Thursday, March 31, 2011

UC Davis Preview

Titans at UC Davis (Friday 3 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m.)

Preview by FullertonBaseballFan

Cal State Fullerton continued to play well last week after sweeping Washington the previous weekend. The Titans split a two game midweek series with ASU, winning 7-3 win on Tuesday behind a strong start from Jake Floethe, who allowed two runs and four hits in 7 1/3 IP against the hot hitting Sun Devils. Every starter in the lineup got a hit with Ivory Thomas scoring two runs and Austin Kingsolver and Nick Ramirez each driving in two runs. Ramirez pitched the 9th inning for the save. ASU won the second game 10-1 and there weren’t too many highlights for Fullerton except for Michael Lorenzen hitting his second HR of the season and Raymond Hernandez and David Hurlbut combining for five innings of solid relief work.

Fullerton followed up the ASU series with a weekend trip to Hawaii. The Titans went into the series with the Rainbows shorthanded due to leaving eight players behind for a violation of team rules so it was going to be interesting to see how Fullerton handled dealing with that adversity after playing so poorly on their previous road trip when they went 0-4 at LSU and Texas A&M.

Noe Ramirez got the series off to a great start with eight dominant innings in which he only allowed two hits with eight strikeouts to lead Fullerton to a 3-0 win. Anthony Trajano had two hits, one run and one RBI to lead the offense and Nick Ramirez pitched the final inning for the save.

Fullerton had a doubleheader on Saturday and needed a good start out of Tyler Pill in the first game to take pressure off of the shorthanded bullpen and he delivered, retiring the first eighteen hitters on his way to a 4-2 win in a seven inning complete game. The Titans were led at the plate by leadoff hitter Thomas, who hit his first career HR, and two RBI from Michael Lorenzen.

Fullerton got another good pitching performance to win the second game of the doubleheader to clinch the series win with another 4-2 win. Dylan Floro allowed two runs in the first inning but held Hawaii off the scoreboard for the next five innings before Hernandez threw two scoreless innings and Nick Ramirez recorded another save with a scoreless inning of work. The offense was led by a key pinch-hit RBI single by Chad Wallach to give the Titans a 3-2 lead and a towering HR by Ramirez to increase the lead.

Fullerton went for the sweep on Sunday and got another good outing from a starting pitcher, although this one was a surprise. Hurlbut was picked to start the final game of the series and he allowed only three hits with six strikeouts in five shutout innings to lead the Titans to a 3-2 win. Ramirez had the key hit in the game with a two run single in the 7th inning to increase the lead to 3-0. Christian Coronado followed Hurlbut with two scoreless innings and Floethe snuffed out a Hawaii rally in the 8th and retired the final five batters of the game for the save.

Fullerton returned from their successful trip to the islands with a midweek game against UCLA, the team that eliminated the Titans in a Super Regional last season to leave them one step short of a trip to Omaha. Fullerton continued to play well with their ninth win in ten games with a 5-3 win. The Titans were led on the mound by Colin O’Connell’s six effective innings and three scoreless innings from Hernandez and at the plate by Richy Pedroza and Thomas (two runs each) and Pill and Carlos Lopez (two RBI each).

Next up on the schedule for Fullerton will be a road trip to UC Davis for the conference opening series as the Titans look to get off to a good start in defending their Big West title.

UC Davis Aggies

  • Overall Record – 5-14 in 2011; 26-29 in 2010
  • Conference Record – 0-0 in 2011; 9-15 in 2010 (tie for 7th).
  • Post-Season – None
  • 2011 RPI/ISR – 271/239. 2010 – 163 RPI
  • Current ranking – None
  • Predicted conference finish – 8th by the Big West coaches, 9th by Baseball America

2010 Summary and 2011 Preview

UC Davis qualified for a regional in 2008 with a veteran team in their first year of D1 eligibility and their first year as a full member of the Big West. The Aggies knew that 2009 would be a rebuilding year after losing so many players from their regional team but they played much worse than expected and went 13-42. UC Davis got off to a 12-9 start in 2010 going into conference play due to getting much better production at the plate and solid pitching. The Aggies continued to hit a decent rate during conference games but their pitching staff had injuries to deal with and pretty much imploded. UC Davis only went 1-11 against the four best teams in the Big West and ended up finishing tied for 7th in the conference.

UC Davis thought they had a chance to be improved this year with so many members of last year’s team returning but the Aggies have gotten off to a very slow start, primarily due to poor hitting. Davis played three one run games with Sac State to start the season, losing two of them and scoring only six runs. The Aggies next series was against USF and they lost two out of three and scored only ten runs. The next series for Davis was against Fresno State and they were swept in two games in which they were held to five runs. They played three midweek games in between those series and before heading to San Jose for a tournament and they lost all three of those games, scoring a total of ten runs. The Aggies offense started to wake up in the tournament in San Jose when they scored 21 runs in four games but their pitching let them down and they lost three out of four games. UC Davis played a doubleheader at San Jose on Monday and split two games, losing the first one 5-2 and winning the second game 9-1. The Aggies bats stayed hot in Wednesday’s game at Santa Clara when they beat the Broncos 9-5.

After having a decent offense in 2010, UC Davis expected to have a better offense with seven starters back but that hasn’t been the case. The Aggies have struggled out of the gate and were hitting .247 going into the week before starting to heat up and getting their average into the .250’s. UC Davis is ranked in the bottom two spots in the conference in just about every major hitting category except for HR’s (tied for 2nd with 7). The Aggies scored four runs or less in their first thirteen games and 15 out of 17 before heating up in their last two games. UC Davis is not patient at the plate and they are only averaging three walks per game. They will bunt runners over, averaging about a SAC per game, but don’t run much. Their game plan is to get a pitch early in the count and try to drive it somewhere.

UC Davis has a 4.41 ERA which is over two runs better than last year’s ERA. The Aggies had a similar ERA going into Big West play in 2010 before the pitching staff melted down so they are looking to avoid a repeat scenario. UC Davis has had one of the better SP’s in the conference thus far along with a very good setup man and closer in the bullpen but haven’t had too much consistency from the other starters or relievers.

Offense

  • Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 73 (decreases offense by 27%). 410 to CF, 385 to the power alleys, plenty of foul territory
  • Batting Average – .255 (8th in the Big West). .304 in 2010 (5th in the Big West).
  • Runs Per Game – 3.6 (9th). 6.0 in 2010 (7th).
  • Home Runs – 7 (2nd). 24 in 2010 (9th).
  • Slugging Percentage – .324 (8th). .403 in 2010 (9th).
  • Walks – 53 (9th), 3.0 per game. 153 in 2010 (9th), 2.8 per game.
  • HBP’s – 17 (6th). 72 in 2010 (4th).
  • Stolen Bases – 12 (7th). 40 in 2010 (7th).
  • Sac Bunts – 14 (7th). 38 in 2010 (5th).
Infield

UC Davis has an experienced infield with starters returning at four of the five positions with only their SS moving on.

C – JR #42 Scott Kalush (RH – .237/.348/.316, 0-7-0; ’10 – .270/.327/.297, 0-23-0) is in his third year as the starting catcher. He hit better last season but has gotten off to a slow start. Kalush has very little power and only had four extra base hits last season and has three this year. He will usually hit 7th. Kalush went 1-7 last season at Fullerton. SR #3 Alex Dreyfuss (RH – 4-21, 4 RBI; ’10 – .294 in 34 AB’s) has started five games as the backup C and had only one hit in 16 AB’s before going 3-5 on Monday at San Jose.

