Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Two In a Row


By Don Hudson

It was a hot and sultry Tuesday night at Goodwin Field and the Cal State Fullerton Titans rallied twice from three-run deficits to upend the University of San Diego Torreros, 8-5. Freshman pitcher Colin O'Connell earned his first collegiate win on the strength of a five run rally started by a Dustin Garneau home run and punctuated by Gary Brown's two-run triple.

Noe Ramirez returned to the bump after sitting out the weekend series (emphasizing academics) and was touched for a run in each of the first three innings, two on solo home runs. While it was far from his best outing, he minimized damage with one run in each of the first three innings. (I remember turning to my imaginary friend Nathan and remarking that at least Noe wasn't digging us into an insurmountable hole.) The ball was also carrying like a rocket on the warm evening.

Meanwhile, Johnny Wholestaff was pitching for Rich Hill's Torreros. First Guy was yanked after 1 1/3 innings of no-hit ball. His replacement, Second Guy, gave up a leadoff single to RF Tyler Pill in the third inning, balked him to second and was replaced by Third Guy. A Joe Scott sacrifice and a Joey Siddons groundout made it 3-1, and Christian Colon's home run off the screen in leftfield made it 3-2.

In need of some work after struggling in the closer role recently, Michael Morrison entered the game in the top of the fifth. He threw three straight balls far out of the strike zone, but retired the hitter on an infield pop-up. But Jon Hotta whacked a triple deep to right-centerfield and 3B Siddons immediately alerted the dugout that Morrison needed attention for what looked (from Mikey Mo's reaction) like a charley horse or lower back tweak. Freshman Colin O'Connell was summoned and given unlimited time to warm up. His first pitch to Chris Engell (who had homered in the first inning) was pounded into leftfield for an RBI single. A 5-4-3 double-play prevented worse damage.

O'Connell was also touched for a solo tally in the sixth inning when he hit the leadoff man and scattered two singles. Once again, the Titans trailed by three runs (5-2).

The Titans got one of the runs back in the sixth inning and had a chance for more. Christian Colon singled and scored on a gap-job double to left-centerfield by Josh Fellhauer off of Fifth Guy. But Fifth Guy settled down and retired Jared Clark and Nick Ramirez to escape further damage.

After O'Connell threw a scoreless seventh inning, the Titans made their big comeback rally. Dustin Garneau hit a bomb to left-centerfield against Fifth Guy to cut the deficit to 5-4. When he committed the cardinal sin of walking the #8 and #9 hitters (Scott and Siddons), Fifth Guy got yanked.

Christian Colon greeted Sixth Guy with a groundball single through the right side for an RBI that tied the game at 5-5. It did not stay tied very long - Gary Brown laced a pitch just inside the third base line and down into the corner. Siddons and Colon raced around to score on Brown's triple. Josh Fellhauer drove in the fifth run of the inning with a sacrifice fly, making the score 8-5.

Reliever Ryan Ackland made the lead stand up with a six-out save, his first of the season.


So what did we learn last night?

My neighbors learned not to ask me for scores from ice hockey or basketball games while we're watching a baseball game. Get real, people! It is April and it's been a hundred degrees out there: hockey was meant to be played on frozen ponds and basketball is something you do in the winter to stay in shape for playing sports. It's Titan time!

Khris Davis was inactive last night, which caused some line-up shifts. Siddons played third base - and made one excellent play ranging far to his left - while Brown played left and Pill was in right. Brown made a great over-the-shoulder grab of a long ball early in the game that looked like it might find its way off the scoreboard when it left the bat.

The top of the line-up was reconfigured, with Colon leading off and Brown hitting second. I was surprised the Titans eschewed the bunt in the first inning: trailing 1-0, Colon led off with a HBP and Brown was allowed to hit away. Result: double-play. But Colon and Brown ended up the offensive heroes of the game. Colon had three hits, including the home run and the game-tying single, while Brown had two hits and the huge triple that gave the Titans the lead in the seventh inning rally.

Garneau moved up to the #6 slot and started the rally with his long home run.

I'd love to tell you more, but I need to get to work so I can sneak out early and catch the game this afternoon at Pepperdine. I hope to see you there!


Anonymous said...

