Thursday, February 25, 2010

TCU Series Preview

By FullertonBaseballFan

Cal State Fullerton’s season got off to a slow start last weekend with only one win in three games. The Titans lost to Oregon in the much anticipated return of former head coach George Horton, were shut out by Pepperdine in an outstanding pitching performance by LHP Matt Bywater and beat Long Beach State, 8-1, with solid hitting and a good outing by Tyler Pill. Fullerton welcomes the TCU Horned Frogs to Goodwin Field in the only matchup this weekend of teams that are ranked in the top ten in at least one of the major polls.

TCU has appeared in regionals in all six seasons that Jim Schlossnagle has been in Fort Worth and look like they have an outstanding chance to once again play in a regional in June. The Horned Frogs were the Mountain West Conference regular season champions last year and their program took a step forward by both hosting and winning a regional for the first time before they were eliminated in a super regional by Texas. TCU is the unanimous choice to win the MWC on the strength of a deep pitching staff that returns almost every major contributor from last year and some strong recruiting classes that have infused the program with a high level of talent to overcome the departures of several seniors from the middle of their lineup.

TCU got their season off to a successful start with by winning all three games at home against Sam Houston State (who have qualified for three straight regionals as champions of the Southland Conference). The Horned Frogs opened up the season with a 4-0 win on Friday with three pitchers combining for a shutout before the bats woke up on Saturday and Sunday in 12-7 and 15-2 wins. It wasn’t much of a surprise that the staff ERA for the weekend was 2.88 and the TCU pitching staff held Sam Houston State to a .242 batting average. What was impressive was a lineup with five newcomers hit a scorching .392 with a .569 SLG % in the three game sweep.


TCU had an improved offense last season with a veteran laden lineup. The Horned Frogs went from hitting only 37 HR’s in 2008, which was easily the lowest total in Schlossnagle’s first five years at TCU, to hitting 67 HR’s last year. TCU would bunt with some of their lesser hitters but were pretty content to let the veterans swing the bats and it looks like they will have a similar approach at the plate with only one SAC bunt last weekend. The Horned Frogs didn’t run much last season and lost three of the four players with at least seven SB’s but ran wild last weekend with nine SB’s. TCU will take a patient approach at the plate and work counts to draw walks.


TCU had a very experienced infield last year with four returning starters and each of those starters was solid defensively. The Horned Frogs set school records for fielding % in 2007 and 2008 but slid back a little last year in that area while breaking in a new starter at SS. This year TCU is breaking in new starters at three positions after the graduation of SR’s at 1B, 2B and 3B.

C – SR Bryan Holaday (RH – .300/.351/.507, 10-48-2) is in his third year as a starter and is the team leader. He has been 1st or 2nd team all MWC the last two years. Holaday has good power and was 3rd on the team in HR and RBI last season and will hit 3rd. He is a very good defensive catcher and does a good job both blocking pitches (34 WP/PB) and against the running game and held runners to only 29-61 on SB attempts. Holaday went 5-12 with 1 HR and 4 RBI last weekend. He was 3-10 last year at Fullerton.

1B – SR Matt Curry (LH – .315/.421/.444, 3-31-2) came into TCU with a reputation for being a power hitter (20 HR, 90 RBI his Soph year in JC ball) and lived up to that prediction in the series at Fullerton with 2 HR and 4 RBI (5-12 in the series) but only hit one more HR the rest of the year. He will see lots of pitches and was among the team leaders in both BB’s and K’s last season. Curry has had some issues with his conditioning but lost 25 lbs in the offseason. He was the DH last season and will be playing 1B and hitting 6th. Curry went 5-10 with 1 HR and 5 RBI last weekend.

2B – JC Transfer Jerome Pena (Both) was drafted in the 40th round and is a solid defensive player who can also play SS and started there once last weekend. He has some pop in his bat (5-11 last weekend with 1 HR) for the #9 hitter in the lineup. Soph Aaron Schultz (RH – .254 in 71 AB’s) started the other game at 2B when Pena was at SS. He ended up playing CF at the end of last season due to some lineup shuffling to settle down the defense up the middle.