1B – JR #19 Eric Johnson (RH – .296/.333/.394, 1-6-3; ’10 – .343/.412/.418, 1-39-4) was a part-time starter as a FR and has been the starter the last two years. He was 3rd on the team in RBI in 2010 and was 2nd in the conf with 17 HBP but has only walked ten times over the last two season. Johnson will usually hit 5th. He went 1-6 at Fullerton last season.

2B – SR #4 Justin Andrade (RH – 3-19, 5 RBI; ’10 – .267 in 30 AB’s), FR #41 Adam Young (RH – 1-18) and JC transfer #22 Ryan Allgrove (RH – 0-13) have been splitting time but all have been poor at the plate. Whoever is in the lineup will usually hit 8th or 9th.

SS – SR #7 Scott Heylman (RH – .293/.379/.310, 0-2-0; ’10 – .257/.368/.286, 0-10-2) was the starting SS in 2009, started at 2B last year and has moved back to SS this season. He has gotten off to a good start but doesn’t have much power and has only one extra base hit. Heylman will usually hit 7th or 8th. He went 5-8 at Fullerton last season and is 6-14 in his career.

3B – Soph #24 Paul Politi (RH – .328./.403/.410, 1-10-2; ’10 – .296/.385/.376, 1-25-2) had a solid season as a FR and has been one of the better hitters in the lineup, leading the team in AVG and is 2nd in OBP. He will hit 2nd or 3rd. Politi went 3-12 with 3 RBI at Fullerton last season.

Outfield

UC Davis also has an experienced outfield after having only one of their outfielders move on after 2010.

LF/DH – JR #20 David Popkins (Both – .323/.429/.477, 2-7-0; ’10 – .388/.473/.580, 5-43-2) barely played as a FR but was outstanding last year and was 1st team All-Big West after finishing 2nd in the conf in OBP, 3rd in AVG and 9th in SLG. He also led the team in RBI and H and was 2nd in R and HR. Popkins has gotten off to a slow start compared to what he did last season but had three hits on Monday at San Jose. He will usually hit 3rd or 4th. Popkins went 4-11 with 4 RBI at Fullerton last season.

CF – JC transfer #9 Brett Morgan (RH – .306/.377/.468, 1-4-3) is a good athlete who has been one of the better hitters in the lineup. He is in the top three on the team in AVG, OBP and SLG. Morgan is the leadoff hitter and is 4th in the Big West with six doubles.

RF – JR #27 Scott Lyman (RH – .257/.325/.357, 2-8-1; ’10 – .356/.388/.525, 5-40-1) focused on pitching as a FR but has been the starter in RF the last two seasons when he’s not pitching. He was honorable mention All-Big West in 2010 when he was one of the team leaders in AVG, OBP, SLG, HR and RBI. Lyman will usually hit 3rd or 4th. He went 3-6 last season at Fullerton.

Soph #8 Seth Batty (RH – 3-20, 1 RBI; ’10 – .292/.376/.308, 0-6-6) and SR #11 Daniel Cepin (Both – .250/.294/.292, 0-5-1; ’10 – .259/.320/.267, 0-8-5) were regulars in 2010 but haven’t seen as much playing time this season. Cepin was the CF but Morgan is a better hitter and has taken over that spot. He will usually be in the lineup when Lyman is pitching. Both have good speed.

Defense

Fielding % – .971 (3rd) with 19 errors. 2010 – .970 with 64 errors (5th). The infielders for Davis have average range and will make most of the plays they are supposed to. Morgan, Cepin and Batty have good speed. Lyman and Popkins have average range but good arms because they are pitchers.

Stolen Base Attempts – 23-35 (5th). 2010 – 90-119 (9th). Davis was terrible against the running game in 2010 but have drastically improved this season.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 28 (9th). 2010 – 82 (9th). The catchers have improved at stopping the running game but they are still having major problems blocking pitches.

Pitching

  • ERA – 4.41 (7th in the Big West). 5.68 in 2010 (8th in the Big West).
  • BA – .254 (5th). .308 in 2010 (7th).
  • BB’s/9 IP – 4.0 (7th). 4.6 in 2010 (9th).
  • K’s/9 IP – 8.5 (2nd). 6.3 in 2010 (3rd).
  • Extra Base Hits – 41 (3rd), 2.3 per game. 183 (5th), 2.8 per game in 2010.
  • HR – 4 (3rd). 30 HR in 2010 (1st).
Starters

UC Davis returns all three starting pitchers from last season so they are experienced and have a good idea what they are doing on the mound.
FRI – JR #6 Dayne Quist (LHP – 1-2, 5.93 ERA, 6 apps, 4 GS, 30 IP, 37 H, 11 BB, 32 K, .306 BA, 1 HR, 4 HBP, 4 WP, 3-5 SB; ’10 – 7-4, 5.57 ERA, 14 GS, 3 CG, 95 IP, 105 H, 40 BB, 79 K, .288 BA, 7 HR, 7 HBP, 10 WP, 17-22 SB) is in his third year in the rotation and is a crafty lefty relies on control, changing speeds and keeping the ball down to get hitters out and when his control is off he can get hit. He has had one solid start (USF – 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K), two ok starts (Sac State – 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 8 K and Utah – 7 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 K) and one bad start (Fresno – 5 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 2 BB, 8 K). Quist went five innings in relief on Monday at San Jose (5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K). He has had major issues with Fullerton and has allowed 19 R and 24 H in 12 IP in his two starts against the Titans.

SAT – JR #28 Anthony Kupbens (LHP – 2-2, 2.34 ERA, 6 apps, 5 GS, 1 CG, 35 IP, 35 H, 9 BB, 32 K, .205 BA, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 5 WP, 3-5 SB; ’10 – 3-3, 6.98 ERA, 7 GS, 39 IP, 49 H, 18 BB, 21 K, .316 BA, 3 HR, 5 HBP, 1 WP, 4-7 SB) has better natural stuff than Kupbens but is another lefty who relies on keeping the ball down to get hitters out. He pitched primarily out of the bullpen in 2009 before being converted to a starter last season. Kupbens was throwing well before his start at Fullerton but he was injured during that start (4 2/3 IP, 15 H, 16 R) and lost for the rest of the year. He has had an outstanding start to this season and has not allowed more than three runs in any of his starts. Kupbens threw a complete game at Fresno and held a good hitting Bulldog team to 3 R on 5 H with 1 BB and 8 K. He has only allowed one run in each of his last two starts (UW Milwaukee – 7 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K and Monday at San Jose – 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K).

SUN – JR #27 Scott Lyman (RHP – 0-2, 5.13 ERA, 6 GS, 26 IP, 26 H, 17 BB, 27 K, .257 BA, 0 HR, 6 HBP, 7 WP, 10-11 SB; ’10 – 5-6, 6.50 ERA, 14 GS, 1 CG, 80 IP, 102 H, 46 BB, 61 K,.307 BA, 4 HR, 10 HBP, 18 WP, 17-21 SB) is the hardest thrower in the rotation and somebody that the scouts have their eye on for the first ten rounds of the draft. He has had issues with control and command since arriving on campus so working pitch counts and making him work is a good approach to take. Lyman has also had major problems holding runners, which will be something that Fullerton will look to exploit. He allowed two runs in each of his first three starts (Sac State – 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K, USF – 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 BB, 5 K and Nevada – 5 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 7 K) before being bombed by Santa Clara (4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 3 BB, 5 K). Lyman threw three innings at San Jose on Monday (0 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). He had a good start last season at Fullerton when he kept the Aggies in the game until a game winning HR by Billy Marcoe in the bottom of the 8th (7+ IP, 9 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 2 K).

