Thursday, February 24, 2011

TCU Preview

Titans at TCU (Friday 4:30 p.m., Saturday noon, Sunday 11 a.m. PT)

Preview by FullertonBaseballFan

The season got off to an interesting start for Cal State Fullerton with something that doesn’t happen too often around here – a rain out last Friday. The Titans opened the season with a doubleheader at Goodwin Field against North Carolina and Long Beach, which ended up being the first game of the three-game series against the Dirtbags. North Carolina won the day game 4-3 in 11 innings after Carlos Lopez tied the game with a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the ninth. Fullerton won the nightcap 2-1 behind seven strong innings from Noe Ramirez, RBIs from Tyler Pill and Richy Pedroza and two innings of relief from Nick Ramirez.

The second and third games of the series with the Dirtbags were played at Blair Field. Jake Floethe threw five solid innings in his debut with the Titans and left the game leading 4-2 but the bullpen surrendered the lead in the 6th inning and Fullerton squandered 18 hits in an 8-5 loss. The Titans won the deciding game 4-3 on Monday, taking advantage of four errors and four HBP’s and getting solid starting pitching for the fourth game in a row with Colin O’Connell allowing only one run in seven innings.

Next up for Fullerton is a trip to Fort Worth for a series with TCU. The Horned Frogs had a magical year in 2010 in what ended up being the best season in the history of their program with their first trip to Omaha. TCU has high expectations again this season with the all three of their outstanding starting pitchers returning along with seven of their position starters. The Horned Frogs were ranked in the top three of every major national pre-season poll and were the unanimous choice by the MWC coaches to once again win their conference.

TCU Horned Frogs
  • Overall Record – 54-14
  • Conference Record – 19-5 (1st)
  • Postaeason – 3rd (tied) in College World Series (2-0 vs. Florida State, 1-2 vs. UCLA). Won Super Regional 2-1 at Texas. 3-0 in Regional at Fort Worth (Wins against Lamar, Arizona and Baylor).
  • RPI/ISR – 9/3
  • Pre-season ranking – 1st by Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA, 2nd by USA/Today Coaches Poll, 3rd by Baseball America
  • Predicted conference finish – 1st by the Mountain West coaches and Baseball America

2010 Summary and 2011 Preview

TCU has appeared in regionals in all seven seasons that Jim Schlossnagle has been in Fort Worth and have been improving almost every year. The Horned Frogs program took another step forward by both hosting and winning a regional for the second time before playing Texas in a super regional rematch and defeating the Longhorns to advance to Omaha, where they went 3-2 to finish tied for 3rd.

TCU has gotten off to a solid 3-1 start after winning two of three games at home against Kansas and following that up with a midweek win at Baylor. The Horned Frogs easily won the first two games against Kansas (8-2, 7-1) before losing a 4-3 marathon in 14 innings. TCU continued to get good pitching at Baylor in a 2-0 shutout.

TCU expected to have an outstanding pitching staff going into this season with all three standout weekend starting pitchers returning and they have lived up to expectations in holding their opponents to a .130 AVG with a 1.32 ERA and a 4-1 K/BB ratio (36/8) in 41 IP. The Horned Frogs hit well in their first two games but scuffled in their next two games and are only hitting .262 with a .383 SLG % and two HR's. TCU has been playing quite a bit of little ball to make up for the lack of power with 6 SAC's and 8-11 SB's.

  • Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 75 from 2007-2010 (decreases offense by 25%), 85 from 2006-2009 (decreases offense by 15%). TCU's strong pitching staff has helped to cut down the scoring significantly.
  • Batting Average – .334 (2nd in the Mountain West, 21st in the NCAA)
  • Runs Per Game – 8.4 (1/25)
  • Home Runs – 101 (1/9)
  • Stolen Bases – 72 (1/117)
  • Slugging Percentage – .551 (1/10)
  • Walks – 269 (2/36)
  • HBP’s – 52 (1/68)
  • Sac Bunts – 63 (1/10)


TCU returns three of their infielders but lost two major contributors at C and 1B who combined for 35 HR’s. The Horned Frogs return all of their outfielders.

C – SR #31 Jimmie Pharr (RH – .363, 7-21-0 in 91 AB's) got playing time mostly at DH last season (18 starts) but has won the starting position behind the plate to replace three year starter and Johnny Bench Award winner Bryan Holaday. Pharr has started in all four games, three times behind the plate and once at DH. He has hit 6th twice and 7th twice and been one of the hotter hitters after going 7-19 with 2 RBI. Soph #24 Josh Elander (RH – .356/.438/.510, 2-33-11) will be sharing playing time with Pharr. He stepped right into the lineup last year as a FR, starting most of the time either in RF (33 games) or at DH (17 games) and was 2nd on the team in AVG and OBP while earning FR All-American honors. Elander did have issues making contact and struck out over 25% of the time with 50 K's. He went 4-12 with an RBI at Fullerton. Elander started once behind the plate against Kansas.

