Titans Off to Omaha for 15th College World Series Appearance
June 11, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton baseball team heads to Omaha, Neb., and Rosenblatt Stadium this week - the site for the 61st annual College World Series. The Titans will be making their 15th appearance all time in the CWS and will meet either Oregon State or Michigan in their opening game on Saturday.
INTERNET BROADCASTS: All of the College World Series games from Rosenblatt Stadium will be broadcast live on fullertontitans.com. Join Justin Alderson as he brings you all the action.
GAMETRACKER: Follow all the games of the College World Series via GameTracker. Links will be posted on the baseball schedule page at fullertontitans.com.
ON TELEVISION: The fine folks at ESPN will be televising the entire College World Series from Rosenblatt Stadium on either ESPN or ESPN2, all in high definition.
CSF POST-SEASON NOTES:
&\#149; Cal State Fullerton is making its 15th appearance in the College World Series (ties for seventh most) in only the 33rd year of its Div. I history. This is its fourth appearance in five years and sixth visit in nine seasons. This is its third back-to-back (1994-95 and 2003-04) showing. The Titans have four championships in four decades (1979, 1984, 1995 and 2004), one runnerup finish (1992), five third-place, one fifth-place and three winless seventh-place showings to their credit with an all-time record of 34-23 in Omaha (22-13 over the past eight trips).
&\#149; This is Coach George Horton's sixth trip as head coach. He also made it in 1975 as a player and three times (1992, 1994-95) as associate head coach for Augie Garrido. As head coach he has a 12-9 record with one title and three third-place showings.
&\#149; Evan McArthur and John Curtis join D. C. Olsen (1992, 1994-95), P. J. Pilittere (2001, 03-04), Justin Turner (2003-04, 06) and Danny Dorn (2003-04, 06) as the only Titans to make three College World Series appearances for CSF. Bryan Harris is making his third trip to Omaha -- in 2005 with LSU and in 2006 and 2007 with Fullerton. Since the Titans never have gone more than three years in a row without making it to Omaha, every Titan who has been on the team for four consecutive seasons has made at least one trip to the CWS since the program went to Div. I in 1975.
&\#149; At .623 (38-23), this is the lowest winning percentage for a Titan team arriving in Omaha. Fullerton lost 11 of the last 17 regular season games, its last four conference series and finished at 10-11 for fifth place in the Big West Conference. But the Titans went unbeaten in Regionals for the eighth time and unbeaten in Super Regionals for the fourth time to advance.
&\#149; Fullerton's 38-23 record is identical to that of this year's Titan softball team, which advanced to the Super Regionals before losing twice at eventual national champion Arizona.
&\#149; This is the second time Fullerton has visited Omaha with another conference member in UC Irvine. But in 1988, the Titans and Fresno State were in different brackets and never met.
&\#149; The Titans have now made 29 NCAA regional appearances (tied for eighth most all-time) in their 33-year Div. I history and have not missed the post-season since 1991. The 16-year consecutive run is the fourth-longest active streak in the nation -- only Miami (35), Florida State (30), and Clemson (21) have longer streaks - and is the seventh longest all-time.
&\#149; The last time the Titans were absent from NCAA Regional play, current Titan Head Coach George Horton was in his first season as an assistant coach to former Head Coach Augie Garrido back in 1991.
&\#149; Cal State Fullerton has an all-time record of 13-4 (.765) in Super Regional play, 11-3 (.786) at Goodwin Field.
&\#149; No team has made more trips to the College World Series by winning on the road. Cal State Fullerton has done it with 11 Regional titles and 1 Super Regional title away from Goodwin Field.
&\#149; No 0-2 and BBQ... The Titans have never gone winless in Regional or Super Regional play. They have gone winless in Omaha on three occasions (1975, 1982 & 1990).
&\#149; The Titans have advanced to the Super Regionals in seven of the nine years of the extended playoff format, winning six times.
