaha 13 times, winning the College World Series in 1979, 1984, 1995 and 2004.
MILLER POW HONORS: Diamond Bar-native Dustin Miller became the second Titan pitcher to win the Big West Pitcher of the Week award this year by tossing a complete game, 1-0 shutout against Cal Poly, as named by the Irvine-based conference office May 21. Miller earned his tenth win of the year, allowing only five hits while striking out eight as Cal State Fullerton captured at least a co-championship in the conference on Sunday. He faced six hitters over the minimum to become the Titans' third 10-game winner, joining Wes Roemer and Lauren Gagnier. Miller last won the weekly honor on Mar. 31, 2003, for the Titans' 7-5 win over Long Beach State. Wes Roemer has earned the honor three times this season.
TRIPLE-DOUBLE: Cal State Fullerton hurlers Wes Roemer (Glendora, Calif.), Lauren Gagnier (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Dustin Miller (Diamond Bar, Calif.) became the first trio of Titan arms to each win 10-or-more games since the 1995 squad (Ted Silva - 18, Tim Dixon - 13, and Jon Ward - 10) did it en route to winning the national championship. Even better, they became the first trio to accomplish the feat in the regular season. In all, Cal State Fullerton has had three squads (2006, 1995, and 1994) with three pitchers with wins in double-digits and one with four pitchers earning 10-or-more in 1979.
PUTTIN' ON THE HITS: Justin Turner picked up eight more hits last week to tie Cal Poly's Josh Lansford with the conference lead with 80 hits (as of May 21). On Tuesday (May 23), Turner extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a ninth-inning infield single, increasing his season total to 81. Blake Davis comes into this weekend ranking third in the conference (behind Turner and Lansford) with 74 total hits. Davis' 21-game hit streak was snapped on May 23 at USC. Brett Pill also ranks in the top ten with 67 knocks, good for seventh place in league.
QUALITY TIME: The Titan weekend rotation has put together 30 Quality Starts (six-or-more innings with three or less earned runs) in 41 starts as a unit. Wes Roemer (12 QS), Lauren Gagnier (11 QS) and Dustin Miller (7 QS) are a combined 31-6 on the season with all three starter's ERAs under 3.01. Roemer ranks second in conference with a 2.16 ERA, with Gagnier (2.63) and Miller (3.01) also ranking in the conference's top ten at 4th and 8th, respectively. The trio is leading the Big West Conference in wins with Gagnier topping the league with 11 while Miller and Roemer are tied with 10 apiece. The Titan pitching staff is the only one in the country with three ten-game winners.
SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE: Junior Ryan Paul and freshman Cory Arbiso have picked up where closer Vinnie Pestano (out since May 10 with an arm injury) left off. The pair has combined for four saves (two each) in five opportunities, with the lefty Paul also going 2-1. Both hurlers have posted 0.00 ERA over the six-game span (including the one Pestano left on May 10 vs. USC) that has included 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
BEST IN THE BIG WEST: The Titans, who have secured at least a tie for the Big West Conference championship, top the eight team field of competitors in team batting (.309), team pitching (2.75 ERA) and team fielding (.977). The Titans also lead the league in slugging (.444), on base percentage (.383), runs scored (338), hits (567), RBI (311), triples (20) and total bases (814). The Fullerton hurlers are also leading the conference in opponent's batting average (.222), wins (40), fewest runs allowed (175), fewest earned runs allowed (146), and fewest walks allowed (109).
EARLY AND OFTEN: The Titans are nearly perfect when they score in the first inning, going 15-1 and are a dominating 29-5 when they score first. When the opponent scores first and when they score in the first inning, the Titans are 11-8 and 5-4, respectively.
SWIPED: Justin Turner (Bellflower, Calif.) is fifth in the conference, stealing 18 bases in 24 chances. He is seven off the Big West lead held by UC Riverside's Brett Bigler who has swiped 25 bases. Blake Davis is second-biggest thief with 11 bags in 18 chances.
SEEING TRIPLE: Shortstop Blake Davis (Fountain Valley Calif.) has moved into the No. 2 all-time position behind Dante Powell for most career triples by a Titan with his conference leading four triples this season. Davis now has 13 career three-baggers and now trails Powell by five for the top spot.
WALLACE WATCHES ROEMER: Right-handed Cal State Fullerton pitcher Wes Roemer (Glendora, Calif.) has been named a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, an award former Titan Kurt Suzuki took home in 2004 as the nation's best collegiate baseball player. Roemer joins 29 other candidates vying for the annual honor bestowed by the College Baseball Foundation in Lubbock, Texas. The awards banquet will be held Monday, July 3, 2006, on the campus of Texas Tech University and will be nationally televised by the Fox Sports Network. The list of 30 will be slashed down to three at the completion of the Super Regional and announced on June 15, 2006, at the College World Series.