Khris Davis has been suspended for weekday games this week due to academic issues in a class. while i appreciate your enthusiasm for the program, sometimes i get concerned that your opinion and limited point of view can be harmful and misreprentative of fact and truth. as a both a parent and fan of the program (i used to take him to games when he was a toddler; he's got pictures as a boy with many CSF greats from the late 80's and early 90's)my request is your observations stay on the side of the positive. putting rumors on sites can be potentially damaging to perceptions and at times it seems easy to read between the lines. playing at this level is a big challenge in itself. i'm hoping that as supporters of the program (both in large and small ways)we err on the side of encouragement. i've met just about every one of them, and they definitely deserve it. thanks Don.
Rodney Davis

Anonymous said...

I think your comments are totally out of line. Don does a great job on his recaps and makes it clear when something is "his opinion". Limited point of view - are you kidding? Not Don at all. Would you rather have had him put that your son is having academic issues in a class? As a parent, that would be embarrassing to both me and my son. Don does stay on the positive side and is very encouraging, even in games where there isn't much positive to say, and he definitely does not put "rumors" in his game recaps. Your sentence that begins with "putting rumors......" and ends with "read between the lines" makes no sense at all. That's great about your son going to games and all when he was little, but what does that have to with anything? I am also a fan of "the program" and love the recaps and the way in which Don handles sensitive issues. I am angry that you would post something so pointless and ignorant. And THAT is just MY opinion.

Anonymous said...

why the hostility? i was simply clarifying the situation. i'm disappointed but i also know that mistakes and irresponsibilities in this age group can be common. regarding our long relationship with the program, i was just providing context. i too appreciate the recaps, but these are college players and while i agree everyone has a right to their opinion, i give myself the same right to express mine. and as a parent of a player, it makes me cringe everytime i read about some mistake a player made or speculating what they should have done when i understand how difficult this game is to play and the work that each of them has put in to make your community proud of them. but we all know who i am. i'm interested to know who you are. i want to by you a drink in omaha, so we can celebrate and enjoy the accomplishments of these young people, rather than be divisive. but the second round is on you.... RD 1 john 4:7&8

DonSectionK said...

I would like to respond to the previous comments.

To Rodney Davis, I offer my sincere apologies. With a star player missing from the line-up, I published speculation as to why based on information that I truly believed was from impeccable sources. I did not believe I was repeating a rumor, but it turned out that way and I regret that.

In writing my recaps, I have always had a rule: write only what I see, not what I hear. I broke my own rule and that was a mistake.

I have modified the original post to eradicate the erroneous information and I am also self-imposing a four game suspension. If players and even coaches are to be held accountable for their errors, so too should idiot bloggers.

During that sabbatical, I will spend time earnestly reviewing previous posts to try to find a way to express myself better. I have tried very hard to be factual and both supportive and encouraging to the players. There is nobody that feels worse about it when a Titan fails than I do for, as you point out, these are remarkable young men playing a difficult game at a very high level for whom I hold the utmost respect.

Describing what happens in a baseball game inevitably is a mixture of positives and negatives. The player that hits .400 is a great player, but he makes outs 60% of the time. Likewise, the greatest pitchers sometimes give up home runs and throw wild pitches. I certainly try to describe what I see on the field accurately with encouragement even in the event of failure. If that is not coming across, then I need to do a better job.

I also want to express my appreciation for your offering your opinion. Whether two people's opinions coincide or not, I hold the right to express them to be precious. If I can learn from your comments, then I owe you a big 'thank you' and I'll buy the first AND second rounds in Omaha.

Don Hudson

Anonymous said...

Rodney, as a parent of a player, as well as a former player myself, I completely understand what you are trying to say. I don't like to hear people talk about errors or what they should or should not do, but that's the nature of the game. Where I don't agree with you is that DSK does none of the things you say he does in his recaps. I have always felt he was very positive and even chose not to do a few recaps on games where there was nothing positive to say. The posters on the board can be a heck of a lot more brutal. I am also Anonymous because that is the way I like to be.

Anonymous said...


i owe you an apology as well. my intial interaction with your blog was to offer quick appreciation followed by sharp critique (hopefully constructive). I've enjoyed your posts and recaps for a long while, and missed many opportunities to be both grateful and complimentary. it would be a shame the result from this would be denying us the birdseye view. i particularly enjoy when you set the scene by giving details or clarifying "what really happened". this service you provide to the program and it's fans is important to many of us. suspending yourself would let alot of the fans down.


DonSectionK said...

Rodney, I appreciate your reply and thank you and everybody else that expressed support. I guess I'd better gas up the car and get headed up to UC Davis!

Go Titans!