SUPER REGIONAL RECAP: Cal State Fullerton met crosstown rival UCLA for only the second time in post-season play and ran its winning streak to four games in a row over the Bruins with a 2-0 sweep at Goodwin Field, 12-2 and 2-1. (The Titans had beaten UCLA twice in Fresno in 1979 after losing the Regional opener to the Bruins).
On Saturday, Fullerton avenged its only regular season loss to UCLA and starter Tyson Brummett, when it shelled the righthander, who had beaten the Titans with a complete game on Feb. 23, 6-2. Brummett left in the fifth inning and was charged with 9 runs. Four different Titans had at least two hits and Evan McArthur was 3-for-3 with 3 runs and 3 RBI. Wes Roemer pitched a complete-game 9-hitter.
On Sunday, freshman Gavin Brooks and junior Jeff Kaplan locked up in a pitcher's duel. Neither team got a hit in the first three innings. UCLA scored first on a bases-loaded single by Bryan Babineau in the fifth but a 1-2-3 double play short-circuited the inning. Clark Hardman tied the game with a long home run in the sixth and Matt Wallach singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh. Winner Adam Jorgenson (0.2 IP) and Bryan Harris (1.2 IP, save) preserved the lead as UCLA failed to score in three late innings after leadoff doubles, including the ninth when Justin Uribe was the second out of the inning trying to score on a ground ball to McArthur.
SUPER REGIONAL TIDBITS:
&\#149; This was the second time the Titans "backed into" a host's role. In 2004, Fullerton was a No. 2 seed (Arizona State was the No. 1 in Fullerton) and was bracketed against the Mississippi Regional, where No. 1-seeded Ole Miss was upset by No. 3 seed Tulane, so the Green Wave had to come to California when CSF beat ASU.
&\#149; Of Fullerton's previous six Super Regional teams, five had won the conference championship and one (2003) had finished in second place (by one game). This year's team was 10-11 and placed fifth in the Big West Conference.
SAN DIEGO REGIONAL RECAP: Just about everything went right for the Titans, who sailed through the San Diego Regional Tournament unbeaten after being concerned that they would even make the 64-team field. It's the first time in 19 4-team Regional appearances the Titans faced only the No. 3 and No. 4 (twice) seeds and on a neutral field to boot. It was only the third time in 13 appearances in 4-team Regionals on the road that they didn't have to face the home team.
Wes Roemer survived five base runners in the first two innings before settling down to pitch a complete game, 7-1 victory over No. 3-seeded Minnesota in the opener. Two-run home runs by Evan McArthur and Josh Fellhauer bracketed a 5-run fourth inning.
Before the Titans returned to the field for their next game, the host Toreros of San Diego, the No. 8 national seed, had been eliminated from the tournament by a 6-2 loss to No. 4 seed Fresno State and a 6-5 loss in 10 innings to Minnesota. Jeff Kaplan was staked to a 6-0 lead against the Bulldogs on Saturday night as McArthur had a 2-run double in a 4-run fifth inning. Fresno State threatened in every inning and Adam Jorgenson came on to pitch the final 3.1 innings, allowing two runs to save a 6-4 victory.
Fresno State eliminated Minnesota, 11-6, on Sunday afternoon and then had less than an hour to prepare for the rested Titans. Clark Hardman hit the second pitch of the game over the right-field wall but the Bulldogs responded with a tying run in the bottom of the first off surprise starter Justin Klipp. But Fullerton posted 4 runs in the third, the big blow a 3-run home run by John Curtis, and Klipp faced the minimum of 11 batters while going two outs into the fifth inning. Two Fresno State singles brought on Bryan Harris from the bullpen. He fanned the first four Bulldogs he faced and retired 11 in a row into the ninth. Meanwhile, Fresno State made six errors to account for seven unearned runs and the Titans capped it with a solo home run in the ninth by Dustin Garneau for his first collegiate round tripper and a 13-2 win. Hardman (8-for-12) earned MVP honors and was joined on the all-tourney team by Roemer and Fellhauer (6-for-12 w/2 2Bs and a HR).