SS – Soph Taylor Featherston (RH – .322/.395/.461, 5-28-8) came into TCU with high expectations after being ranked among the top 30 players in Texas for the June ’08 draft. He lived up to those expectations at the plate and was 3rd on the team in H’s and R’s but struggled defensively and made 27 errors. Featherston ended up playing 2B for part of the season to make things easier for him on defense and to keep his bat in the lineup. He is predicted to contend for all MWC honors this season and went 3-8 last weekend. Featherston was 4-11 with 1 HR and 3 RBI last season at Fullerton.

3B – Redshirt FR Davy Wright (RH) is in the lineup for his glove and went 1-5 last weekend while batting 8th the first two games. Holaday played 3B on Sunday.

Outfield and DH

TCU’s OF looked like it would be a little unsettled going into the season with only one starter returning but they have been able to hit the ground running with two high impact FR stepping right into the lineup and giving the Horned Frogs an athletic OF.

LF – Soph Jason Coats (RH – .316/.393/.518, 6-32-2) stepped right into the lineup last season as a FR and was 3rd on the team in SLG %. He didn’t run much last year but stole three bases last weekend while going 4-11 and hitting 5th in all three games. Coats was 4-11 with 1 RBI last season at Fullerton.

CF – FR Kyle VonTungeln (LH) is the fastest runner on the team and was listed as one of the top 100 prospects in the draft last June in Texas. He went 3-12 and hit two 2B’s while leading off in all three games last weekend.

RF – FR Josh Elander (RH) is one of the best athletes on the team and has the potential to both hit for power (8-10 last weekend with 6 RBI) and run (4-5 SB’s last weekend) while hitting 7th. He has a good arm in RF because he is also the backup catcher and started behind the plate last Sunday.

DH – JC transfer Joe Weik (RH) is being looked at to provide power to the lineup and is hitting cleanup despite being a newcomer. He drove in 119 runs in two JC seasons. Weik was 4-10 with 5 RBI last weekend.


TCU should have another very good pitching staff this season and returns nine of their top ten pitchers from last year’s staff that ranked in the top 20 nationally in team ERA and H/9 IP. TCU also has the highest rated incoming recruit in the country to add to all of the depth that they have on their pitching staff.


FRI – JR Steven Maxwell (RHP – 3-2, 6.10 ERA, 12 apps, 10 starts, 38 IP, 49 H, 10 BB, 27 K, 5 HR, .331 BA, 3 HBP, 2 WP) has had a slow path back from TJ surgery in 2008 after making only three starts that season (one was a win against Fullerton – 7 IP, 2 R). He started to get healthier in the fall and has a fastball in the 92-94 range and a power curveball. Maxwell threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings last weekend with six K’s but struggled with his control and allowed five BB’s. He is projected to be drafted in the first ten rounds in June and could move up several rounds if he shows he is healthy this season.

SAT – FR Matt Purke (LHP) was the 1st round pick of the Texas Rangers last June but couldn’t agree to terms with them and ended up on campus in Fort Worth. He has a fastball in the mid 90’s and a solid changeup and curveball. He went five innings last weekend and allowed 4 R (3 ER) on 7 H and 1 BB with 8 K’s.

SUN – Soph Kyle Winkler (RHP – 7-1, 4.15 ERA, 17 apps, 14 starts, 74 IP, 70 H, 35 BB, 48 K, 5 HR, .262 BA, 7 HBP, 4 WP) ended up being the best SP on TCU’s staff last year, not suffering his first loss until the super regional at Texas, and gives them an advantage over the Sunday SP of most teams that they will face this season. He has a fastball in the low 90’s, a power sinker and a solid curveball and changeup. Winkler has struggled at times with his control, including his start at Fullerton where he allowed 6 R (1 ER) on 2 H and 3 BB in 3 IP. He only threw three innings last weekend because TCU got out to a big lead in his start and turned it into a staff day to get other pitchers some work.