1B – SR #33 Joe Weik (RH – .357/.417/.580, 6-29-0) came in as a JC transfer and was looked at to provide power. He was in the lineup most of the non-conf schedule before being a part-timer during conf play and regaining his position in the lineup during the post-season, when he made the Fort Worth all regional team. Weik made all 30 of his starts at DH and will be taking over at 1B for Matt Curry, who was one of the team leaders in HR and RBI. He went 2-6 with an RBI at Fullerton. Weik has hit cleanup in all four games and gotten off to a slow 1-14 start, with the only hit a solo HR.

2B – SR #2 Jerome Pena (Both – .313/.386/.510, 11-52-7) came in as a JC transfer after being drafted in the 40th round and gave the lineup quite a bit of power for both a middle infielder and a leadoff hitter and was 1st team All-MWC. He got off to a good start by getting on base at least once in each of the first 24 games and continued to hit well by leading the team with 31 RBI in MWC games. Pena has a big swing and struck out 56 times. He went 2-11 with an RBI at Fullerton. Pena was the leadoff hitter last season and hit second in all four games, going 4-17 with 3 RBI.

SS –JR #12 Taylor Featherston (RH – .313/.386/.510, 11-52-7. '09 – .322/.395/.461, 5-28-8) came into TCU with high expectations and has lived up to them as the starting SS his first two years and was 2nd team All-MWC in '09 and 1st team All-MWC last season. He was MVP of the Fort Worth regional after going 7-12 with 8 RBI and stayed hot in Omaha, going 5-15 with 7 RBI to make the all CWS team. Featherston is projected to go in the first five rounds of the draft in June. He went 2-12 with 3 RBI last season at Fullerton and is 6-23 with 6 RBI in his career against the Titans. Featherston has gotten off to a slow 3-14 start but had the only two RBI in the Baylor game and has hit fifth in all four games.

3B – Soph #35 Janzen Witte (RH – .374/.425/.552, 4-39-2) missed the first three weeks of last season with a broken wrist but was tough to get out of the lineup after that and led the team in AVG. He is a good bunter who was second on the team with 11 SAC's. Witte made the MWC conf all-tournament and Fort Worth all-regional teams and got hits in four of five games in Omaha. He is the pre-season All-MWC choice at 3B. Witte has hit 6th twice and 8th twice, going 5-13 with an HR and 3 RBI.

LF – JR #38 Jason Coats (RH – .361/.403/.617, 13-69-8. '09 – .316/.393/.518, 6-32-2) is one of the most dangerous hitters in the country and is projected to be picked in the first two rounds of the draft. He was 1st team All-MWC and MVP of the Fort Worth regional last season after starting as a FR. Coats was in the top ten in the MWC in AVG, R, H, 2B, HR, RBI and SLG in 2010. He has absolutely worn our Fullerton pitching and went 8-14 with 2 HR and 3 RBI last season against the Titans and is 12-25 in his career. Coats has hit third in all four games and gotten off to a slow 2-18 start and Fullerton is hoping he continues to stay cold.

CF – JR #29 Aaron Schultz (RH – .293/.371/.482, 9-53-11. '09 – .254 in 71 AB’s) started the season playing 3B while Witte was out and eventually settled into playing CF. He was a clutch hitter who was tied for third on the team in RBI. Schultz is a good bunter who led the team with 11 SAC's. He was voted to the all Fort Worth regional team after getting five hits and five RBI. Schultz went 3-8 with 3 RBI at Fullerton last season. He has hit 7th twice and 8th twice and gotten off to a good 5-13 with two 2B's and a 3B.

RF – JR #5 Brance Rivera (RH – .342/.404/.481, 6-28-9. '09 – .250 in 32 AB’s) didn't play much as a FR and was only a part-timer early last season but started to get more playing time as TCU got closer to the MWC schedule. When Rivera got his chance, he was scorching hot and hit .471, a .736 SLG %, 6 HR and 21 RBI in 21 conf starts to be named 1st team All MWC. He is also a good bunter and had 10 SAC's. Rivera went 1-2 at Fullerton last season. He got off to a hot 7-16 start with a 2B and a 3B, leading off twice and batting 9th twice.

OF/DH - Soph #1 Kyle VonTungeln (LH – .236/.364/.324, 0-16-3 in 89 AB's) is one of the fastest runners on the team and was starting in CF early before losing his position due to shuffling with the lineup. He went 1-14 with an RBI at Fullerton last season. VonTungeln started once at DH and once in RF last weekend, leading off both times and going hitless in nine AB's. JR #23 Zac Jordan (RH – .273 in 44 AB's) saw limited time last season and has started in one game at DH and is 2-6 with 2 RBI.


Fielding % - .971 (1/52) – 78 errors. Experienced with 2B Pena, SS Featherston and 3B Witte. All three have very good range (Pena and Featherston were both in the top five in the MWC in assists) but had some issues with making errors and combined for 40 of them. Featherston made 27 errors as a FR before cutting that down to 16 last year. Good range and good arms at all three OF spots with Curry, Schultz and Rivera. TCU has fielded .982 and made three errors (Featherston, Pena and Weik).

Stolen Base Attempts – 30-57. Holaday did a good job of shutting down the running game. Kansas went 5-5 last weekend (4-4 against Pharr, 1-1 against Elander) and Baylor did not attempt to steal a base.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 33. Holaday was also very good at blocking pitches. TCU allowed three wild pitches against Kansas and none against Baylor.