&\#149; In all three regional games, Fullerton led, 6-1, after 5 innings, and in the Super Regional opener it led 6-1 after three innings vs. UCLA on Saturday.
&\#149; In eliminating Fresno State (6-4 & 13-2), the Titans knocked out the Bulldogs for the second year in a row (9-2 & 10-3 in 2006) and fourth time (also 1979 in Fresno and 1981 in Tempe) overall. Fullerton is 8-2 vs. the Bulldogs in NCAA play.
&\#149; The Titans swept a 4-team Regional on the ROAD for the fifth time. They have won three times on the road with a 3-1 record and three times with a 4-1 record. In winning five Regionals at home, the Titans have gone 3-0 twice, 4-1 twice and 3-1 once. In winning five 6-team Regionals, all on the road, the Titans went unbeaten four times and 4-1 once. Fullerton has won 11 of its 16 Regional titles on the road, more than any other school.
&\#149; This Titan team of few stars had only three players -- Hardman, Roemer and Fellhauer -- on the all-tourney team. Fresno State (2-2) had five selections and Minnesota (1-2) also had three. Host USD was shut out.
VICTORY SMELL: In NCAA Div. I Tournament play where Cal State Fullerton has advanced to within one victory of a tourney championship, the Titans have captured the title 26 of 29 times -- 16 of 17 times in Regionals, 6 of 7 times in Super Regionals and 4 of 5 times in Omaha. The exceptions: 1976 Regional, lost game No. 7 at Washington State; 1992 CWS, lost championship game to Pepperdine; 2005 Super Regional, lost games Nos. 2 & 3 at home to Arizona State.
REGULAR SEASON IN REVIEW: It would take a book to chronicle the roller coaster 2007 Titan season, but briefly: the six top hitters, two of the top three starters and both closers were among the losses to the roster from the 2006 team and that turnover was compounded by injuries (RHP/OF Jared Clark missed the entire season) and ineligibility (touted freshman shortstop prospect didn't cut it) and then all four infielders broke something - SS Scott, finger in Fall; 3B McArthur, hamate; 2B Weeks, ankle; and 1B Vazquez, wrist (Weeks could play in the CWS but Vazquez is done). A reliable third starter never materialized after freshman Sean Urena came back to earth after 1-hitting Rice and beating UCLA in February. Inconsistency became the norm and a lack of power put added pressure on the offense to execute. A team that could win a series vs. Arizona, Rice, Long Beach State and, later, Wichita State also went 4-11 against the top five clubs in the Big West, suffering rare series losses to UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. The pre-season favorite to win the Big West title fell out of the national rankings and had only three players on the first two All-Big West units. But then came a new season with NCAA play and the Titans have only trailed for one inning, outscoring the opposition in five games, 40-10. Beginning with the final series against Long Beach State, the Titans have out homered the opposition, 13-2 over the last 8 games. For the first 53 games the totals were 25 each. Go figure.
VS. THE FIELD: Fullerton is 3-3 this season against the balance of the CWS field - 2-1 vs. Rice and 1-2 vs. UC Irvine. All-time at the Div. I level, the Titans are 64-18 vs. UC Irvine, 20-24 vs. Arizona State and 2-0 vs. Oregon State/3-0 vs. Michigan; 0-2 vs. North Carolina, 9-5 vs. Rice and 5-1 vs. Mississippi State for a total of 100-50 if it's Oregon State and 101-50 if it's Michigan.
CONNECTIONS VS. THE FIELD: Fullerton is a co-member of the Big West Conference with UC Irvine (campuses about 20 miles apart in Orange County) and played both the Anteaters and Rice this season; Fullerton is 8-8 in NCAA play vs. Arizona State (1-1 in Omaha, 2-4 in Tempe and 5-3 in Fullerton) and 4-1 vs. Mississippi State (0-1 in Omaha, 2-0 in Starkville and 2-0 in Fullerton); Fullerton beat Michigan in its 1984 CWS opener and Fullerton shared a charter jet to Omaha with Oregon State in 2006, when it lost twice to North Carolina. Louisville? Absolutely no connection other than Jim Fregosi managed in the minor leagues there and he and Augie Garrido were pals in Orange County.