TCU has a very deep bullpen with a good returning closer and several pitchers who have been SP’s during their careers.

SR Eric Marshall (RHP – 2-2, 1.48 ERA, 9 saves, 24 apps, 30 IP, 22 H, 5 BB, 20 K, 1 HR, .206 BA, 5 HBP, 1 WP) came out of nowhere to take over the closer’s role after only throwing 26 innings in middle relief in 2008. Marshall is a control specialist who keeps the ball down. He gave up the game winning run in the Friday night game his only appearance last year at Fullerton.

SR Tyler Lockwood (RHP – 4-2, 4.71 ERA, 17 apps, 9 starts, 71 IP, 75 H, 18 BB, 44 K, 6 HR’s, .281 BA, 11 HBP, 1 WP) was the Fri SP in 2008 and 1st team all MWC and one of the weekend SP’s last year. This season, Lockwood will be one of the middle relievers due to all of the pitching depth at TCU. He has very good control and does a good job of keeping the ball down. Lockwood allowed 1 R in 2 2/3 IP in two appearances last weekend. He has allowed 2 R in 8 1/3 IP in three appearances (one start) against Fullerton.

SR Paul Gerrish (RHP – 7-2, 3.84 ERA, 17 apps, 9 starts, 61 IP, 61 H, 16 BB, 59 K, 4 HR, .261 BA, 4 HBP, 1 WP) started out as a midweek SP and middle reliever last year and ended up the season as one of the weekend SP’s. He is a control specialist whose best pitch is a power sinker. Gerrish threw one scoreless inning in his only appearance last weekend.

JR Trent Appleby (RHP – 4-1, 3.61 ERA, 24 apps, 57 IP, 57 H, 20 BB, 47 K, 3 HR, .270 BA, 9 HBP, 2 WP) is another control specialist whose best pitch is a power sinker. He has been effective out of the bullpen for two years and hasn’t been a SP but and is capable of throwing several innings per outing. Appleby threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his only appearance last weekend.

JR Greg Holle (RHP – 5-2, 3.89 ERA, 12 apps, 9 starts, 42 IP, 43 H, 15 BB, 26 K, 2 HR, .269 BA, 3 HBP, 2 WP) was a weekend SP two years ago and a midweek SP last season. He was a high profile recruit coming into TCU and still projects to be drafted in the first 10-15 rounds despite not having a major role on the pitching staff. Holle allowed 3 R’s in 1 1/3 IP in his only appearance last weekend.

TCU also has several Sophs who were high profile recruits last year with Erik Miller (RHP – 0-2, 4.50 ERA, 22 apps, 26 IP, 3 saves), Kaleb Merck (RHP – 0-0, 5.94 ERA, 17 apps, 17 IP, 1 save) and Walker Kelly (LHP – 1-2, 7.71 ERA, 11 apps, 12 IP).


Fullerton played poorly in their first two games of the season before putting forth a much better effort in the final game last weekend. The Titans have to figure out which team is going to show up in order to win this series. Fullerton isn’t in a must win situation in this series but they are as close as you will find this early in the year because the Titans do not want to get off to a 2-4 or 1-5 start before playing the next three weekends on the road.

TCU rolled into Goodwin Field last year with a great deal of confidence and their experience lineup manhandled a relatively inexperienced Fullerton pitching staff. The Horned Frogs have quite a bit of turnover in their batting order this year but they didn’t hit like it in their opening series in the D1 debuts for five of their hitters.