  • ERA – 3.55 (1/9)
  • BA – .252 (1/xx)
  • HR – 52 (3/xx)
  • H’s/9 IP – 8.5 (xx/9)
  • BB’s/9 IP – 2.99 (2/22)
  • K’s/9 IP – 8.2 (1/29)


TCU returns all three starting pitchers from one of the best rotations in the country in 2010 and they combined to go 39-5 with a 3.05 ERA.

FRI – JR #8 Kyle Winkler (RHP – 12-3, 3.39 ERA, 19 GS, 117 IP, 111 H, 36 BB, 92 K, 15 HR, .252 BA, 6 HBP, 3 WP, 1-5 SB. ’09 – 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, 7-11 SB) ended up being the best SP on TCU’s staff as a FR, not suffering his first loss until the super regional at Texas. He was even better last season and ended up 2nd team All-MWC, won the super regional clinching game at Texas with 7 2/3 scoreless innings, pitched for Team USA last summer and is a 2nd team pre-season All-American. Winkler has a fastball in the low to mid 90’s, a power sinker and a solid changeup and is projected to be drafted in the first five rounds. He was the MWC pitcher of the week after holding Kansas to one unearned run on 1 H in 7 IP with 0 BB’s and 8 K’s. Winkler won the series deciding game at Fullerton when he held the Titans to one unearned run and 4 H in 6 IP.

SAT – SR #4 Steven Maxwell (RHP – 11-2, 2.70 ERA, 18 GS, 103 IP, 89 H, 34 BB, 93 K, 9 HR, .239 BA, 9 HBP, 3 WP, 4-13 SB. ’09 – 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, 3-8 SB) 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 had a strong JR season and was MWC Pitcher of the Year and a 2nd team All-American. Maxwell was drafted in the 12th round but decided to come back for his SR year. He has a fastball in the low 90’s with a power curveball and a good changeup. Maxwell allowed 2 R on 6 H in 6 IP and received a no decision last Sun against Kansas. He was outstanding at Fullerton when he took a no-hitter into the 7th inning and ended up allowing 1 R on 2 H in 6 1/3 IP.

SUN – Soph #47 Matt Purke (LHP – 16-0, 3.02 ERA, 20 apps, 18 GS, 116 IP, 91 H, 34 BB, 142 K, 6 HR, .212 BA, 10 HBP, 7 WP, 10-17 SB) was the 1st round pick of the Texas Rangers out of HS but couldn’t agree to terms with them and ended up on campus in Fort Worth. He came into TCU with a great deal of hype and lived up to all of the expectations and was 1st team All-MWC and the consensus national Freshman of the Year and is expected to be drafted in the first five picks in June as a draft eligible Soph. Purke has a mid to upper 90’s fastball, a wipeout curve and a solid changeup. He threw four innings last week against Kansas before leaving with an 8-0 lead and received the win in what was designated as a “staff day” and has had his start pushed back due to blisters. Purke didn’t struggle often last year but one of the two starts that he didn’t get the win in was at Fullerton in his second career start when he allowed 4 R on 5 H in 2 1/3 IP.


TCU had a very deep and experienced bullpen last season but most of those relievers have moved on with the expected closer out for the season with an elbow injury so there are only two returners and several freshmen who are looking to make their mark.

JR #43 Erik Miller (RHP – 1-1, 4.67 ERA, 19 apps, 27 IP, 28 H, 12 BB, 30 K, 2 HR, .275 BA, 3 HBP, 2 WP, 6-9 SB. ’09 – 0-2, 4.50 ERA, 22 apps, 26 IP, 3 saves) has moved into the closer role and has the upside with a good fastball to do well in that role. He threw two shutout innings last Sat and came back to throw more three scoreless innings on Sun before tiring and allowing two runs. Miller has allowed 2 R (1 ER) on 4 H in 4 1/3 IP in two career appearances against Fullerton.

SR #11 Trent Appleby (RHP – 3-1, 4.39 ERA, 23 apps, 41 IP, 49 H, 12 BB, 24 K, 4 HR, .308 BA, 5 HBP, 2 WP, 8-10 SB. ’09 – 4-1, 3.61 ERA, 24 apps, 57 IP, 57 H, 20 BB, 47 K, 3 HR, .270 BA, 9 HBP, 2 WP, 6-9 SB) is a control specialist whose best pitch is a power sinker. He has been a solid middle reliever for three years and will be the main set-up reliever. He threw 3 2/3 shutout innings last Sun, allowing only one hit. Appleby has allowed 1 R on 7 H in 6 IP in four career appearances against Fullerton.

RHP #34 Andrew Mitchell has made the biggest impact of the FR, allowing only one run in 8 2/3 IP in two appearances, including 6 2/3 shutout innings in his start on Tuesday at Baylor when his fastball was sitting in the 93-94 range. Other FR who have made appearances are RHP #15 Tyler Duffie, who allowed 1 R in 3 IP when he got the save last Friday, and RHP #28 Stefan Crichton, who got the save on Tuesday at Baylor with 2 1/3 hitless innings of relief. Another FR that there are high expectations for is RHP #37 Tony Rizzotti. The only LHP in the bullpen is JC transfer #17 Teddy Nowell.