LEFT COAST, LEFT BRACKET, LEFT WONDERING: All four Big West teams, all four Pac-10 teams, both West Coast Conference schools and the Western Athletic Conference champion all found themselves on the left-hand of the 64-team bracket. All three Big West teams sent on the road (CSF, UCI and UC Riverside) found themselves playing at one of the top eight national seeds. Coincidence?
FLY UNITED: For the third trip to Omaha in a row, the Titans are flying "united" on a charter jet with one of the opposing teams. In 2004, the Titans flew out of Ontario Airport and stopped in Tucson to pick up the University of Arizona team. Each team had one side of the aisle. Fullerton won the national title. In 2006, Oregon State detoured south from Eugene to pick up the Titans at Ontario and head to Omaha. Oregon State won the national title. Both times the teams were in different brackets. But in 2007, the Titans will leave Southern California, stop in Phoenix to pick up Arizona State and then head to Omaha. The Titans and Sun Devils could meet on Monday, which would be their ninth meeting in NCAA Tournament play since 2001. Fullerton holds a 5-3 advantage in the Horton-Murphy series.
TITAN HOUSE IS BACK: For the fourth time, the Titans will have a fan headquarters located across the street from Rosenblatt Stadium. It's the same house as last year, at 3464 S. 13th St., where fans can gather before and after games. The house is sponsored by the Alumni Association and the Titan Athletics Club and funded in great part by donations of money, food and beverage from player parents and fans.
REGIONAL MVP: Clark Hardman hit .571 and collected a team-high eight hits, hitting his fourth home run while driving in three at the San Diego Regional, to earn him the tournament's Most Valuable Player honor. He joined Wes Roemer and Josh Fellhauer on the all-tournament team.
TEAM OF FEW STARS: Hardman was the Titans' only first-team All-Big West Conference selection. Wes Roemer and Jeff Kaplan were second-team picks and John Curtis gained honorable mention. The last time the Titans had only one first-teamer was 1988 when catcher Brent Mayne (who would have a 15-year major league career) was the lone recipient for a team that went to Omaha and took third place. Only Hardman, Roemer and Josh Fellhauer made the regional all-tourney team despite a 3-0 record. Second-place Fresno State had five selections.
RUNS IN THE THIRD: The Titans have out-scored their opponents in the third inning by a score of 51-16, the largest differential in any inning in 2007.
WHEN LEADING LATE: The Titans have been nearly perfect this season when leading late in the game. Fullerton is 32-3 when leading after seven innings and 34-1 when leading after eight.
IRON MEN: Joe Scott is the lone Titan to have started all 61 games this season. Clark Hardman, prior to May 2's game at Pepperdine, was the only other player with a then 42-game starting streak. Hardman got the day off in Malibu due to a sore ankle as the Titans dropped the midweek affair with Pepperdine. The centerfielder has started in all but the one midweek game this season.
ENTERING THE TOP 10's: Wes Roemer (Glendora, Calif.) has entered the Cal State Fullerton record books in six new career Top 10 categories adding to the two records for Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio (1st, 8.2, 359:44) and Fewest Walks Per 9 Innings (1st, 1.1). Roemer is currently just outside the Top 10 in ERA. Roemer ranks in Wins (t-6th, 31), Starts (4th, 48), Innings Pitched (3rd, 381.0), Hits Allowed (4th, 349), Strikeouts (2nd, 359) and Strikeouts Per 9 Innings (8th, 8.2). He is only 6 strikeouts shy of leader Adam Johnson (365 in 1998-2000).
CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK: Matt Wallach (Yorba Linda, Calif.) was, at best, a pinch hitter for the first 25 games of the season, and was the second or third-string catcher behind John Curtis. But with the season-ending wrist injury to Jake Vasquez, Wallach was forced into duty at first base, playing every game since the loss of Vasquez. Wallach has posted a .254 batting average in 39 starts this seasons and is tied for third on the team with four home runs. Matt is the son of Titan icon, 17-year major leaguer and five-time MLB All-Star Tim. The elder, who also played first base for the Titans, was a part of the Titans' first national championship back in 1979 when he won the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's best baseball player.
ALL-AMERICAN PUSH: Junior Clark Hardman is putting up numbers that are surpassing numbers he tallied as a Freshman All-American in 2004. His .391 batting average is a career-high, as are his 102 hits, 14 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 47 RBI and nine stolen bases. His .427 on-base percentage leads the team and his 102 hits are 46 more than the next best Titan (John Curtis with 56). His 102 hits are tied for ninth on the CSF single-season list.
NEW HIRE: Titan Volunteer Assistant Coach Bill Kernen was hired on May 17 to be the first head baseball coach at Cal State Bakersfield. He will remain with the Titans for the remainder of the season in his current role. CSUB is in transition to become a Division I athletic program and will field its first baseball team in 2009. Kernen, no stranger to the Cal State system, was the head coach at Cal State Northridge from 1989-95 where he tallied a 240-154-3 career record (.608 winning percentage), and successfully transitioned the Matadors into a Division I school. Kernen guided the Matadors to a near miss trip to the College World Series in 1991, the first year at the DI level for CSUN. Upon the hire, Titan skipper George Horton had this to say about his departing assistant: "I would like to congratulate both Bill Kernen and Cal State Bakersfield as they move towards the challenge of Division I baseball. It seems to me, after an extensive search, that Bakersfield has found the right guy in Bill Kernen to begin a strong baseball tradition. There is little doubt in my mind that Coach Kernen will do a fabulous job."
TALE OF TWO SEASONS: Before a double header with UC Davis on Apr. 15, Joe Scott was hitting a dismal .179 and had just 19 hits and eight RBI under his belt in 106 official at bats. Since then, the sophomore from Corona has increased his average 75 points (.254) over the last 28 games by going 28 for his last 90 at bats (.311) while knocking in 16 from the No. 9 spot in the lineup. He also has 11 walks, 2 HBPs and 7 sac-bunts and a sac-fly to his credit during that span.
CAREER MARKS FOR CURTIS: John Curtis has come into his own for his senior season, and has barely dipped below his career-best .277 batting average set last season (now at .284). The catcher from Newhall, Calif., has set career-highs in home runs (6), doubles (17) and RBI (45). Prior to this season, the senior catcher had not hit a home run in over 420 career at bats. His six home runs now place him second on the team behind Nick Mahin's team-leading nine round-trippers.
DUBIOUS HONOR: Wes Roemer (Glendora, Calif.) is closing in on the dubious honor of having hit the most batters in a career. Nino Fasulo of Charleston Southern, hit 66 in his four-year career in 209 IP from 2002-2005 and currently holds the NCAA mark. Roemer now holds the top three spots in the CSF single-season record book (23 in 2006, 18 in 2005 and 20 so far in 2007) and sits just five shy of tying Fasulo's mark at 61 career plunks. His 23 hit batters in 2006 as a sophomore, were just two shy of the NCAA single-season mark set by Florida's Marc Valdes in 1993.
CON"GRAD"ULATIONS: Three Titans seniors John Curtis (criminal justice), Bryan Harris (kinesiology) and Evan McArthur (business) graduated a few weekends ago. All three missed their walking ceremonies as the Titans were playing on the road in San Luis Obispo on May 19 and 20... four hours away from the Cal State Fullerton campus.