Relievers

UC Davis didn’t come into the season with an established closer but they did have several experienced relievers in the bullpen and a couple of them have stepped forward.
JR #10 Tom Briner (RHP – 0-1, 0.66 ERA, 9 apps, 3 saves, 14 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 18 K, .133 BA, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 1 WP, 1-1 SB) only made four appearances in 2010 but has been lights out as the closer. If Davis has a lead late in the game they feel confident handing Briner the ball.

JR #20 David Popkins (RHP – 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 apps, 13 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 8 K, .150 BA, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 0 WP, 0-0 SB; ’10 – 3-2, 6.67 ERA, 16 apps, 2 GS, 30 IP, 33 H, 17 BB, 18 K, .295 BA, 0 HR, 3 HBP, 3 WP, 7-8 SB) wasn’t too effective last year but has done a very good job in a setup role.

JR #26 Nathan Slater (LHP – 0-3, 8.00 ERA, 5 apps, 9 IP, 14 H, 4 BB, 9 K; ’10 – 2-4, 6.11 ERA, 18 apps, 7 GS, 56 IP, 62 H, 21 BB, 45 K, .283 BA, 4 HR, 5 HBP, 14 WP, 8-10 SB) was in the bullpen early last year but moved into the rotation when Kupbens got hurt. He would be the most likely pitcher to come in for a LHP vs. LH matchup.

Others

JR #23 Scott Walker (LHP – 0-1, 10.12 ERA, 6 apps, 3 GS, 8 IP, 6 H, 13 BB, 6 K, .222 BA, 0 HR, 3 HBP, 5 WP, 1-3 SB)

FR #48 Ryan Lucas (RHP – 0-2, 5.11 ERA, 5 apps, 12 IP, 12 H, 4 BB, 7 K, .245 BA, 1 HR, 3 HBP, 1 WP, 3-3 SB)

JC transfer #35 Joe Biagini (RHP – 1-1, 10.80 ERA, 5 apps, 5 IP, 12 H, 4 BB, 6 K, .500 BA, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1-1 SB)

FR #31 Harry Stanwyck (RHP) had only made two appearances (2 2/3 IP) before starting the midweek game at Santa Clara, when he threw four innings and allowed one run on four hits.

Outlook

Fullerton goes into the series at UC Davis with a great deal of momentum and playing their best baseball of the season, finding ways to win games with strong pitching and timely hitting. The Titans bonded last weekend in Hawaii and played with a sense of purpose when they could have used the suspensions as a reason to not play well.

Fullerton enters this series as the better team but UC Davis will be motivated to prove that they can be a factor in the conference race. The Titans need to come out and jump on the Aggies like they did in Fullerton last season to take away any confidence that they might have playing at home. Fullerton does not want to let UC Davis hang around and steal a game late with their two best relievers.

Fullerton doesn’t have the decided advantage offensively that they had over UC Davis last season but the Titans have been better at the plate than the Aggies against a more difficult schedule. If Fullerton is able to get out to leads, with the way they have been pitching they should be able to win at least two games in the series, if not sweep all three games.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Diamond Club Newsletter (March 27, 2011)

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




Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hawaii Preview

Titans at Hawaii (Friday 9:35 p.m., Saturday 6:05 p.m. DH, Sunday, 4:05 p.m.)

Preview by FullertonBaseballFan

Cal State Fullerton rebounded from a disastrous trip to the south where they lost all four games at LSU and Texas A&M by getting some home cooking and sweeping the Washington Huskies in all three games by a cumulative score of 26-8 before splitting a pair of games with nationally ranked Arizona State.

Noe Ramirez struck out 11 hitters and allowed one run in six innings before giving a couple more in the seventh in an 11-3 win in the opener. The Titans had eleven players either get a hit, score a run and/or drive in a run and were led by Tyler Pill’s two extra-base hits (2B, 3B) and three RBI and three hits, two runs and an RBI from Michael Lorenzen.

Fullerton and Washington played a double-header last Saturday due to rain on Sunday and the Titans swept both games by scores of 6-1 and 9-4. Pill allowed only one run in 7 1/3 IP in the first game and the offense managed to score six runs despite only getting five hits. Nick Ramirez hit his first HR of the season, Ivory Thomas drove in three runs and Lorenzen had two hits and scored two runs. Dylan Floro started the second game and allowed four runs (2 ER) in six innings. Richy Pedroza had four hits and Jared Deacon and Nick Ramirez each had three hits and drove in two runs.

The level of competition stepped up significantly when Arizona State came to town for a two game midweek series. Fullerton extended their winning streak at home to 8 games with a 7-3 win on Tuesday. The Titans got a strong start from Jake Floethe, who allowed two runs and four hits in 7 1/3 IP against the hot hitting Sun Devils. Every starter in the lineup got a hit with Thomas scoring two runs and Austin Kingsolver and Nick Ramirez each driving in two runs. Ramirez pitched the 9th inning for the save. ASU won the second game 10-1 and there weren’t too many highlights for Fullerton except for Lorenzen hitting his second HR of the season and Raymond Hernandez and David Hurbut combining for five innings of solid relief work.

Next up for Fullerton is a four-game series on the islands at Hawaii. The Titans won two games out of three from the Rainbows last season at Fullerton. Hawaii got off to a slow start but has won five consecutive games.

Hawaii Rainbows
  • Overall Record – 11-9 in 2011; 35-28 in 2010
  • Conference Record – 12-12 in 2010 (4th).
  • Post-Season – Won WAC Tournament (4-1). Finished 2nd in ASU regional (2-0 vs. San Diego, 0-2 vs. ASU).
  • 2011 RPI/ISR – 87/103. 2010 – 72 RPI
  • Current ranking – None
  • Predicted conference finish – 2nd by the WAC coaches and Baseball America

2010 Summary and 2011 Preview


Hawaii had an experienced team in 2010 that expected to contend for the WAC title and was projected to finish second or third in the conference. The Rainbows had an up and down season and weren’t too consistent, winning only three (and splitting another three) of their first eleven series and sitting at 6-10 in the WAC going into their last two series. Hawaii got hot down the stretch and won ten of their last fourteen games, including winning four out of five games in the WAC tournament, to claim the WAC’s automatic bid for the NCAA regionals. The Rainbows continued to play well as they won the opening game of their regional against San Diego before losing to host ASU, defeating San Diego for a second time and losing to ASU once again to finish as the runner-up in the regional and 35-28 on the season.

Hawaii was projected by the WAC coaches and media to keep the momentum going from 2010 by finishing second and ending up in a regional again this season. The Rainbows have played a pretty difficult schedule to open the 2011 season, which has been a factor in why they were under .500 before last weekend. Hawaii started the season by splitting four games with Oregon and losing 2 of 3 games to Texas at home before coming to the mainland, where they split four games at much improved Loyola Marymount and lost a midweek game at Long Beach. The Rainbows returned home and split four games with Portland before winning all four games against an overmatched Cenentary squad last weekend.

Hawaii has had trouble scoring runs due to using the new BBCOR bats, playing in a pitcher’s park and facing some good pitching staffs. The Rainbows only scored more than five runs twice in their first fourteen games and were only hitting .240 going into the Centenary series, when they fattened up and scored 30 runs and increased their team average by 20 points. Hawaii doesn’t have much pop at the plate and was averaging just over two extra-base hits a game before playing Centenary. The Rainbows also don’t bunt much but they will use the hit and run to get runners moving and will run because they have the top three base stealers in the WAC and lead the conference in SB’s.