Runs could be difficult to come by this weekend with the experienced and talented pitching staffs that both teams have. If it comes down to a battle of bullpens that would favor TCU because of the quality depth that the Horned Frogs have with their relievers. Fullerton has to score runs early and have their SP’s hold TCU down and work late into games. If the Titans are able to follow that formula Fullerton should win this series. If the Fullerton lineup is held down like it was the first two games last weekend or the SP’s for the Titans struggle then TCU will win this series.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Diamond Club Newsletter (February 2010)

CSF Baseball will continue to host and archive the Diamond Club newsletters throughout the 2010 season. Click on each page to enlarge:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2010 Season Opening Weekend Preview

By FullertonBaseballFan

It’s time for another year of Titan Baseball with the potential for a return visit to Omaha in the last year of venerable Rosenblatt Stadium. Fullerton is ranked in the top five in every major poll on the strength of a pitching staff that returns all three weekend starters and several position players that are pre-season All Americans. Instead of starting the season with a weekend series this year the Titans get things going against three different opponents on opening weekend. Here is a preview for each of Fullerton’s opponents.


Friday – Oregon Ducks

Overall Record – 14-42
Conference Record – 4-23 (10th place)
RPI/ISR – 235/186
Predicted conf finish – 10th place

2009 Summary and 2010 Preview

Oregon fielded their first baseball team in 28 years in 2009 and they chose a very familiar face to Fullerton fans to lead the effort with former Titan head coach George Horton. They rode the wave of emotion of having a new program to a solid 9-9 start but once the Pac 10 season started things headed south for the Ducks and they only went 5-33 the rest of the way and ended the year with a thirteen game losing streak. Oregon had a solid Fri SP (7th round pick Erik Stavert) and a solid closer (Drew Gagnier, brother of former Fullerton pitcher Lauren Gagnier) but didn’t have much pitching depth after those two and had a staff ERA of 5.07 and struggled in conference games with a 5.95 ERA. To say the Ducks struggled offensively would be an understatement because they were the lowest scoring team in the country at 2.8 RPG. Oregon hit .227 as a team, which was the 2nd worst batting average in the country, and hit .201 in Pac 10 games. Oregon returns most of their starters except for Stavert and OF Caleb Tomassini so there should be improvement due to the experience they have, another recruiting class with some talented players and the coaching of George Horton.


Batting Average – .227 (NCAA ranking – 287 out of 288)
Runs Per Game – 2.8 (288)
Home Runs – 16 (280)
Stolen Bases – 60 (132)
Slugging Percentage – .304 (286)
Walks – 134 (277)
HBP’s – 45 (215)
Sac Bunts – 49 (26)


C – JR Mitch Karraker (LH – .216 BA/.275 OBP/.281 SLG, 1 HR-18 RBI-1 SB) and Soph Paul Eshelman (.247 in 77 AB’s) were the catchers last season and figure to share time again this year.

1B/DH – Soph Darrell Hunter (RH – .175 in 63 AB’s) and JR Andrew Schmidt (Both – .212 in 85 AB’s) got most of the starts at 1B last season. JC transfer Stephen Kaupang (6’5”, 235 lbs) is expected to be in this mix to provide some power to a lineup that desperately needs it.

2B/3B – Soph Danny Pulfer (RH – .240/.340/.257, 0-15-4) and FR Jack Marder (RH) will be the starters at these two spots. Pulfer is a scrappy player but it shows how poor Oregon’s offense was that he usually hit in the middle of the lineup despite having only two extra base hits all season. Pulfer led team with 11 SAC bunts. Marder was the leading hitter in the California Collegiate League last summer. SR Josh Hogan (RH - .219/.270/.234, 0-5-3) is the backup infielder.

SS – Soph KC Serna (RH – .228/.281/.317, 3-19-9) led the team in HR and RBI.

CF – SR Curtis Raulinaitis (LH – .291/.354/.369, 0-12-9) was the only player who hit above .260 last season.

LF/RF – SR Jett Hart (RH – .207/.248/.333, 2-10-10) and Soph Antony Kreitz (LH – .258/.327/.461, 2-10-0) are the other two OF’s with the most experience. Hart was 2nd on the team in SB’s. FR Steven Packard and FR Darryl Jones (both are LH hitters) look likely to also get playing time in the OF.


Fielding % .961 (159) – 85 errors. Oregon fielded an inexperienced team and defense was another area in which they struggled. Serna has potential at SS and should cut down on his errors as should Pulfer. Raulinaitis has good range in CF.