OUT OF THE GOLDEN STATE: The Titans have played nine games out of the state of California and have gone 4-5 combined at UNLV (2-1), East Carolina (0-3) and Wichita State (2-1). In those nine games the Titans hit .257 as a team while the pitchers posted a 4.81 team ERA. Platoon-outfielder Chris Jones has the best average out of the state hitting .417 with a homer and six RBI while Clark Hardman picked up a team-leading 12 hits. Jeff Kaplan posted a 1.59 ERA on those trips going 2-1 over 17 innings of work.
CLOSING IN: Titan Head Coach George Horton (490-210-1, 198-69) is inching closer to both his 500th career win and his 200th Big West Conference win. The 11th-year head coach is just 10 shy of the career milestone and just two wins away from the conference plateau. Former Long Beach Head Coach Dave Snow is the only one sitting in front of Horton on the all-time conference win list with 218 as skipper of the 49ers.
IN A PINCH: The Titans have hit just .183 from the bench with Jon Wilhite's four hits leading the team. Wilhite is 4-for-16 on the year from the bench including a pinch-hit single in the Regional championship game.
HOMER HAPPY: The Titans, who struggled to hit homers for the first 53 games (.52 per game) of the season, have hit 13 over the past 8 games (more than 1.5 a game). Clark Hardman (3), Evan McArthur, Josh Fellhauer and John Curtis have each blasted multiple long-balls over the last 8 games. Conversely, the Titan pitching staff has surrendered just two over the same 8-game period.
PUTTING IT ANOTHER WAY: After 53 games, the Titans had a .381 team slugging percentage. In the last 8 games the team slugging percentage is .535 led by Hardman (.794), McArthur (.767) and Fellhauer (.677).
RISP-Y BUSINESS: The Titans have driven in more than 70 percent of the runners that have reached third base with less than two outs, and are hitting .314 with runners in scoring position. Clark Hardman is the guy Coach George Horton wants at the plate with runners in scoring position. The centerfielder is hitting a whopping .406 (28-for-69) with runners at second and/or third. Nick Mahin has been nearly as productive, going 23-for-63 (.365) with runners in scoring position.
TWO-OUT NIGHTMARES: Clark Hardman (Trabuco Canyon, Calif) now leads the team with a .400 (28-for-70) average and 19 RBI with two outs this season. Nick Mahin (Cypress, Calif.) is tied as the team's top run producer with two out, driving in 18 of his 45 total RBI in the critical situations, despite hitting just .236.
TEAM USA: Wes Roemer (Glendora, Calif.) pitched with the US National Team this past summer going 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA (22.1 IP) in the Red, White and Blue.
FOUR, FOUR BAGGERS: On May 8 Cal State Fullerton set a season-high blasting four home runs in the same game against Loyola Marymount. Nick Mahin hit his team-leading sixth and seventh taters of the year, while Josh Fellhauer and Corey Jones added the other two. It was Jones' first-career bomb and was a three-run blast into the arboretum behind the right field wall at Goodwin Field.
HISTORIC SERIES: For the first time in 15 Division I series between Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly, the Mustangs took two of three from the Titans with a 6-3 win on May 18 and a 3-1 win on May 20. Cal Poly did win a series in 1973, two years prior to George Horton's appearance on the First Titan DI team in 1975.
LEGENDARY COACH: In October, 2006, Head Coach George Horton was honored to take part in a documentary called "Legendary Coaches" that will be released as a special feature on the forthcoming "We Are Marshall" DVD set for release Sept. 18, 2007. Horton is one focus of a six-segment feature with other legends Lute Olson (Arizona, men's basketball head coach), Pat Summit (Tennessee, women's basketball head coach), John Wooden (former UCLA basketball head coach), Bobby Bowden (Florida State, football head coach) as well as 1971 Marshall football Head Coach Jack Lengyel.