Fullerton is going to have to hit better and do a better job of manufacturing runs to win this series. The Titans averaged only 3.5 runs in their four games last weekend and didn’t score more than five runs in any game. They squandered many scoring opportunities on Sunday when they got 18 hits and only hit .206 in the other three games.

Pitching depth is one of the strongest areas for Fullerton this season and the starting pitchers delivered with a 2.52 ERA. However, the bullpen had some issues and had a 5.25 ERA last weekend, allowing 7 R in 12 IP. The Titans cannot afford to have their relievers let games get away in the late innings, which is what happened in both losses last weekend.

It isn’t often that Fullerton is an underdog in a series but this weekend in Fort Worth is one of those rare occasions. As good as Fullerton’s starting pitching is, TCU has the rotation to match up with the Titans and two of their starters completely shut down the Titans last year. The Horned Frogs have been the better hitting team the past two seasons, which was a big reason why they won both series at Fullerton, and it looks like they have the better offense again this year.

Fullerton is going to have to do something special to win the series this weekend, either getting some lights out pitching performances to outduel the TCU starters and scratch out some runs to take advantage of the few scoring opportunities they are likely to get. If Fullerton is unable to do that then it is likely that TCU will win this series.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Diamond Club Newsletter (February 20, 2011)

CSF Baseball will continue to host and archive the Diamond Club newsletters throughout the 2011 season. Click on each page to enlarge:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Long Beach State Preview

Titans vs. Long Beach State (Friday, 6:30 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m., Monday, 6:30 p.m., Blair Field; Saturday, 6 p.m., Goodwin Field)

Preview by FullertonBaseballFan

It’s time for another year of Titan Baseball with the potential for a visit to Omaha in June for the debut of TD Ameritrade Park.

Fullerton is ranked in the top fifteen in every major poll or ranking on the strength of a pitching staff that could be one of the deepest in the history of the program with four experienced starting pitchers and several experienced effective relievers. The pitching staff will have to help carry the team early in the season as the offense gels and works to overcome the losses of five regulars from last season, including first round picks Big West MVP Gary Brown and Big West HR leader Christian Colon, as well as adjusting to hitting with deadened BBCOR bats.

The Titans open the season with a non-conference series against their long-time rivals from Long Beach and will also play a game against North Carolina, who is coming out west to play in USC's tournament. The games on Friday and Sunday will be at Long Beach's Blair Field while Saturday's day game with the Tar Heels and evening game with the Dirtbags will be at Goodwin Field.

Long Beach State Dirtbags

  • Overall Record – 23-32
  • Conference Record – 7-17 (last)
  • Post-Season – none
  • RPI/ISR – 92/73
  • Predicted Conference Finish – 5th by the Big West coaches and Baseball America

2010 Summary and 2011 Preview

The wheels have fallen off of the tracks at Long Beach and the Dirtbags missed the post-season the last two years after playing in regionals in fourteen of the previous sixteen seasons and the result was a coaching change with pitching coach Troy Buckley taking over for Mike Weathers. Long Beach went 23-32 overall and 7-17 in Big West games, finishing in last place after being swept in their final three series by Fullerton, Northridge and Irvine and ending the season by losing fourteen of their final seventeen games.

The Dirtbags expected to contend for a spot in a regional with an experienced team that had seven starting position players and two weekend starting pitchers returning but they got off to a slow start, played well for a month when they won four straight series (including Pacific's only series loss in the first ten weeks of the season) before they collapsed down the stretch.

Long Beach is pretty much starting over with their roster with seventeen FR and five JC transfers coming into the program. They do have four position players back who were starters in 2010 along with two of their weekend starting pitchers and some of their relievers. Buckley returned to the program last season after a two year absence and the pitching was improved with the ERA coming down half a run to 4.67 and opponents hit 20 points less at .283 but the bullpen was inconsistent and the Dirtbags only had three saves the entire season and went 4-9 in one run games. Long Beach didn't have much margin for error most of the time because the offense wasn't as productive as it should have been with so many returning starters and the Dirtbags were one of the least productive teams at the place in the Big West.


Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 75 (decreases offense by 25%).
Batting Average – .301 (8th in the Big West, 164th in the NCAA)
Runs Per Game – 5.8 (8/246)
Home Runs – 26 (8/270)
Stolen Bases – 57 (5/179)
Slugging Percentage – .423 (7/217)
Walks – 161 (8/268)
HBP’s – 52 (8/185)
Sac Bunts – 56 (3/23)


C – SR #3 Kellen Hoime (RH – .234/.305/.297, 1-14-7; ’09 stats – .252/.338/.291, 0-19-5) split time in 2009 before starting 16 of the last 18 games and was the regular C last season. He is in the lineup for his defense, usually hit 9th and had 7 SAC’s. Hoime struck out about 30% of the time. He went 1-8 last year against Fullerton and is 1-13 in his career against the Titans.

1B - FR #27 Jeff Yamaguchi (RH) is projected to be one of the better newcomers in the Big West and provide some much needed power to the lineup after being the Moore League MVP and 1st team all CIF in D1.