Stolen Base Attempts – 44-69. Baserunners were 32-46 against Karraker.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 65. Oregon was below average at blocking pitches.


ERA – 5.07 (74)
BA – .271
HR – 46
H’s/9 IP – 9.28 (31)
BB’s/9 IP – 4.45 (210)
K’s/9 IP – 6.7 (162)

Starting Pitchers

FRI – Soph Tyler Anderson (LHP – 2-9, 6.26 ERA, 15 starts, 82 IP, 98 H, 39 BB, 66 K, .296 BA, 9 HR, 7 HBP, 8 WP). Sat SP last season. “Crafty lefty”. Started out well in non-conf when he didn’t allow any HR’s but struggled in Pac 10 games and went 1-7 with a 7.77 ERA and allowed 9 HR’s. 9-13 SB’s. Picked off four runners so runners will have to be careful.

SAT – SR Justin LaTempa (RHP – 1 IP). Hard thrower with a fastball that gets into the mid 90’s when healthy, which has been an issue. He has had an interesting journey thru college, starting out in 2006 pitching at Irvine for Dave Serrano before transferring to Golden West College, undergoing arm surgery and ending up at Oregon. He has a chance to be drafted in the first 10 rounds with a good SR season.

SUN – FR Christian Jones (LHP). One of the better FR in the country and was expected to be drafted in the first 5-6 rounds last June but had a strong commitment to Oregon and ended up not being drafted. Fastball sits in the upper 80’s.

Midweek – Soph Madison Boer (RHP – 1-8, 6.97 ERA, 17 apps, 10 starts, 62 IP, 67 H, 31 BB, 37 K, .289 BA, 4 HR, 6 HBP, 5 WP). Sunday SP most of last season. Ground ball pitcher who struggled putting hitters away.

Relief Pitchers

Closer – JR Drew Gagnier (RHP – 1-0, 2.70 ERA, 23 apps, 7 saves, 30 IP, 14 H, 25 BB, 30 K, .137 BA, 1 HR, 3 HBP, 5 WP). Hard thrower with a fastball that gets into the mid 90’s who had control issues last season. 14th round draft pick last June who returned to school and should be drafted in the first 10 rounds this year.

Soph Chris Garrison (RHP – 0-3, 4.45 ERA, 12 apps, 3 starts, 32 IP, 32 H, 19 BB, 15 K, .274 BA, 4 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP).
Soph Alex Keudell (RHP – 0-6, 5.15 ERA, 15 apps, 6 starts, 44 IP, 40 H, 18 BB, 24 K, .252 BA, 6 HR, 6 HBP, 2 WP).
Soph Scott McGough (RHP – 1-0, 5.21 ERA, 18 apps, 19 IP, 24 H, 5 BB, 15 K, .312 BA, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 4 WP).
SR Ryan Fleckenstein (LHP – 1-1, 5.40 ERA, 28 apps, 22 IP, 22 H, 14 BB, 11 K, .272 BA, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP).
SR Zach Thornton (RHP – 0-1, 6.17 ERA, 15 apps, 23 IP, 25 H, 15 BB, 16 K, .287 BA, 2 HR, 3 HBP, 3 WP).
SR Geoff Nicholls (RHP – 1-2, 6.63 ERA, 20 apps, 19 IP, 28 H, 10 BB, 18 K, .322 BA, 2 HR, 3 HBP, 3 WP).


Saturday – Pepperdine Waves

Overall Record – 31-23
Conference Record – 12-9 (3rd place - tied)
RPI/ISR – 139/71
Predicted conf finish – 2nd

2009 Summary and 2010 Preview

Pepperdine went into last season with high expectations after playing in six straight regionals and returned an experienced roster. The Waves got off to a 16-6 start against a soft schedule before crashing during a seven game losing streak that included losing their first five WCC games. Pepperdine played better down the stretch in an attempt to get back in the conf race but couldn’t dig their way out of their deep hole and ended up finishing tied for 3rd and not qualifying for a regional for the first time since 2002. The Waves struggled with their hitting last season and scored three runs or less 20 times and were in the bottom half of the country in most hitting categories. Pepperdine’s hitting was their undoing because their team ERA was in the top 40 nationally and they had the second best fielding % in the country. The Waves return five starting position players and their two best SP’s but need to replace their middle infield, most of their outfield and most of their bullpen.


Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 81 (decreases offense by 19%).
Batting Average – .284 (223)
Runs Per Game – 6.0 (218)
Home Runs – 43 (177)
Stolen Bases – 46 (209)
Slugging Percentage – .408 (230)
Walks – 167 (235)
HBP’s – 66 (88)
Sac Bunts – 36 (89)


SR C Trent Diedrich (RH – .346/.447/.423, 0-9-0 in 76 AB’s) and Soph Nate Johnson (LH – .242/.327/.371, 5-24-1) provide an experienced tandem behind the plate. Diedrich was the starter in ’08 (.291-2-32) and last year before breaking his foot in early April. Diedrich is much better at getting on base while Johnson has more power.

SR 1B Ryan Heroy (RH – .290/.409/.494, 7-28-2) is a big guy who is in his third year as a starter and one of the main power threats (2nd on team in HR’s last season). He has a big swing and led the team with 47 K’s last year.

2B/SS – Pepperdine is breaking in a new middle infield after losing both of their starters and is looking at a couple of FR to take over with 2B Joe Sever and SS Zachary Vincej (both RH hitters). Soph Miles Silverstein (RH – .273 in 77 AB’s) will be the backup in the middle infield.

SR 3B Colin Rooney (RH – .327/.412/.503, 6-31-0) is a solid run producer who was 2nd on the team in SLG % and 3rd in HR’s and RBI’s.

Soph CF Brian Humphries (LH – .305/.336/.400, 2-38-8) is a pre-season all-conf selection. Good speed and a productive hitter who was 2nd on the team in RBI’s.

LF/RF and DH – Soph Aaron Gates (LH – .309/.377/.404, 2-8-0) will be in the mix in the OF when he’s not pitching and at DH when he’s pitching. Lots of players will be getting their first shots at extensive playing time at the corner OF spots including Soph Ryan Van Amburg (RH – .260 in 77 AB’s), Soph Tyler Brubaker (RH – .211 in 19 AB’s), JC transfer Floyd Given (LH) and FR Mike Hole (RH).


Fielding % .982 (2) – 36 errors. Pepperdine was one of the best fielding teams in the country but lost their 2B and SS who combined made only seven errors. Rooney made only two errors at 3B. Humphries is very good in CF.

Stolen Base Attempts – 46-59 against Diedrich and Johnson.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 74. One of the few areas that Pepperdine was below average in defensively was at blocking pitches.


ERA – 4.52 (32)
BA – .240
HR – 30
H’s/9 IP – 7.82 (2)
BB’s/9 IP – 4.25 (184)
K’s/9 IP – 9.1 (14)

Starting Pitchers

FRI – Redshirt Soph Cole Cook (RHP – 7-3, 3.69 ERA, 16 apps, 8 starts, 1 CG, 83 IP, 57 H, 20 BB, 79 K, .195 BA, 4 HR, 4 HBP, 7 WP) is a big guy who throws hard (fastball into the mid 90’s) and has a good breaking ball. Good control for a hard thrower. 7th in the country in H/9 IP last year at 6.18. Baserunners were 7-10 on SB attempts. FR All-American last season and pre-season all conf selection. He has the potential to be drafted in the first few rounds with a good season.

SAT – JR Matt Bywater (LHP – 6-1, 3.57 ERA, 12 apps, 10 starts, 63 IP, 50 H, 24 BB, 66 K, .217 BA, 6 HR, 3 HBP, 5 WP). Fastball in the upper 80s with a good changeup. Baserunners were 3-7 on SB attempts and he picked off two runners. 1st team all conf last season and a pre-season all conf selection.