Hawaii had a deep pitching staff in 2010 so they have been able to overcome the losses of two of their better starting pitchers to have the second best pitching staff in the WAC after nationally ranked Fresno State. The Rainbows have dropped their team ERA by over two runs and opponents are hitting sixty points less thus far, although those numbers are likely to go up when they start playing conference games in some of the launching pads in the WAC. The Hawaii pitchers have held teams to four runs or less in 14 of their first 20 games.


Offense
  • Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 79 (decreases offense by 21%).
  • Batting Average – .260 (4th in the WAC). .287 in 2010 (5th in the WAC).
  • Runs Per Game – 4.8 (5th). 6.0 in 2010 (5th).
  • Home Runs – 7 (6th). 58 in 2010 (5th).
  • Slugging Percentage – .369 (4th). .431 in 2010 (5th).
  • Walks – 83 (2nd), 4.1 per game. 259 in 2010 (3rd), 4.1 per game.
  • HBP’s – 25 (3rd). 49 in 2010 (4th).
  • Stolen Bases – 26 (1st). 44 in 2010 (6th).
  • Sac Bunts – 15 (2nd). 44 in 2010 (1st).

Infield

Hawaii lost starters at C, 1B and SS from last season and return their 3B and their best player at 2B.

C/3B – Soph #9 Pi’ikea Kitamura (RH – .145/.280/.232, 1-8-0; ’10 – .241/.322/.292, 1-28-2) is the best defensive option at 3B but has been playing mostly behind the plate due to an injury to the expected starter. He does not have much power but can get a bunt down (2nd on the team last year with 6 SAC’s). Kitamura has usually been hitting 6th or 7th. He went 3-11 with 2 RBI in last year’s series at Fullerton. When Kitamura is starting at 3B, JC transfer #33 Garrett Champion (RH) will be behind the plate. He played for the first time last week and started three games last weekend against Centenary, going 6-11 with a HR and 2 RBI while batting 7th or 8th.

1B – SR #13 Jeffrey Van Doornum (RH – .294/.422/.397, 1-9-6; ’10 – .330/.391/.585, 14-38-6) was the DH most of the last three years and has been playing more at 1B this season. He has gotten off to a slow start in the power department getting used to the new BBCOR bats after leading the team and finishing 7th in the WAC in HR’s in 2010 when he was 1st team All-WAC after hitting .383 in conference games. Van Doornum will hit in the middle of the lineup. He will see lots of pitches because he is 8th in the WAC with 13 BB’s and has a big swing because he was 3rd in the WAC in 2010 with 55 K’s and is 2nd this season with 22 K’s. Van Doornum is a good baserunner and is 2nd in the WAC with 6 SB’s. He went 0-7 with 5 K’s in last year’s series at Fullerton.

DH – JC transfers #31 Michael Blake (LH – .255/.305/.392, 0-10-0) and #20 David Peterson (RH – .289/.418/.356, 0-4-0) have been seeing some playing time at 1B along with Van Doornum but one of them has usually been the DH. Peterson was catching earlier in the season but has been moved out from behind the plate. Blake got off to a very slow start before going 6-13 with 4 RBI last weekend against Centenary. Whichever one starts will usually hit 5th or 6th.

2B – JR #14 Kolten Wong (LH – .386/.441/.542, 3-14-7; ’10 – .357/.436/.534, 7-40-19) is Hawaii’s best player and one of the best players in the WAC. He was a FR All-American and played on Team USA after his FR season. He had another strong year in 2010 and was 1st team All-WAC when he led the team in R, H, TB and BB and was 2nd in the WAC in SB’s. Wong continued his strong play last summer when he was MVP of the Cape Cod League and he is projected to be drafted in the first two rounds. He has gotten off to a blazing hot start and is among the WAC leaders in AVG, H, HR, SLG and SB and leads the team in RBI. Wong will hit 3rd and has shown his versatility this season by also starting games at C and SS. He went 4-11 with two 2B’s last year at Fullerton.

SS and 3B – Soph Matt Harrison (RH – .114/.244/.143, 0-2-0) was supposed to take over at SS for three year starter Greg Garcia after sitting out last season due to transferring in from North Carolina. Harrison has struggled both offensively and defensively and was replaced in the lineup last weekend at SS by one of the pitchers, JR #2 Jesse Moore (RH – .238/.304/.381, 0-3-1), who went 5-11 after starting the season 0-10. FR #4 Conner George (RH – 0-14) and JC transfer #22 AJ Bayus (RH – 4-20) have each made five starts on the left side of the infield at SS or 3B. Whoever starts at SS will hit 9th.

Outfield

Hawaii lost one of their starting OF’s from 2010 and has a pretty experienced group of outfielders.

LF – SR #8 Sean Montplaisir (LH – .362/.430/.507, 0-9-3; ’10 – .241/.306/.353, 5-26-2) and Wong were the best all-around hitters on the team in 2009 and he was a pre-season All WAC selection going into 2010 but had a poor season and ended up being a part-time starter. Montplaisir has has gotten off to a much better start this year and is among the WAC leaders in AVG, H, 2B and SLG. He is a good bunter (2nd on the team with 6 SAC’s in 2010) and will hit 2nd. Montplaisir went 1-6 last year at Fullerton.

CF – Soph #21 Breland Almadova (RH – .222/.379/.311, 0-7-4) was a part-time player in 2010 (.118 in 34 AB’s) but has gotten a chance to play in the last couple of weeks as the leadoff hitter and has walked 11 times in 14 games. He has good speed and is a good bunter (leads the WAC with 4 SAC’s).

RF – JC transfer #10 Zack Swasey (RH – 310/.375/.423, 0-10-5) moved right into the lineup and has been a threat in the middle of the batting order. He is 3rd in the WAC in SB’s and 10th in 2B’s. Swasey has a big swing and is tied for 2nd in the WAC in K’s with 22.

OF – SR #18 Collin Bennett (RH – .179/.270/.250, 0-4-0; ‘10 – .323/.408/.489, 5-49-4) came in as a JC transfer in 2010 and was a productive member of the lineup, playing CF and leading the team in RBI. He got off to a slow start this season and has been once each of the last two weekends. Bennett went 3-11 with 2 RBI last year at Fullerton.

Defense

Fielding % –.960 (6th) with 33 errors. 2010 – .968 with 77 errors (2nd). Despite playing on turf, defense has been a problem this year with Hawaii allowing 18 unearned runs before not giving up any free runs last weekend. Wong has played below his ability level and has made six errors, partially due to moving around the diamond and playing some SS and C in addition to 2B. SS has been a major issue with Harrison making seven errors and the backups who have played at SS/3B have made six more miscues. Kitamura is good defensively at 3B. There are good athletes at each of the OF spots.

Stolen Base Attempts – 29-35 (7th). 2010 – 63-106 (7th). Hawaii allowed the most SB’s but threw out the most runners in the WAC in 2010. The new C’s have struggled to slow down the running game and have allowed the most SB’s again this season.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 11 (1st). 2010 – 44 (1st). The new catchers have done a good job at blocking pitches and have allowed the fewest WP’s/PB’s in the WAC.


Pitching
  • ERA – 3.25 (2nd in the WAC). 5.11 in 2010 (1st in the WAC).
  • BA – .239 (2nd). .296 in 2010 (2nd).
  • BB’s/9 IP – 2.3 (1st). 2.7 in 2010 (1st).
  • K’s/9 IP – 6.3 (3rd). 6.8 in 2010 (2nd).
  • Extra Base Hits – 52 (5th), 3.6 per game. 179 (2nd), 2.8 per game in 2010.
  • HR – 9 (6th). 40 HR in 2010 (1st).