2B - Soph #10 Matt Duffy (RH - .244/.261/.291; 0-7-2 in 86 AB's in 2010) was a part-time player most of his FR season before starting ten straight games down the stretch. He is a good bunter and had six SAC's. Duffy went 3-13 against Fullerton last season.

SS - JR #2 Kirk Singer (RH – .315/.395/.493, 5-21-5; ’09 stats – .317 in 41 AB’s) didn’t play much in 2009 and was in a utility role early last season until his hot bat forced Long Beach to make a switch and Singer was inserted into the lineup at 2B and later at SS when the starter there was injured late in the year. He ended up 2nd on the team in HR’s and SLG and will hit in the middle of the lineup. Singer is projected to be drafted in the first ten rounds of the draft and should be the latest in a long line of Long Beach SS's to be drafted pretty high. He went 2-10 against Fullerton last season.

3B - JC transfer #8 Mike Marjama (RH) is a big guy from a good JC program (Sac City) who will be looking to provide some power at the plate.

CF - JR #12 Brennan Metzger (RH – .308/.409/.453, 2-22-9; ’09 stats – .258/.389/.337, 1-9-11) has good speed and will be the leadoff hitter after being in the same role last season. He is a scrappy player who will do whatever he can to get on base (led the Big West with 20 HBP’s) and will run when he gets on base. He went 1-9 last year against Fullerton.

LF/RF/DH - Long Beach will be going with either new and/or inexperienced players in each of these positions. It looks like FR #40 Mike McNeil (LH) will be starting in LF and brings some much needed speed and one of the few LH bats to the lineup. Soph #9 Juan Avila (RH) hit .231 in 52 AB's with 0 HR and 3 RBI as a FR. FR #4 Ino Patron (LH) has a good swing and projects to be the DH.


Fielding % - .965 (7/104) – 74 errors. Experienced in the four positions up the middle. Duffy and Singer were too inconsistent with 24 errors in 57 combined starts and both have the potential to be better. Singer has one of the best infield arms in the Big West. Metzger has good range in CF. Inexperienced players in the corner OF positions and in the corner IF positions, which will be a key area to watch with Fullerton's pressure game and wet conditions expected.

Stolen Base Attempts – 44-68. Runners were 32-46 against Hoime last season and 30-47 in 2009.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 48. Hoime does a solid job of blocking pitches.


ERA – 4.67 (3/45)
BA – .283 (3/xx)
HR – 34 (2/xx)
H’s/9 IP – 9.9 (xx/61)
BB’s/9 IP – 2.9 (4/18)
K’s/9 IP – 5.9 (5/235)


Long Beach returns their two of their SP's from last year, losing inconsistent 2nd round draft pick Jake Thompson, and has hopes that a JC transfer can hold down the third spot in the weekend rotation.

Fri SP – Soph #24 Andrew Gagnon (RHP – 5-7, 3.28 ERA, 15 starts, 93 IP, 87 H, 27 BB, 65 K, .238 BA, 6 HR, 12 HBP, 5 WP, 12-17 SB) was drafted in the 10th round out of HS and didn’t pitch up to that level as a FR (’09 stats – 3-7, 6.32 ERA, 13 starts, 73 IP, 96 H, 23 BB, 44 K, .327 BA, 5 HR, 11 HBP, 9 WP, 8-12 SB). He had a great deal of improvement last season and was 5th in the conf in ERA, 4th in AVG and was 2nd team all Big West. Gagnon is projected to be 1st team all conf this season and picked in the first few rounds of the draft. He has a low 90’s fastball and good control but he will pitch inside. Gagnon did a much better job of missing bats last season, lowering the opponents AVG by 85 points. He had a 2.43 ERA in his first five Big West starts before tiring down the stretch and ending up with a 3.40 ERA in conf games. Gagnon has allowed 11 R (7 ER) on 8 H and 6 BB in 4 2/3 IP in his two starts against Fullerton in his career.

Sat SP – JC transfer #22 Branden Pinder (RHP – 4-7, 4.85 ERA, 17 apps, 15 starts, 85 IP, 106 H, 22 BB, 45 K, .320 BA, 9 HR, 18 HBP, 2 WP, 8-13 SB) went into the last three weeks of the season with a 4.15 ERA before tiring down the stretch. His fastball sits in the mid 80’s and he relies on good control and spotting his fastball to get hitters out. Pinder pitches inside and he was second in the Big West with 18 HBP’s. He had a very good stretch in the middle of the season where he had five straight starts when he allowed 2 R or less but wore down and allowed 5+ R in six of his last seven starts. He allowed 11 R (10 ER) on 21 H and 5 BB in 13 IP in his two starts against Fullerton last season.

Sun SP – JC transfer #36 Shawn Stuart (RHP) was drafted in the 44th round after being 1st team all conference at Merced. He has a solid arm and had a 2.79 ERA with 79 K in 96 IP. The midweek SP is expected to be JC transfer #16 Matt Johnson (RHP).


Long Beach's bullpen was a liability last season and the two pitchers who were used most at the end of games have moved on, leaving several returning middle relievers and newcomers to get outs late in games.