SUN – SR Robert D*ckmann (LHP – 2008 stats, 3-5, 5.44 ERA, 14 starts, 67 IP, 88 H, 18 BB, 37 K, .332 BA, 9 HR, 4 HBP, 2 WP). Injured in his first start last year and was a medical redshirt. Crafty LHP with solid changeup and curveball.

Midweek – Soph Aaron Gates (LHP – 3-3, 6.14 ERA, 17 apps, 11 starts, 44 IP, 45 H, 30 BB, 43 K, .280 BA, 6 HR, 7 HBP, 2 WP). Gates will be the midweek SP and focus on hitting on the weekends.

Relief Pitchers

JR Kevin Inman (RHP – 10 IP) and Soph Brad Jesernig (RHP – 12 IP) are the only relievers returning so the roles for pitchers in the bullpen are in a state of flux. The pitchers who looked the best during the fall were FR RHP’s Cory Jones and Daniel Patrick and FR LHP’s Alex Najera and Jordan Luvisi.


Sunday – Long Beach State Dirtbags

Overall Record – 25-29
Conference Record – 11-13 (5th place - tied)
RPI/ISR – 117/73
Predicted conf finish – 4th

2009 Summary and 2010 Preview

Long Beach has been used to competing for Big West championships since Dave Snow arrived on campus for the 1989 season. The Dirtbags entered last year with an inexperienced team after sharing the conf title with Fullerton in 2008 and had their first losing season since 1988. Long Beach got off to a slow start and lost their first five series, rebounded in the middle of the season to win five of the next six series but struggled down the stretch and lost nine of their last ten games. They struggled both offensively, ranking in the bottom half of the country in most offensive categories except for SB’s, and on the mound where they had a very uncharacteristic 5.18 team ERA. Expectations for the Dirtbags are higher this season and they are expected to contend for a spot in a regional this year with a much more experienced team. Long Beach has seven starting position players and two weekend starting pitchers returning and a recruiting class heavy on pitchers to fill out the bullpen, which is the only inexperienced area on the team. They also welcome back pitching coach Troy Buckley, who was instrumental in the development of many high draft picks and the team annually being among the national leaders in ERA.


Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 84 (decreases offense by 16%).
Batting Average – .289 (197)
Runs Per Game – 6.0 (220)
Home Runs – 24 (263)
Stolen Bases – 118 (12)
Slugging Percentage – .394 (255)
Walks – 176 (225)
HBP’s – 72 (59)
Sac Bunts – 61 (9)


C – SR Kellen Hoime (RH – .252/.338/.291, 0-19-5) split time during non-conf games but started 16 of the last 18 games. Went 0-5 in two games against Fullerton.

1B – SR Steve Tinoco (RH – .343/.379/.543, 5-30-5) was 2nd on the team in HR’s and SLG %. Went 2-12 with an HR last season against Fullerton. Predicted to contend for all conf honors.

2B – Soph Derek Legg (Both – .304/.382/.376, 1-20-11) started last year as a FR. Handles the bat well and has good speed. Went 2-13 last season against Fullerton.

SS – JR Devin Lohman (RH – .307/.409/.432, 4-36-14) is projected to be selected in the first 10 rounds of the draft. Was 2nd on the team in RBI’s and hit in the middle of the lineup. 2nd in the conf last year with 48 K’s. Went 2-11 last season against Fullerton.

3B/DH – Soph Kirk Singer (RH – .317 in 41 AB’s) started to get more playing time late last season. Projected to be one of the better defensive players at 3B on the west coast. Soph Joey Terdoslavich (Both – .293-5-25-2 in 2008) sat out last season after transferring from Miami. He will be in the lineup at either 3B or DH and will provide some much needed power to the lineup and is expected to contend for all conf honors.