Starters

Despite losing their top two starting pitchers who made 30 starts last season, Hawaii has an experienced staff with their next seven pitchers in innings pitched returning and all of them threw at least 30 innings in 2010. The Rainbows have been pitching much better this season and their staff has kept them in most games despite the struggles of the offense.

FRI – JR #24 Matt Sisto (RHP – 1-2, 2.48 ERA, 5 GS, 33 IP, 29 H, 6 BB, 19 K, 1 HR, .232 BA, 2 HBP, 1 WP, 4-4 SB; 2010 – 5-5, 5.27 ERA, 15 apps, 13 GS, 72 IP, 86 H, 16 BB, 48 K, 5 HR, .302 BA, 2 HBP, 3 WP, 7-11 SB) is a strike thrower with very good control who hasn’t had much to show for his efforts this year. He has pitched into the sixth inning in all five of his starts and has allowed three runs or less in all four of his starts at home. Sisto is 4th in the WAC in ERA and 6th in AVG and was voted to the pre-season All-WAC team by their coaches. He allowed 6 R on 12 H in 5 1/3 IP in his start at Fullerton last season.

SAT – JR #15 Connor Little (RHP – 2-0, 3.13 ERA, 4 GS, 23 IP, 21 H, 5 BB, 14 K, 3 HR, .244 BA, 1 HBP, 0 WP, 2-3 SB; 2010 – 2-3, 8.08 ERA, 15 apps, 5 GS, 39 IP, 56 H, 11 BB, 37 K, 7 HR, .348 BA, 5 HBP, 4 WP, 7-10 SB) pitched primarily out of the bullpen in 2010. He pitched poorly against Oregon in his first start but has thrown well in his last three starts, allowing five runs in 19 innings. Little is a big guy with a low 90’s fastball and a solid slider and is effective when he is able to have good command of his fastball to set up hitters to chase his slider. He allowed 2 R on 4 H in 1 2/3 IP last season at Fullerton.

SAT – FR #17 Jarrett Arakawa (LHP – 1-1, 4.30 ERA, 6 apps, 3 GS, 23 IP, 21 H, 7 BB, 19 K, 2 HR, .241 BA, 1 HBP, 0 WP, 6-7 SB) started out the season in the bullpen, when he struggled and allowed 6 R in 3 IP in 3 apps. He got his chance to start at Long Beach and has thrown well in each of his starts. Arakawa allowed 3 R (2 ER) in 5 IP at Long Beach, 2 R in 7 IP against Portland and 1 R in 8 IP against Centenary.

SUN – JR #2 Jesse Moore (RHP – 0-2, 3.76 ERA, 5 GS, 26 IP, 29 H, 6 BB, 15 K, 1 HR, .299 BA, 0 HBP, 1 WP, 1-3 SB; 2010 – 1-1, 4.62 ERA, 23 apps, 4 saves, 39 IP, 37 H, 10 BB, 25 K, 5 HR, .255 BA, 3 HBP, 1 WP, 1-5 SB) was used as the main set-up man in 2010. He isn’t a big guy so he is a battler on the mound who gets guys out by keeping the ball down. Moore was limited to four innings in each of his first two starts before going six innings at LMU and seven innings against Portland. He allowed 3 R on 5 H in 2 IP last season at Fullerton.

Relievers

Hawaii had a deep bullpen in 2010 that was led by one of the best closers in the country. They have their closer and several other relievers back and have done a good job once again this season.

JR #34 Lenny Linsky (RHP – 0-1, 0.00 ERA, 9 apps, 4 saves, 11 IP, 4 unearned runs, 4 H, 4 BB, 16 K, 0 HR, .103 BA, 3 HBP, 4 WP, 1-1 SB; 2010 – 4-0, 1.64 ERA, 29 apps, 12 saves, 44 IP, 40 H, 12 BB, 28 K, 2 HR, .235 BA, 2 HBP, 3 WP, 6-7 SB) was 1st team All-WAC and has been outstanding to start this season. He relies on getting hitters out with a hard sinking low 90’s fastball that he buries to get batters to pound the ball into the ground. Linsky is projected to go in the first 7-8 rounds of the draft in June, possibly higher. He got the save at Fullerton in Hawaii’s only win of the series by throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

SR #27 Blair Walters (LHP – 3-1, 4.32 ERA, 10 apps, 17 IP, 14 H, 8 BB, 12 K, 0 HR, .233 BA, 1 HBP, 0 WP, 2-3 SB; 2010 – 2-1, 7.07 ERA, 23 apps, 36 IP, 47 H, 12 BB, 35 K, 1 HR, .338 BA, 3 HBP, 0 WP, 5-9 SB) figures to see quite a bit of action this weekend with the number of LH hitters that Fullerton has. He is a crafty lefty and a ground ball specialist. He allowed four runs in 1/3 IP at Fullerton last season.

SR #32 Zach Gallagher (RHP – 3-0, 1.62 ERA, 7 apps, 1 GS, 17 IP, 14 H, 2 BB, 11 K, 1 HR, .222 BA, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 2-3 SB; 2010 – 3-4, 4.81 ERA, 15 apps, 6 GS, 1 save, 49 IP, 63 H, 15 BB, 29 K, 5 HR, .321 BA, 3 HBP, 3 WP, 3-10 SB) was pretty effective as a SP and middle reliever in 2010 and has been lights out this season. He has been used exclusively out of the bullpen except for a spot start he made last week against Centenary when he threw six shutout innings and allowed only two hits.

SR #29 Alex Capaul (RHP – 1-1, 4.67 ERA, 7 apps, 2 GS, 17 IP, 18 H, 4 BB, 10 K, 0 HR, .265 BA, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 6-6 SB; 2010 – 6-2, 5.65 ERA, 21 apps, 3 GS, 72 IP, 91 H, 14 BB, 44 K, 10 HR, .308 BA, 4 HBP, 5 WP, 9-15 SB) led the team in wins last season and was among the team leaders in IP despite pitching mostly out of the bullpen. He started the season in the rotation and made starts against Oregon (3 R in 6 IP) and LMU (5 R in 3 1/3 IP) but has been working out of the bullpen the last couple of weeks. He allowed 1 R on 4 H in 3 2/3 IP in two apps last season at Fullerton.

JC transfer #31 Michael Blake (LHP – 0.00 ERA, 3 1/3 IP in 5 apps, 1 H, 4 BB, 3 K).

JC transfer #23 Brent Harrison (RHP – 0-1, 6.43 ERA, 4 apps, 7 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 K).

Outlook

Fullerton played very well in winning their first four games at home against Washington and ASU before dropping the second game of the series with the Sun Devils. It will be interesting to see how the Titans respond to playing their third series of the season on the road. Fullerton played well in winning two out of three games at TCU but played poorly in losing all four games at LSU and Texas A&M.

Fullerton will have some adversity to deal with this weekend because there are eight players who have been suspended and will not be making the trip to Hawaii, including the starters on the left side of the infield. The suspensions will result in some shuffling around of players in the infield and will cut into the depth of the bullpen, which could become a factor in a four game series.

Pitching and defense figure to be the keys to winning this series because runs should be at a premium in a notorious pitcher's park. Fullerton has averaged under four runs a game in their ten road games and scored two runs or less in five of them. Hawaii has allowed four runs or less in eleven of the fifteen games they have played at home and the Rainbows scored four runs or less in six of their first eight home games (seven of those against Oregon and Texas) before starting to hit against the lesser pitching of Portland and Centenary.