The four returning pitchers in the bullpen are Soph #20 Nate Underwood (RHP – 2-1, 4.11 ERA, 13 apps, 4 midweek starts, 35 IP, 31 H, 7 BB, 7 K, .254 BA, 2 HR, 3 HBP, 4 WP), Soph #33 Eddie Magallon (RHP – 1-2, 4.79 ERA, 1 save, 14 apps, 5 starts, 47 IP, 54 H, 9 BB, 29 K, .293 BA, 7 HR, 7 HBP, 1 WP), SR #30 Troy Watson (RHP – 0-2, 8.83 ERA, 12 apps, 17 IP) and situational LHP #49 FR Ryan Donohue (0-1, 5.40 ERA, 12 apps, 5 IP). The newcomers expected to have the biggest impact in the bullpen are potential closer FR RHP #29 Austin Boyle and FR LHP #15 Ryan Strufing.


Fullerton has had some issues getting off to good starts in Dave Serrano's first three seasons as the head coach. The Titans started out the season 9-8 in 2008, they lost the opening series at home to TCU in 2009 and they started out 4-7 last season and lost each of the first three series, which ended up costing them a national seed. It would be an understatement to say that the Fullerton coaching staff is making it a point of emphasis to get off to a good start against a challenging schedule, with the non-conference portion rated the second most difficult in the country according to Boyd's World.

The Titans should receive a strong challenge from a North Carolina team that is looking to bounce back from a disappointing season by their standards. Fullerton has beaten Long Beach like a drum the past two seasons, winning all seven games by a cumulative score of 60-14 with only two of the games decided by less than six runs. The new Long Beach coaching staff will be very motivated to turn this series into a rivalry again. It will be a disappointment if Fullerton splits the four games this weekend and the Titans should be able to win three games if they play up to their capabilities.

North Carolina Preview

Titans vs. North Carolina (Saturday, Noon, Goodwin Field)

Preview by FullertonBaseballFan

North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Overall Record – 38-22
  • Conference Record – 14-16 (8th place - tied; 5th place in the Coastal Division)
  • Post-Season – 2-2 in the Oklahoma regional (wins vs. California and Oral Roberts; 0-2 against Oklahoma)
  • RPI/ISR – 23/36
  • Predicted Conference Finish – 4th in the Coastal Division, 6th overall in the ACC by the conference coaches and Baseball America

2010 Summary and 2011 Preview

North Carolina went into 2010 with high expectations despite suffering some major personnel losses, including number two overall draft pick Dustin Ackley, after going to Omaha the previous four seasons. The Tar Heels got off to a fast start at 11-2 during a mediocre non-conference schedule played entirely at home before losing their first three ACC series to Duke, Florida State and Georgia Tech. North Carolina went 11-14 during the middle of the season before righting the ship with a series win at CWS participant Clemson to start a 10-1 run.

The Tar Heels were cooled off in a series sweep at national seed Virginia, which basically eliminated them from the ACC tournament, and finished the regular season with a sweep vs. Virginia Tech that put them in position to receive an at-large bid despite missing the ACC tournament. North Carolina played well at the Oklahoma regional, winning games against California and Oral Roberts and losing two close games to the Sooners, who won a super regional at Virginia to advance to Omaha.

North Carolina was an inconsistent team both offensively and on the mound as they attempted to reload after four straight seasons when their season ended in Omaha. The Tar Heels went 22-4 against a soft non-conf schedule but hit only .286 in ACC games and scored five runs or less 23 times. North Carolina had a team ERA of 5.27 in ACC games (3.14 in non-conf games), blew seven leads in the eighth or ninth innings and went 9-13 in games decided by either one or two runs.

The Tar Heels look like they could be poised to have a better season with four hitters returning who hit over .300 along with two of their starting pitchers and all of their relievers in addition to a recruiting class that was ranked thirteenth by Baseball America. North Carolina has been ranked in the 20's in most of the pre-season polls and rankings.


Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 110 (increases offense by 10%).
Batting Average – .308 (5th in the ACC, 115th in the NCAA)
Runs Per Game – 7.8 (8/68)
Home Runs – 45 (10/161)
Stolen Bases – 91 (6/56)
Slugging Percentage – .453 (9/145)
Walks – 301 (5/11)
HBP’s – 74 (3/63)
Sac Bunts – 35 (5/103)


C - JR #5 Jacob Stallings (RH - 2010 stats - .307 BA/.417 OBP/.457 SLG; 2 HR, 24 RBI, 3 SB. .246 in 57 AB's in 2009) started most of the time behind the plate because he was the best defensive C and figures to catch most of their games. He will probably hit 5th or 6th.

1B - FR #19 Tom Zengel (LH) has displayed some good power in fall ball and looks like he could earn a spot in the lineup and will probably hit 6th or 7th. FR #18 Colin Moran (LH) could also hit his way into getting some playing time.

2B - Soph #1 Tommy Coyle (LH - 282/388/351; 1-25-14 in 2010) moved right into the lineup as a FR after several infielders moved on from the 2009 team. Coyle has good speed and will probably be hitting 2nd.