BIG WEST PREDICTIONS: In pre-season voting, The Cal State Fullerton baseball team was picked to claim its fourth-consecutive Big West Conference championship as shown in the Big West Preseason Coaches Poll. George Horton's Titans garnered seven of the eight first place votes (63 total points) giving them the edge over UC Riverside who finished in second with 50 total points. UC Irvine and Long Beach State finished close behind in third and fourth places, respectively.
TO COACH OR NOT TO COACH?: Volunteer Assistant Coach Bill Kernen has a tale (or two) to tell you, that not many in the baseball business could fathom. Kernen, a veteran collegiate coach, left the game after more than 20 years and moved to New York to become a playwright in 1995. He went to Columbia University in New York to study writing and while there, penned "And Other Fairy Tales" and "A Graveyard Symphony" within his first two years. Two more, "Galleria degli Angeli" (1998) and "Musica de Mariposa" (1999), would follow in the next two years, with his 1998 effort being honored as a finalist in the Oglebay Institute National Playwriting Competition. Kernen's play "Snapshot of Molly and Her Man" (2002) was turned in to a 16 minute short film in 2002, with the Titan pitching coach earning credit as the film's casting director as well. Kernen was the head coach at Cal State Northridge from 1989-95 where he accumulated a 240-154-3 (.609) career record, just missing a trip to Omaha in CSUN's first year at the Div. I level.
MAJOR LEAGUE DRAFT: Despite a roster of few stars, Cal State Fullerton had 10 players drafted in the June major league draft, tying for the fifth most Titans taken in a single year. RHP Wes Roemer went as player No. 50 in the sandwich round to Arizona followed by: Clark Hardman, 9th round to Cubs; Evan McArthur, 11th round to San Francisco; John Curtis, 14th round to White Sox; Nick Mahin, 16th round to White Sox; Justin Klipp, 22nd round to White Sox; injured Jared Clark, 21st round to Cleveland; Bryan Harris, 22nd round to Seattle; Matt Wallach, 22nd round to the Dodgers and Joe Scott, 39th round to Milwaukee.
TITANS SEE TWO CALLED UP: Two former Titans were called up to the major leagues for the first time last week. Pitcher Jordan DeJong made his major league debut with the Toronto Blue Jays on June 5, striking out the side in his one inning of work in the Jays' 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. DeJong was a member of the Titans in 1998-99, and 2002 and put up a 16-4 career record with 2 saves and a 4.81 ERA. The righty joins former Titan teammate Reed Johnson on the Jays, though Johnson is currently on the disabled list.
Catcher Kurt Suzuki was called up by Oakland Sunday (June 10) where he is a teammate of former Titan Golden Spikes Award winner Mark Kotsay. Suzuki was playing for Sacramento in Triple A. He was the heart of the Titans' offense in their 2004 national championship season, capping a 3-year career. When he appears in a game he will become the 45th former Titan to do so in the bigs and the 13th this season - joining DeJong, Kotsay, Johnson, Util. Mike Lamb at Houston, RHP Chad Cordero at Washington, OF Aaron Rowand at Philadelphia, RHP Matt Wise at Milwaukee, RHP Wes Littleton at Texas, INF Mike Rouse at Cleveland and OF Shane Costa and RHP Brandon Duckworth at Kansas City. RHP Kirk Saarloos was sent down a few weeks ago by Cincinnati.
AND, FINALLY, TO ANSWER THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION ABOUT THE TITANS IN OMAHA?: Kevin Costner did not attend a game at Goodwin Field this year. His Omaha travel plans are unknown. He considered attending Sunday's Super Regional game vs. UCLA but, in the words of Crash Davis, didn't want to "bleep with a winning streak." Had the Titans lost, he had lined up a helicopter for a Monday appearance. As a footnote: Titans' Assistant AD/Facilities Aaron Tapper and softball volunteer assistant coach Michelle Anunciation will be married next week and the reception will be at the Field of Dreams ballpark in Iowa and will include a coed softball game. And had the Titans not advanced to Omaha, Coach Horton and his family were planning a late June vacation at Costner's ranch near Aspen.