Hawaii is a tough team to beat on the islands and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the Titans and Rainbows end up splitting the four game series. If Fullerton continues to get solid pitching from the four SP’s they are using this weekend and the defense holds up, the Titans have a chance to sneak out three wins. If Fullerton has issues with fielding like they did on their last road trip when the committed eleven errors in four games with some players not starting at positions they are used to playing, that is asking for trouble and giving Hawaii a chance to win the series at home.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Washington Preview

Washington at Titans (Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. & 6 p.m., Goodwin Field)

Preview by FullertonBaseballFan

Cal State Fullerton went into their trip to the south with a great deal of momentum, riding a six-game winning streak that had been fueled by standout pitching, timely hitting and strong defense. The Titans came home winless in four games at LSU and Texas A&M after they allowed 24 runs at LSU, were held to 15 hits in the last three games and 2 runs in the last two games of the trip and the defense committed 11 errors that led to 10 unearned runs.

The first game against LSU was a hard fought battle where the Tigers took an early lead, Fullerton came back against the LSU bullpen to take the lead and the Tigers rallied in the 8th inning to win 7-6. After a shaky first inning, Noe Ramirez threw well in allowing only one run in six innings before tiring in the 8th inning. The offense was led by Carlos Lopez’s two hits and four RBI, including a two run double in the 9th inning that was almost the first HR of the season for the Titans and would have tied the game.

The second game against LSU was similar to Friday’s game. The Tigers took an early lead and Fullerton came back against the LSU bullpen to tie the game before the Tigers scored the go ahead run on a controversial full count walk to win 7-6. The highlights of the game for Fullerton were Michael Lorenzen hitting the Titans first HR of the year in the fifteenth game of the season and Ivory Thomas getting on base four times and stealing three bases.

The final game of the LSU series was over almost before it started with the Tigers scoring seven runs in the first two innings to complete the sweep with a 10-2 win. There weren’t too many highlights for Fullerton in this game except for Ryan Ackland throwing two scoreless innings in his first appearance in nearly two years.

Fullerton finished up their road trip with a game on Tuesday at Texas A&M. It was expected to be a pitchers’ duel with both teams having SP’s capable of starting on weekends for most teams and the game lived up to that billing because it was scoreless going into the bottom of the 8th inning before the Aggies took advantage of an error to score twice and win 2-0. Jake Floethe threw 7+ innings, allowing two unearned runs on 7 hits.

Next up for Fullerton is a series at Goodwin Field with the Washington Huskies in the first three game series at home for the Titans after two H/A split series and two road trips. Both teams are going into this game looking to bounce back after recent disappointments.

Washington Huskies

  • Overall Record – 3-10 in 2011; 28-28 in 2010
  • Conference Record – 11-16 in 2010 (9th)
  • Post-Season – None
  • 2011 RPI/ISR – 195/203. 2010 – 149 RPI
  • Current ranking – None
  • Predicted conference finish – 10th by the Pac-10 coaches and Baseball America

2010 Summary and 2011 Preview

Washington started a new era in 2010 with the hiring of Lindsay Meggs, who replaced long-time coach Ken Knudsen after the Huskies had missed the post-season the previous five seasons. They had an improved level of effort on the field for their new coach and started out 19-13 before their shaky pitching staff caught up with them and they struggled down the stretch to end up at .500 with a 28-28 record. Washington finished in 9th place in the Pac 10 with an 11-16 record that was highlighted by series wins against Washington State and Stanford, who both played in regionals in 2010.

Meggs made it an emphasis to start bringing in his own players this season and there are 21 newcomers to the roster and there have been growing pains as the Huskies have gotten off to a 3-10 start. Washington lost two out of three games in a tournament in Texas (W – Missouri State, L – Nebraska, L – Air Force) and at home to BYU and Dallas Baptist and were swept at Bakersfield. The Huskies have had trouble both at the plate, hitting .238 and scoring four runs or less in 9 of 13 games. They will bunt runners over often but only have stolen only one base. Washignton has also had issues on the mound in allowing seven or more runs in 6 of 13 games, although they have pitched better recently in giving up three runs or less in 4 of the last 6 games.

Offense

  • Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 85 (decreases offense by 15%).
  • Batting Average – .238 (9th in the Pac 10). .280 in 2010 (9th in the Pac 10).
  • Runs Per Game – 3.8 (10th). 5.5 in 2010 (10th).
  • Home Runs – 4 (7th). 40 in 2010 (7th).
  • Stolen Bases – 1 (10th). 45 in 2010 (7th).
  • Slugging Percentage – .314 (9th). .410 in 2010 (8th).
  • Walks – 38 (9th), 2.9 per game. 199 in 2010 (7th), 3.6 per game.
  • HBP’s – 19 (6th). 76 in 2010 (3rd).
  • Sac Bunts – 15 (3rd). 55 in 2010 (3rd).

Lineup

Washington only returned four regulars to their lineup so they knew there would be growing pains this year with fifteen freshmen and four JC transfers on the roster.

Infield

Washington has an experienced left side of the infield but is going with new or seldom used players from last season on the right side of the infield and behind the plate.

C – JC transfer #8 B.K. Santy (RH – .242/.324/.274, 0-2-0) has taken over behind the plate after both catchers from last year moved on and has started in 11 of 13 games. He hit 7th and 8th last weekend.

1B – JR #25 Eric Peterson (LH – .313/.405/.375, 0-5-0. ’10 – .225 in 40 AB’s) didn’t play much last season but is getting his chance this year and leads the team in AVG. He has started six games at 1B and two at DH. He hit 4th and 6th last weekend. Soph #40 Joe Meggs (RH – 4-10) has made three starts, including one last weekend.

2B – FR #2 Willy Reel (RH – .226/.250/.258, 0-2-0) and FR #12 Reggie Jones (RH – .059 across the board, 1-17) have been splitting time and neither has done much at the plate thus far. Either one of them will hit at the bottom of the order.

SS – Soph #18 Jacob Lamb (LH – .294/.327/.431, 2-7-0. ’10 – .347/.413/.475, 4-32-1) has started 8 games at SS and 5 at 3B after being the starter at 3B last season when he was a FR All-American when he was in the top two on the team in AVG, R, H, 2B, RBI, TB and OBP. He was 4th in the Pac 10 with a .363 average in conference games. Lamb has two of the team’s four HR’s and leads the team in RBI. He will hit either 3rd or 5th. Lamb wore out Fullerton in the first two games of last year’s series when he was 6-7 with a HR before being held hitless in the third game.

3B – SR #32 Troy Scott (LH – .320/.433/.520, 1-9-0; ’10 – .233/.351/.402, 7-28-4) is a four year starter who played mostly at 1B before this season and has started seven games at 3B and three at 1B. He has been 2nd on the team in HR each of the last two seasons. Scott will see lots of pitches and has led the team in BB’s the last two seasons but also has a big swing and has been second on the team in K’s the last two seasons, striking out almost 1/3 of the time, although he has cut down on his strikeouts this year. He has been hitting 2nd. Scott went 1-10 in last year’s series with Fullerton.

Outfield and DH

Washington has two experienced players in the OF (although one of them wasn’t an OF last season) and will use the other OF spot to platoon several players.

CF – JR #21 Caleb Brown (RH – .111/.168/.111, 0-3-0. ’10 – .295/.413/.435, 4-29-9) is one of the better athletes on the team but has gotten off to a slow start after breaking his leg last summer and missing fall ball. He led the team in SB and HBP (13) in 2010 and was second on the team in BB and OBP. Brown is the leadoff hitter. He went 4-11 in last year’s series with Fullerton.

RF – Soph #11 Chase Anselment (LH – .265/.345/.408, 1-7-0. ’10 – .347/.421/.581, 6-28-1) was the DH most of the time last season but has been playing in RF and has started behind the plate twice. He had a strong FR season and led the team in AVG, OBP and SLG. He hit 3rd and 5th last weekend.