SS - JR #6 Levi Michael (Both - 2010 - 346/480/575, 8-54-20; 290/377/527, 19-57-5 in 2009) came to school a year early and bypassed his SR year of HS. He is projected to be drafted in the first two rounds, is a pre-season third team All-American and a candidate for ACC player of the year honors. Michael has moved his way around the diamond, going from 2B as a FR to 3B as a soph to SS this season. He was 4th in the ACC in R, 5th in SLG and 8th in SB last year and had an outstanding 44/26 BB/K ratio. He will probably be hitting 3rd.

3B - SR #34 Jesse Wierzbicki (RH - .307/.410/.495, 8-52-6) played at DH, 1B and C last season but it looks like he will be moving to 3B to try to get more power into the lineup. He was second on the team in HR's last season and a solid run producer. Wierzbicki will probably hit cleanup.

CF - SR #3 Ben Bunting (LH - 313/391/402, 2-25-9; 336/423/431, 2-37-5 in '09) is in his third year as a regular and will be moving over from LF, replacing Brian Goodwin (projected to be drafted in the first two rounds) after he left school for academic reasons. Bunting has good speed and will likely be the leadoff hitter.

LF/RF/DH - These spots are unsettled and could end up being platoon situations. The leading candidates for playing time are JR #16 Seth Baldwin (LH - .344-3-17-5 in 90 AB's) who has very good speed, Soph #2 Chaz Frank (LH - .286 in 63 AB's), Soph #23 Brett Knief (RH - .294 in 34 AB's) and FR #12 Jeff Bouton (RH) and most of these players will be hitting towards the bottom of the lineup. FR #7 Matt Roberts (RH) will figure into the mix for AB's at DH a few weeks into the season after he recovers from a broken hand. He has solid power and could end up hitting in the middle of the order later in the season.


Fielding % - .970 (5/55) – 68 errors. Solid up the middle with Michael and Coyle. Questions on the corners with Wierzbicki and Zengel. Good speed in the OF, especially Bunting and Baldwin.

Stolen Base Attempts – 46-65. Had the second fewest attempts against them in the ACC. Pitchers hold runners close. Runners were 27-41 against Stallings.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 47. Stallings does a solid job of blocking pitches.


ERA – 4.19 (4/25)
BA – .258 (3/xx)
HR – 50 (3/xx)
H’s/9 IP – 8.83 (xx/17)
BB’s/9 IP – 4.19 (8/173)
K’s/9 IP – 8.0 (2/9)


North Carolina lost first round pick Matt Harvey but returns pitchers who started 40 of their 60 games in 2010.

SR #17 Patrick Johnson (RHP - 6-3, 3.71 ERA, 14 GS, 78 IP, 86 H, 30 BB, 67 K, .286 BA, 10 HR, 6 HBP, 0 WP, 12-18 SB) was a weekend SP last season after being a midweek SP in 2009 (2-2, 3.49 ERA, 23 app, 7 GS, 57 IP, 46 H, 37 BB, 77 K, .222 BA, 10 HR). He threw well in ACC games with a 4-2 record and a 3.91 ERA. Johnson had minor surgery during the off-season and has a fastball in the low 90's with solid secondary pitches and has been throwing well during his recovery.

Soph #37 Chris Munnelly (RHP - 3-2, 5.40 ERA, 23 apps, 8 GS, 67 IP, 68 H, 26 BB, 60 K, .264 BA, 11 HR, 7 HBP, 5 WP, 13-16 SB) was a middle reliever most of his FR year before being moved into the rotation after North Carolina lost their first three ACC series. He was much more effective in relief and struggled in his six ACC starts, ending up with a 6.98 ERA in conf games. Munnelly has a good arm and projects to be one of the first ten ACC players picked in the 2012 draft.

Soph #28 Michael Morin (RHP - 5-3, 5.45 ERA, 24 apps, 1 GS, 3 saves, 40 IP, 47 H, 14 BB, 43 K, .294 BA, 4 HR, 7 HBP, 3 WP, 1-3 SB) pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen last year. Morin is 6'4" and a hard thrower who was often used as the closer. He has good upside and projects to be one of the first ten ACC players picked in the 2012 draft.

FR LHP #41 Kent Emmanuel was drafted in the 19th round after being projected to go much higher in the draft and sliding due to his commitment to go to school. Emmanuel is 6'4" with a fastball in the upper 80's and a solid changeup and has good upside.


North Carolina had major problems with their bullpen last season that resulted in many blown leads and close losses. The Tar Heels are hoping with almost every reliever returning and an influx of FR talent that their bullpen will be improved.

SR #14 Greg Holt (RHP - 3-4, 5.11 ERA, 26 apps, 2 GS, 3 saves, 44 IP, 36 H, 22 BB, 40 K, .231 BA, 4 HR, 3 HBP, 3 WP, 3-4 SB) split time with Morin as the closer last year and will probably start the season as the closer.

JR #31 Jimmy Messer (RHP - 2-1, 3.66 ERA, 18 apps, 5 GS, 1 save, 32 IP, 33 H, 21 BB, 22 K, .275 BA, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 3-3 SB) is projected to be the second Tar Heel drafted in June and will be one of the main options in the late innings. He throws hard but had control issues last season.

