Saturday, April 25, 2009

Brown, Pill Too Much for Aggies


By Don Hudson

On a perfect Chamber of Commerce day at UC Davis, the Cal State Fullerton Titans managed just four hits but won 3-0 on Tyler Pill's second complete game shutout. Gary Brown led the offense, while the team played an outstanding defensive game behind Pill, who upped his record to 7-1.

Pill and UC Davis' Scott Chew locked up in a pitchers' duel that was scoreless through five innings. The Aggies had a couple scoring opportunities, but Pill and his defense were always equal to the task. In the bottom of the third, Scott Heylman blooped a double to leftfield, but 3B Joey Siddons made a nice diving grab of Scott Kalush's attempted sacrifice bunt. Groundouts to Joe Scott and Christian Colon got Pill out of the inning scorelessly.
Pill also stranded a runner in scoring position in the fourth inning. Joey Siddons made a nice play on a hard hit ball to end the inning.
With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Gary Brown lifted a drive towards the leftfield foul pole. It seemed certain to have the distance from the moment it left the bat, but it was a question whether it would stay fair. The ball hooked inside the pole and the Titans had a 1-0 lead on Brown's home run.

In the last of the sixth, the Aggies again placed a runner in scoring position on Joey Siddons' two-base throwing error, but Pill induced groundballs that were handled deftly by Scott and Colon.

Clinging to a narrow 1-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, Pill retired the first two batters but then gave a hint of tiring when he surrendered a base hit and a four-pitch walk. But Pill got Ty Kelly to hit a perfect double-play ball to second base, which Scott, Colon and Clark executed perfectly (even though they only needed one out.) Even the umps played it out like a real double-play situation.
Facing reliever Scott Lyman in the ninth inning, Gary Brown was hit by a pitch and stole second base. He advanced to third on Josh Fellhauer's grounder to shortstop, with Felly reaching on the Aggie's only defensive miscue of the day. Jared Clark grounded out to give the Titans a big insurance run and advance Fellhauer into scoring position. After a groundout moved Felly to third, Billy Marcoe came up with a clutch RBI base hit up the middle to give the Titans a 3-0 lead.

The two insurance runs seemed to give Pill an adrenaline burst, as he finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

So what did we learn today?
After 13 runs and 21 hits on Friday, it was nice to see pitching and defense so good that the Titans could win a road game on just four hits. Give credit to the Aggies, who also got some excellent pitching and made several good defensive plays. Chew went seven innings and allowed just three hits, no walks and one run - on the Gary Brown home run.

Complete game shutouts are usually replete with strikeouts: such was not the case today. Pill struck out just two, but he limited UC Davis to just four hits, one walk and no HBP. Pill kept his infielders busy: Clark, Scott, Colon and Siddons combined for 20 putouts and 15 assists. Joe Scott recorded eight assists, including a few tough backhand plays. Gary Brown also made a couple good catches in rightfield.

Big West umps seem to be a little too zealously calling batters for leaning into pitches that hit them. While the pitch shown here is about to hit Billy Marcoe and send him to first base, he was called back earlier when he got drilled in the arm by a pitch from which he was attempting to duck away. It seems like Gary Brown has been called back to the plate about half the times he's gotten hit lately.

Let's get this deal done tomorrow and keep this winning streak going.


Anonymous said...

Don, the HBP is something the NCAA is cracking down on, partially the result of UCI in 2007, which made a mockery of this during the regionals and CWS. What does that team and this year's CSF team have in common? A look at the stats so far shows that as of April 23rd, BW players have been hit 431 times this season, while BWC pitching staffs have hit nearly 80 fewer hitters (352). Dig a bit deeper, and you'll see that CSF leads the conference with 73 HBP's; Northridge has 66 and UCI has been hit 60 times. All other BWC teams have been hit fewer than 50 times. If you legitimately get hit, you get the base, if you lean into it, the you shouldn't be awarded a base. Serrano has used this tactic for years; it just may be catching up with him.

Anonymous said...

guys have been sticking their elbow in front of pitches for years. it used to be a badge of toughness that you stayed in there when a ball was coming at you, but its disgusting when you see a player leaning towards pitches, especially on called strikes. naturally, umpires become aware and sensitive to this as an offensive strategy. where i think the umpires become errant is when the pitch is in the batters box. too many times it seems umpires call hitters back when the pitch was thrown in an area the batter has every right to.