LF – SR #37 Brendan Gardner-Young (LH – .211/.286/.316, 0-2-1), FR #26 Spencer Rogers (LH – .217/.471/.304, 0-2-0) and FR #33 Will Sparks (RH – 2-7) have been splitting time in LF and whoever is in the lineup will hit lower in the order. Gardner-Young has also played some CF this season.

DH – FR #38 Ryan Wiggins (RH – .286/.390/.371, 0-1-0) has started the last seven games at DH and has been in the lineup in 10 of 13 games. He hit cleanup twice and 6th once last weekend.

Defense

Fielding % –.970 (7th) with 14 errors. 2010 – .970 with 65 errors (7th). Washington isn’t too athletic on the corners, Lamb is playing out of position at SS and they are platooning two FR at 2B. Brown is a good athlete in CF but there are question marks at the corner OF positions.

Stolen Base Attempts – 9-15 (4th). 2010 – 45-68 (7th). Washington’s catchers did a solid job against the running game last year and runners are only 6-11 against Santy, the new catcher.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 14 (9th). 2010 – 36 (2nd). The new catchers have struggled with blocking pitches. Washington is a ground ball staff so they will have more pitches thrown in the dirt to be blocked.

Pitching

  • ERA – 5.62 (10th in Pac 10). 5.71 in 2010 (10th).
  • BA – .310 (10th). .305 in 2010 (10th).
  • BB’s/9 IP – 3.5 (5th). 3.2 in 2010 (3rd).
  • K’s/9 IP – 7.5 (9th). 6.6 in 2010 (8th).
  • Extra Base Hits – 42 (10th), 3.2 per game. 272 (10th), 4.9 per game in 2010.
  • HR – 4 (7th). 75 HR in 2010 (7th).

Starters

Washington has a pretty experienced staff that returned pitchers who started 39 of 56 games, including 22 of 27 conference games, but their project Friday SP has been out for academic issues and the staff has had pitchers projected to be starters coming out of the bullpen and pitchers projected to be relievers in the rotation. The Huskies had issues on the mound in 2010 and things have been about the same to start this season.

FRI – FR #31 Austin Voth (RHP – 1-1, 3.95 ERA, 3 apps, 2 GS, 13.2 IP, 16 H, 3 BB, 12 K, 1 HR, .308 BA, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 0-1 SB) allowed 3 R in 2 IP in his only relief appearance before being inserted into the rotation two weeks ago, taking over for JC transfer #17 Michael Garber, who allowed 11 R in 5.2 IP in two starts in the first two weekends. Voth has been solid in both of his starts when he got the win against BYU (6 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K) and in a loss against Dallas Baptist (5.2 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 0 BB, 2 K).

SAT – Soph #14 Aaron West (RHP – 0-2, 7.23 ERA, 4 GS, 18.2 IP, 26 H, 6 BB, 14 K, 2 HR, .351 BA, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 2-3 SB) made four appearances last season (3 starts) before being shut down with an injury and taking a medical redshirt. He had a bad first outing against Air Force (6 R allowed in 2 IP) and pitched better against Bakersfield (4.2 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and BYU (6 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K) before struggling against Dallas Baptist (6 IP, 5 R, 7 H, 3 BB, 2 K).

SUN – SR #24 Jacob Clem (RHP – 1-2, 2.45 ERA, 5 GS, 29.1 IP, 23 H, 8 BB, 21 K, 0 HR, .204 BA, 5 HBP, 2 WP, 2-3 SB. 2010 – 4-4, 3.70 ERA, 30 apps, 6 saves, 0 GS, 66 IP, 52 H, 19 BB, 49 K, 4 HR, .222 BA, 13 HBP, 2 WP, 3-5 SB) threw well out of the bullpen last year when he led the team in saves and had a 3.14 ERA with four saves in sixteen appearances conf games. He allowed batters to only hit .222 against him in 2010, which was 2nd in the Pac 10 last season. Clem has been throwing well in a SP role this year, including a two hit shutout in his most recent start against Dallas Baptist. He allowed 2 R and 4 H in 6.2 IP in a no decision in his previous start against BYU. Clem allowed a run on two hits in one IP last season against Fullerton.

Relievers

Washington got some decent work out of their relievers last year despite having a high team ERA and were 3rd in the Pac 10 with 16 saves even though they were only .500 overall. The bullpen hasn’t been as good this year with Clem in the rotation and some of the returning pitchers struggling and the newcomers working on getting experience.

FR #34 Jeff Brigham (RHP – 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 7 apps, 1 save, 10 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 12 K, .265 BA, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 2 WP) has been the best reliever and taken over the closer role. He is the hardest thrower in the bullpen but has struggled at times

Soph #42 Adam Cimber (RHP – 0-0, 1.93 ERA, 4 apps, 4.2 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 K, .364 BA, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 WP) was pretty effective out of the pen last season, leading the team in apperances, and ended up being a part-time SP (5-2, 4.97 ERA, 31 apps, 6 saves, 4 GS, 67 IP, 87 H, 21 BB, 37 K, .322 BA, 10 HR, 10 HBP, 2 WP). He threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings against Fullerton last season, allowing only one hit.

SR #13 Geoff Brown (LHP – 0-2, 15.43 ERA, 7 apps, 1 save, 4.2 IP, 13 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, .565 BA, 0 HBP, 0 WP) was a SP most of the time last season (1-6, 5.79 ERA, 20 apps, 11 GS, 65 IP, 86 H, 28 BB, 38 K, .321 BA, 11 HR, 6 HBP, 3 WP). He started the Sunday game against Fullerton last year, allowing 5 R (1 ER) on 9 H in 5 1/3 IP.

SR #20 Ben Guidos (LHP – 0-0, 6.35 ERA, 5 apps, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, .294 BA, 1 HBP, 1 WP) pitched mostly out of the bullpen but was also a part-time SP last season (2-4, 5.77 ERA, 19 apps, 1 save, 6 GS, 53 IP, 66 H, 22 BB, 31 K, 2 HR, .325 BA, 4 HBP, 2 WP). He allowed 2 R on 3 H in 2/3 IP against Fullerton last season.

FR #16 Tyler Kane (RHP – 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 5 apps, 6.2 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 8 K, .375 BA, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 WP)

Outlook

Fullerton dominated the series in Seattle last season when the Titans swept Washington and outscored the Huskies 34-13. The Washington pitchers struggled to get Fullerton out all weekend and only one of the games was competitive.

If Fullerton is going to get back to playing well they are going to have to get back to being comfortable on the mound, in the field and at the plate. The Titans were pressing in all four games and the results showed on the scoreboard. Fullerton battled in three of the games but made way too many mistakes to beat good teams like LSU and Texas A&M.

Fullerton goes into the series with Washington as the better team despite the results of last weekend but that won’t mean much if the Titans don’t turn things around in all areas. If Fullerton plays like they did during their six-game winning streak the Titans should be able to win at least two games, if not all three of them. If Fullerton continues to make mistakes and have trouble scoring runs the Huskies have enough talent to give the Titans a battle in this series.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Diamond Club Newsletter (March 13, 2011)

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




Wednesday, March 9, 2011

LSU Preview

Titans at LSU (Friday 5 p.m., Saturday noon, Sunday 11 a.m. PT)

Preview by FullertonBaseballFan

Cal State Fullerton started off a bit sluggishly by going 2-2 opening weekend and losing the opening game at TCU. Since that 4-1 loss in the Friday game against the Horned Frogs, the Titans have won six straight game behind some timely hitting and some outstanding pitching. Fullerton won all four games last week with a midweek win against LMU and a sweep last weekend of USC.

