Monday, May 25, 2009

Senior Day Massacre


By Don Hudson

By now it's all old news, so we'll keep it brief: the Titans kicked the spit out of the Dirtbags last night at Goodwin Field, 15-3, and were awarded the second seed in the NCAA Tournament. It was Senior Day for the Titans and all six seniors (Jared Clark, Joe Scott, Dustin Garneau, Matthew Fahey, Jeff Newman and Shevis Shima) on the squad started - and each scored a run. Newman and Clark each reached base four times, with Newman scoring thrice.

Tyler Pill pitched four effective innings (one run on three hits, with one walk and four strikeouts) and was credited with his tenth win - a new school record for freshmen - on a "designated staff day."

Everybody is already looking forward to the Regionals, so I'll spare you the details on last night except the eleven run third inning - the most scored in an inning by the Titans since 2007 against Stanford (also eleven runs). In this case, much of the Dirtbag damage was self-inflicted: eight unearned runs in the inning.

Facing Dirtbag starting pitcher Andrew Gagnon, Newman finished a good at-bat with a single to leftfield, which was followed by Josh Fellhauer getting hit by a pitch. A four-pitch walk to Clark loaded the bases for Khris Davis, who delivered an RBI groundout to give the Titans their first run of the game. After a walk to Fahey reloaded the bases, Dustin Garneau lined a base hit to rightfield, scoring one run and leaving the bases loaded.

After Scott struck out for the second out, the damage was just two runs, with Shima coming up and the bases loaded. Ooops - Gagnon hit him with a pitch, making it 3-0 with the bases loaded.
So far, it is a pitching problem - out came Gagnon and in came Josh Corrales. This is when the wheels really came off the Long Beach wagon. Gary Brown hit a soft liner to shortstop Kirk Singer for what should have ended the inning. But Singer misplayed the ball and another run scored and the inning continued, with the bases loaded. A walk to Newman drove in another run and left the bases loaded. Fellhauer then hit a grounder to second-base that was misplayed and two more runs were in. After Felly stole a base, Jared Clark ripped a base hit to rightfield for his 69th and 70th RBI of the season.

Then, just for good measure, Khris Davis launched a monstrous home run deep to leftfield, punctuating the eleven run inning. The bomb gave Davis the team lead in home runs with 12, just ahead of Clark (11) and Nick Ramirez (10).

From that point on, it was simply a matter of getting a little work for five members of the bullpen: Brock Floro, Michael Morrison, Colin O'Connell, Kevin Rath and Ryan Ackland. The Titans were extraordinarily merciful in not making the score much worse than it was: there were numerous times the Titans played station-to-station baseball after the game's outcome was no longer in doubt.

So what did we learn last night?

The Dirtbags (who didn't really play like real Dirtbags) are probably glad they won't be seeing Goodwin Field for two more years: they went 0-6 here this season, counting the three games they were swept by the Gauchos when fires caused their scheduled series in Santa Barbara to be played at a neutral site.

With six seniors starting and the game result not affecting the NCAA outcome, Christian Colon sat out the entire game, leaving Jared Clark as the only player to start all 56 games this season. Gary Brown was the only other Titan to play in all 56 games, starting in 54 of them.

Brown led the offense with three hits, while Davis and Fellhauer each posted three RBI. Seniors Shima, Newman and Clark all had two hits for the Titans.
On an evening when the seniors were wildly popular, Shevis Shima received an extra special standing ovation after lining a double into the leftfield corner in the seventh inning: he was the "Double-Double Player of the Game."

This was a day when the story can be told better in pictures than words. Here are just a few of the scenes from Senior Day. (Click on pictures to enlarge and save, if you wish.)

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