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.

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