DICK HOWSER AWARD SEMIFINALIST: Wes Roemer (Glendora, Calif.) was named to a list of 16 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Award announced by The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, working in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday (May 18). The 2006 Dick Howser Trophy will be given to the top player in collegiate baseball. The membership of the NCBWA will choose the Dick Howser Trophy based on three rounds of voting. The 2006 winner will be announced at the College World Series in Omaha on Friday, June 16, at 10 a.m. (CDT).
ROCKET-WORTHY: Wes Roemer (Glendora, Calif.) joins nine other college hurlers who remain in contention to be honored as the top pitcher in college baseball with The Roger Clemens Award. The 3rd Roger Clemens Award will be presented at the Marriott Westchase Hotel in Houston on July 12. Roemer, now a semifinalist in two national awards has posted a 10-1 record and a 2.16 ERA so far this season, and has struck out a conference-leading 107 hitters to just four walks. The Titan righty, started the season going 65 2/3 innings without issuing a single walk.
SPECIAL INVITE: USA Baseball announced May 16 that Titan pitcher Wes Roemer (Glendora, Calif.) and 19 other collegiate players have accepted invitations to participate in the 2006 USA Baseball National Team Trials. The Trials will be held June 22-July 1 in exhibition games played against teams in the New England Collegiate League. The USA Baseball National Team will be selected from a pool of 36 players, of which an additional 16 have yet to be determined. The official 22-man team roster will be announced on July 2. If selected to the squad, Roemer will become the Titans' 16th player to play for National Team and it will mark the third consecutive year the Titans will have represented the country (2005: Blake Davis, 2004: Mike Lamb, Mike Rouse, and Ricky Romero).
IN A PINCH: George Horton's bench has been very productive, pinch-hitting at a .371 clip as a team (23-for-62). Part-time designated hitter, David Cooper (Stockton, Calif.), has contributed eight of those 23 hits himself, going 8-for-12 (.667) from the bench, followed by Jared Clark, Matt Fahey and Bryan Harris, who each have tallied three knocks apiece.
A TALE OF TO SEASONS: Senior Danny Dorn's production has significantly increased since returning from a month-long absence in the starting lineup from Mar. 12 to Apr. 13. The senior form Diamond Bar, Calif. started off the season posting a respectable .317 batting average, but had just nine RBI and 0 home runs in the first 19 games of the season. Then, on the cusp of needing shoulder surgery, Dorn decided to rehab the shoulder to spare his season, and the team is sure glad he did. Since returning to the starting lineup, the outfielder is hitting .343 in 18 games since returning, with 4 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs and 21 RBI from the No. 4 hole in the lineup.
ANOTHER HORTON MILESTONE: With three conference games remaining, head Coach George Horton has a chance to tie and pass Fresno State's Bob Bennett (187 wins in 15 years) as the second-winningest Big West coach in the conference history. Horton, has compiled 185 conference wins over his nine-plus seasons, tying and passing his predecessor and mentor Augie Garrido in the Pacific series Apr. 21-23. Former Long Beach State manager Dave Snow holds the conference record in victories with 218 over 13 seasons. Horton is a collective 441-184-1 (.704) in his 10th season as the Titan skipper and is just over half way to his predecessor's 875 career wins in a Titan uniform.
STREAK SNAPPED:For just the sixth time all season (53 games), Blake Davis went hitless against USC Tuesday night (May 23) to snap his season-best 21-game hitting streak. Throughout the streak, his second of 17 games or better, Davis hit .430 (37-for-86), tallying seven doubles, two triples, two homers and 14 RBI. The streak that lasted for more than a month (Apr. 7 - May 21) also produced a team-leading nine stolen bases for the junior and boosted him to the top spot in batting average in the conference.
DESIGNATED HITTER: Titan designated hitters are hitting just .220 on the season (36-for-164) with 1 home run and 34 RBI. The most productive bat has been freshman David Cooper (Stockton, Calif.) who has hit the only HR of the five who have been penciled in to the DH spot, and has driven in 24 runs. Cooper has seen the most time there (32 games) and is hitting just .240 (25-for104) in that role, while Bryan Harris (.250, 0 HR, 8 RBI), Clark Hardman (.237, 0 HR, 9 RBI), Jared Clark (.067, 0 HR, 1 RBI) and Eric Echevarria (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI) round out the others who have had a crack at hitting for the pitcher.