LF – JR Jonathon Jones (RH – .307/.388/.375, 1-23-15) has good speed and was the starting CF in 2008. Jones was 5-9 last season against Fullerton. Other OF’s who could also see playing time in LF or at DH are SR Tre Dennis (LH – .232/.348/.326, 1-13-10) and Soph Brennan Metzger (RH – .258/.389/.337, 1-9-11), who was 2nd on the team in SAC’s.

CF – JR Jordan Casas (LH – .308/.335/.362, 0-25-22) was the leadoff hitter last season and was 2nd in the conf in SB’s. He went 2-13 against Fullerton last year while playing with a broken finger. He is expected to contend for all conf honors.

RF – SR TJ Mittelstaedt (LH – .316/.416/.551, 6-46-6) led the team in HR’s, RBI’s, BB’s, OBP, 2B’s, 3B’s and SLG last season and was one of the few bright spots in a miserable season for Long Beach. He is 10-30 with 4 RBI’s in his career against Fullerton, including 3-11 last season when all three hits were triples.


Fielding % .966 (88) – 68 errors. Struggled early before fielding better during the conf season. Potential to have a good defensive infield with improvement by Lohman and Legg. Very good defensive outfield.

Stolen Base Attempts – 30-47 against Hoime (15-26 in conf games). He also picked off four runners.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 42. Solid at blocking pitches.


ERA – 5.18 (95)
BA – .303
HR – 40
H’s/9 IP – 10.82 (154)
BB’s/9 IP – 3.10 (27)
K’s/9 IP – 6.3 (202)

Starting Pitchers

Fri SP – JR Jake Thompson (RHP – 4-7, 5.61 ERA, 14 starts, 85 IP, 103 H, 13 BB, 42 K, .302 BA, 9 HR, 10 HBP, 5 WP) has a low 90’s fastball and very good control but he doesn’t miss too many bats and had trouble keeping the ball down. He does a good job of holding runners (4-8 SB’s). He has allowed 12 R on 19 H in 11 IP in his two starts against Fullerton in his career.

Sat SP – Soph Andrew Gagnon (RHP – 3-7, 6.32 ERA, 13 starts, 73 IP, 96 H, 23 BB, 44 K, .327 BA, 5 HR, 11 HBP, 9 WP) is a talented pitcher with a low 90’s fastball who was drafted in the 10th round out of HS. He has had trouble being consistent with his command. Baserunners were 8-12 on SB attempts against him. Allowed 6 R in 2 2/3 IP in his start against Fullerton last season.

Sun SP – Projected to be JC transfer Branden Pinder (RHP). The Sun SP could be rotated among several pitchers until somebody takes control of this spot.

Relief Pitchers

Long Beach lost most of their relievers from last season so the bullpen is up for grabs. The only experienced relievers are SR Jason Markovitz (LHP – 1-1, 4.42 ERA, 18 apps, 20 IP, 21 H, 9 BB, 15 K, .304 BA, 1 HR, 3 HBP, 0 WP), SR David Brown (RHP – 2-0, 6.30 ERA, 15 apps, 20 IP, 26 H, 12 BB, 10 K, .329 BA, 3 HR, 3 HBP, 0 WP) and Soph Josh Corrales (RHP – 1-2, 6.64 ERA, 1 save, 17 apps, 20 IP, 27 H, 10 BB, 11 K, .333 BA, 1 HR, 2 HBP, 2 WP). Pitchers who figure to contend for the Sun SP, midweek SP and innings in the bullpen are JC transfers Troy Watson, Cris Trout and Kenny Arnerich (all RHP's), redshirt FR Ryan Donohue (LHP) and FR Jordan Mejia, Eddie Magallon, Nate Underwood (all RHP's).



Fullerton goes into this weekend looking to play like a team on a mission. The Titans had a good season but were inconsistent in the middle of the year and often didn’t come up big when they needed to, especially in Omaha. Each of the teams that Fullerton is playing this weekend figure to be much better this season than they were last year. But, the Titans look like they are better than all three of the teams they are playing this weekend. Fullerton should win at least two of the three games and it wouldn’t be a major surprise if Fullerton won all three games to start the season.