JR #20 Garrett Davis (RHP - 3-3, 4.59 ERA, 15 apps, 7 GS, 1 save, 33 IP, 25 H, 24 BB, 35 K, .210 BA, 2 HR, 3 HBP, 2 WP, 0-0 SB) was mostly a midweek SP last season and is similar to Messer - hard thrower, control issues.

Soph #4 Zach Bernard (LHP - 0-0, 2.45 ERA, 24 apps, 18 IP, 21 H, 11 BB, 18 K) and Soph #11 R.C. Orlan (LHP - 0-0, 4.38 ERA, 16 apps, 12 IP, 12 H, 9 BB, 14 K) were the lefty specialists last season.

Two incoming FR who figure to battle for innings are RHP's #25 Jake Cole (24th round pick) and #36 Andrew Smith (40th round pick), who both figured to go higher in the draft but slid due to their commitments to going to school.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Titans 2011 Schedule and Results

Overall: 41-15
Big West: 19-5 (Champions)

Date Opponent / Event Location Time* / Result
02/18/11 at Long Beach State Long Beach
Postponed, Rain
02/19/11 vs. North Carolina Goodwin Field L, 4-3 (11)

vs. Long Beach State Goodwin Field W, 2-1
02/20/11 at Long Beach State Long Beach
L, 8-5
02/21/11 at Long Beach State Long Beach
W, 4-3
02/25/11 at TCU Fort Worth, Texas L, 4-1
02/26/11 at TCU Fort Worth, Texas W, 8-4
02/27/11 at TCU Fort Worth, Texas W, 2-1
03/01/11 vs. Loyola Marymount Goodwin Field W, 5-1
03/04/11 vs. USC Goodwin Field W, 10-1
03/05/11 vs. USC Goodwin Field W, 7-3
03/06/11 at USC Los Angeles
W, 2-1
03/11/11 at LSU Baton Rouge, La. L, 7-6
03/12/11 at LSU Baton Rouge, La. L, 7-6
03/13/11 at LSU Baton Rouge, La. L, 10-2
03/15/11 at Texas A&M College Station, Texas L, 2-0
03/18/11 vs. Washington Goodwin Field W, 11-3
03/19/11 vs. Washington Goodwin Field W, 6-1

vs. Washington Goodwin Field W, 9-4
DeMarini West Coach Challenge
03/22/11 vs. Arizona State Goodwin Field W, 7-3
03/23/11 vs. Arizona State Goodwin Field L, 10-1
03/25/11 at Hawai'i Honolulu
W, 3-0
03/26/11 at Hawai'i (DH) Honolulu
W, 4-2 (7)

at Hawai'i Honolulu
W, 4-2
03/27/11 at Hawai'i Honolulu
W, 3-2
03/29/11 vs. UCLA Goodwin Field W, 5-3
04/01/11 at UC Davis* Davis
W, 14-0
04/02/11 at UC Davis* Davis W, 7-0
04/03/11 at UC Davis* Davis W, 4-2
04/05/11 vs. Pepperdine Goodwin Field W, 13-3
04/08/11 vs. UC Irvine* Goodwin Field L, 15-3
04/09/11 vs. UC Irvine* Goodwin Field W, 2-1
04/10/11 vs. UC Irvine* Goodwin Field W, 10-4
04/12/11 at Loyola Marymount Westchester
W, 5-0
04/15/11 vs. UC Santa Barbara* Goodwin Field W, 3-2
04/16/11 vs. UC Santa Barbara* Goodwin Field W, 5-4
04/17/11 vs. UC Santa Barbara* Goodwin Field W, 5-4
04/21/11 at Cal Poly* San Luis Obispo
L, 7-2
04/22/11 at Cal Poly* San Luis Obispo L, 4-2
04/23/11 at Cal Poly* San Luis Obispo W, 9-3
04/26/11 at San Diego San Diego
L, 12-8
04/29/11 vs. Pacific* Goodwin Field W, 12-6
04/30/11 vs. Pacific* Goodwin Field L, 8-7
05/01/11 vs. Pacific* Goodwin Field W, 6-4
05/06/11 at UC Riverside* Riverside
W, 4-1
05/07/11 at UC Riverside* Riverside
W, 5-3
05/08/11 at UC Riverside* Riverside W, 3-2
05/10/11 at Pepperdine Malibu L, 7-0
05/13/11 vs. Long Beach State* Goodwin Field W, 4-2
05/14/11 vs. Long Beach State* Goodwin Field W, 14-12
05/15/11 vs. Long Beach State* Goodwin Field W, 6-1
05/17/11 at UCLA Los Angeles
Canceled, Lights
05/18/11 vs. Loyola Marymount Goodwin Field W, 8-1
05/24/11 vs. San Diego Goodwin Field W, 6-4
05/27/11 at Cal State Northridge* Northridge
L, 5-4
05/28/11 at Cal State Northridge* Northridge W, 6-0
05/29/11 at Cal State Northridge* Northridge W, 11-6
NCAA Regional
vs. Illinois
vs. Stanford
Goodwin Field
Goodwin Field
Goodwin Field
W, 10-4
8 p.m.
NCAA Super Regional
06/10/11 TBA TBA TBA
College World Series
06/18/11 TBA Omaha, Neb. TBA

* All Times Pacific