Titans Seek Big West Crown in Northridge

May 26, 2011

PLAY BALL: Cal State Fullerton (38-14, 17-4) heads to The Valley for its final three regular season games against last place Cal State Northridge (22-31, 5-16), clinging to a two-game lead in the standings with three to play.

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The Titans have a magic number of 1, needing just one win or one UC Irvine loss to claim at least a share of the Big West crown and the automatic berth into the NCAA postseason. Any combination of two Titan wins or UC Irvine Anteater (2nd place) losses will give Fullerton the outright league championship.

THIS WEEKEND IN TITAN BASEBALL:
May 27 at Cal State Northridge (Matador Field), 3 p.m.
Follow the game: Live Audio on fullertontitans.com / GameTracker
Probable Starters:
CSF: RHP Noe Ramirez (8-2, 1.76 ERA)
CSUN: RHP Vincent Roberts (2-6, 3.75 ERA)

May 28 at Cal State Northridge (Matador Field), 1 p.m.
Follow the game: Live Audio on fullertontitans.com / GameTracker
Probable Starters:
CSF: RHP Tyler Pill (5-1, 2.26 ERA)
CSUN: RHP Paul Tremlin (2-6, 4.11 ERA)

May 29 at Cal State Northridge (Matador Field), 1 p.m.
Follow the game: Live Audio on fullertontitans.com / GameTracker
Probable Starters:
CSF: RHP Colin O'Connell (7-3, 2.42 ERA)
CSUN: Carlos Gonzalez (1-3, 5.58 ERA)

VERSUS CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: The Titans and Matadors have met 62 times dating back to their first meeting in 1975. Fullerton has a 46-16 all-time mark against the team from the Valley and has currently won each of the last five contests. Overall in Big West action, the Titans holds a 23-7 mark against the Matadors dating back to CSUN's first year back in 2001. The Titans are 19-9 in Northridge. The last time the Titans were in Northridge (Apr. 9 to Apr. 11, 2009), they played with heavy hearts as they got word that their friend and former teammate Jon Wilhite had been critically injured in a car accident with Angel pitcher Nick Adenhardt, Fullerton cheerleader Courtney Stewart, and friend Henry Pearson. Wilhite was the only one of the foursome to survive being hit by a drunk driver. That Friday afternoon, the Titans and Matadors took a 4-4 game as long as they could before the game was suspended by darkness. Northirdge scored a run in the 15th inning when the game resumed to win the opener, but the Titans won the series with 7-5 and 8-0 wins on Saturday and Sunday. Last year the Titans swept the series (6-0, 6-0 and 15-4) and allowed just four runs on the weekend.

TITAN TIDBITS:
&\#149; With a one victory this weekend in Northridge, the Titans can lock up the Big West Conference's automatic bid to the postseason, making it an even 20 consecutive years that a Fullerton team will be playing for a shot at the national championship. In the 36 previous seasons at the Div. I level, the Titans have reached the postseason 32 times. The exceptions were 1985, 1986, 1989 and 19991.

&\#149; The Titans' current string of 19 straight postseason appearances is third in the nation (coming into this year) behind Miami (38) and Florida State (33).

&\#149; The Titans have been tough when it counts late in the game going 28-0 when leading after six innings, 32-1 when leading after 7 innings and 33-0 when leading after eight innings. The one loss came on Mar. 11 at LSU. The Titans were leading 4-3 after seven, but the Tigers rolled a four in the bottom of the eighth and went on to win 7-6.

&\#149;The Titans have had 10-or-more hits in 12 of their last 16 games. They had just 14 double-digit hits in the first 36 contests of the year.

&\#149;The Titans have played errorless baseball for the last two games. The Titans have gone consecutive games without an error just five times this season. The longest errorless game streak for Fullerton this year has been four games (Feb. 27 to Mar. 5). The Titans have one 4-game streak, one 3-game streak, and three 2-game streaks.

&\#149; Centerfielder Michael Lorenzen has the longest current hitting streak for the Titans at seven games. Over his last seven outings, Lorenzen has compiled a .593 batting average (16-for-27), nine runs scored, and 9 RBI. He has also stoles six bases in that timeframe.

&\#149; At season's end we will see the true effect the new BBCOR bat restrictions have made on the college game. As far as the long ball, it has made quite an impact in Fullerton. Through 52 games, the Titans have hit just 16 home runs as a team - Nick Ramirez had 16 last year by himself. Fullerton has never finished with fewer than 28 home runs (1975) in any season.

&\#149;Who is the team's best 2-out hitter you ask? You make the Call. Carlos Lopez is 13-for-40 (.325) with 16 of his 30 RBI coming with two down. Nick Ramirez and Tyler Pill have the most two-out hits (15) and Anthony Trajano and Richy Pedroza (11) - along with Lopez - are the only other Titans with 10-or-more RBI with two down.

&\#149; Since the Titans' Apr. 26 game at San Diego, they have relied heavily on a young foursome playing up the middle. The freshman group of catcher Jared Deacon, shortstop Keegan Dale, second baseman Greg Velazquez and centerfielder Michael Lorenzen have combined to hit . 324 (102-for-315) with three home runs and 53 RBI.

&\#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-five of Fullerton's games have been decided by two runs or less, with the Titans going 19-6 in those affairs.

&\#149;When Tyler Pill hits on days he pitches, he is 11-for-31 (.355) with three runs scored and five RBI. In his career though, Pill is hitting .423 (22-for-52) on days he pitched.

&\#149; Noe Ramirez has given up just one earned run in his last 15 innings pitched and just three earned runs since Mar. 25, spanning 42.2 innings of work.

&\#149; Colin O'Connell has walked just six men all year in 70.2 innings... that translates to .76 walks per nine innings pitched. If the right-hander continues his pace, he will rank second in a Fullerton single season behind Wes Roemer's amazing mark of 0.41 walks per nine innings set in 2006.

&\#149;Freshman Michael Lorenzen has driven in a run in five consecutive games totaling 9 RBI. He has also scored in seven consecutive games totaling 9 runs. Lorenzen has figured in 18 of the Titans' 41 runs scored over the last 7 games.

BIG WEST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP TIDBITS:
The Titans have a 654-221-1 (.746, 37th year) record all-time in conference play dating back to the 1975 season. Fullerton is 481-181 (.727, 29th year) all-time in PCAA/Big West games and 173-46-1 (.789, 8 years) while playing within the SCBA.

&\#149; Cal State Fullerton has won at least a share of 24 Div. I conference championships dating back to 1975. With any combination of one Titan win or one UC Irvine loss this weekend, the titans will earn at least a share of their 25th title in 37 years. Any combination of two Fullerton wins or Irvine losses will result in the Titans winning the title outright.

&\#149;Fullerton has three PCAA conference titles (1975-76 and 1987), eight SCBA titles (1977-84), and 13 in the Big West Conference era (1990-91, 94-95, 1997, 1999-2001, 2004-06, 2008 and 2010)

&\#149; Augie Garrido (head coach from 1975-1987, 1991-96) won 14 conference championships as the Titans' head coach. Larry Cochell (1988-90) won one. George Horton (1997-2008) led the Titans to the league title seven times and Dave Serrano has two going into this weekend's games with Northridge.

&\#149; Cal State Fullerton has won 8 of the last 12 Big West Conference championships, sharing it in both 2000 (w/ Nevada) and 2008 (w/ Long Beach).