Jake Floethe went seven innings and allowed one run to lead Fullerton to a 5-1 win last Tuesday. The Titans offense was led by Richie Pedroza, who had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run, and Anthony Trajano, who also scored a run and drove in a run.

Noe Ramirez set the tone for last weekend’s series with USC by allowing one run on only one hit in eight innings as Fullerton won in a 10-1 rout. The combined one-hitter was first one for the Titans since 2007. Trajano had two hits and four RBI, Carlos Lopez had three hits and two RBI and Austin Kingsolver scored three runs and drove in two.

USC gave Fullerton more of a challenge on Saturday and had a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the 5th before the Titans put together a four run rally on their way to a 7-3 win. Tyler Pill had another solid start by allowing three runs (one ER) on three hits in seven innings before Dylan Floro finished off the night with two scoreless innings. Pedroza had three hits and two runs, Trajano had two runs, two hits and two RBI, Nick Ramirez had two hits and two RBI and Walker Moore had two hits and two RBI.

Sunday’s game was a pitcher’s duel as Colin O’Connell and Logan Odom were both outstanding and the teams combined for only seven hits in the game. Odom allowed only two runs (one ER) in 7 2/3 innings but O’Connell was even better and allowed only one unearned run in eight innings before Nick Ramirez came in to finish off the game for his third save with three strikeouts in the 9th inning. Trajano hit a triple and scored the eventual game winning run to wrap up a 6-11 week and win Big West Player of the Week and National Player of the Week honors.

Next up for Fullerton is another trip to the southern part of the country, this one to the Bayou for a series with the LSU Tigers. LSU didn’t have a season that lived up to their expectations last year after winning the national title in 2009 and they are looking to get back to the level of contending for a spot in the College World Series and a trip to Omaha.

LSU Tigers
  • Overall Record – 41-22 in 2010; 12-1 in 2011
  • Conference Record – 14-16 (8th)
  • Postseason – SEC Tournament Champions; 1-2 at UCLA Regional (W – UC Irvine, L – UCLA, L – UC Irvine)
  • 2010 RPI/ISR – 22/27. 2011 – 32 RPI
  • Current ranking – 7th by Collegiate Baseball, 8th by USA Today/Coaches Poll, 10th by NCBWA, 16th by Baseball America
  • Predicted conference finish – 1st in the SEC West by the SEC coaches and Baseball America
2010 Summary and 2011 Preview

When you mention college baseball to somebody, one of the first schools that will come to mind is USC, last week’s opponent for Fullerton. One of the other schools on that short list of teams that people think of is the LSU Tigers. USC leads the country with twelve national titles and LSU (along with Texas) is next on that list with six. Unlike USC, who has only won one of those titles in the last thirty years, LSU has won six national titles in the last twenty years and the Tigers were the national champions once again in 2009.

LSU started out the defense of their national title by winning 32 of their first 38 games before going into a terrible slump in which they lost 13 of their next 15 games. The main reason for the Tigers slump was a pitching staff that had lots of injuries and ineffective performances and had a 6.72 ERA in SEC games. LSU rebounded to win their last series of the season against SEC West cellar dweller Mississippi State and they entered the SEC Tournament as the #8 seed, where they proceeded to get red hot and win all four games to win the championship and the SEC’s automatic bid. The Tigers were sent on the road for a regional for the first time since 1989 and were the #2 seed at UCLA, where they won their first game 11-10 in extra innings against UC Irvine before dropping their next two games to UCLA (3-6) and Irvine (3-4) to be eliminated.

LSU brings a relatively young and inexperienced team into the 2011 season after losing most of their pitching staff and several key contributors from last season and their 2009 championship team. The Tigers brought in lots of talent with one the highest rated recruiting classes in the country that was ranked 1st by Collegiate Baseball and 2nd by Baseball America. With so many newcomers, LSU wanted to ease their team into their schedule by playing their first sixteen games at home. The Tigers swept Wake Forest and Holy Cross in their first two weekends and picked up three midweek wins the first two weeks before playing Princeton last weekend, whom LSU won the first two games against before losing 8-7 last Sunday.

LSU’s offense has been humming along and averaging ten runs per game against the often overmatched pitching staffs that they have seen. The Tigers have hit 14 HR’s despite using the new BBCOR bats and have a .520 SLG % but they aren’t just swinging for the fences and they have 22 SB’s and 16 SAC’s, which nearly matches their total of 20 SAC bunts in 2010. Nine of the thirteen pitchers that have seen action for LSU are newcomers and the difference has been night and day on the mound with the Tigers bringing a 2.83 ERA into the series and are only allowing teams to hit .195 against them.

Offense

  • Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 127 (increases offense by 27%). The power alleys at Alex Box Stadium are 365 feet from home plate, where most HR’s are hit, are 20 feet shorter than at Goodwin Field.
  • Batting Average – .321 (2nd in the SEC, 64th in the NCAA). .326 in 2011 (1st in the SEC).
  • Runs Per Game – 8.0 (2/55). 10.1 in 2011 (1st).
  • Home Runs – 77 (7/40). 14 in 2011 (1st).
  • Stolen Bases – 75 (4/94). 22 in 2011 (3rd).
  • Slugging Percentage – .502 (2/51). .520 in 2011 (2nd).
  • Walks – 294 (3/16), 4.8 per game. 55 in 2011, 4.6 per game (5th).
  • HBP’s – 59 (8/129). 13 in 2011, 1.1 per game (7th).
  • Sac Bunts – 20 (11/234). 16 in 2011, 1.25 per game (2nd).
Lineup

LSU lost much of the power from their lineup from 2010, losing three of their top four HR hitters who also were also their three leaders in RBI. The Tigers lost a three year starter at C along with their 1B, RF and DH. LSU returns their starting middle infield and the rest of their outfield.

C – FR #26 Ty Ross (RH – .167/.300/.167, 0-5-0 in 24 AB’s) and JC Transfer Jordy Snikeris (RH – .267/.353/.267, 0-1-0 in 15 AB’s) have been splitting time behind the plate, with Ross making eight starts and Snikeris making four starts. They have the unenviable task of replacing Micah Gibbs, who started for three years behind the plate and led the team in AVG (.392), was 2nd in RBI and was 1st team All SEC. Ross was highly thought of coming out of HS but has struggled at the plate and Snikeris has been getting more playing time lately. Either one of them will be hitting 8th.

1B – Soph #13 Alex Edward (RH – .364/.463/.424, 0-11-0. ’10 – .316/.389/.442, 2-14-0 in 95 AB’s) was a part-time player at 3B and LF last year and is taking over for Blake Dean, who was a four year starter and led the team in RBI and was 2nd in HR. Edward has been doing a good job of making contact with only one strikeout in 33 AB’s after striking out almost 1/4 of the time in 2010. Edward will hit 7th.

2B – FR #23 JaCoby Jones (RH – .447/.475/.711, 3-13-4) is a very good athlete who was rated the third best prospect in MS for the 2010 draft and would have been picked in the first 5-6 rounds if he didn’t have a strong commitment to going to LSU. He was projected to be the starter at 3B after fall ball but was switched to the middle infield in Jan. Jones has been a sparkplug for the lineup and leads the team in AVG and is second in OBP, SLG and OPS. He will be hit 9th.

SS – JR #36 Austin Nola (RH – .333/.426/.611, 1-13-0. ’10 – .325/.390/.460, 5-51-1) is a three year starter, the glue who holds things together for the infield and was 2nd team All SEC in 2010. Nola doesn’t run much with only one SB in the last two seasons but he already has five doubles and a triple early in the season and has been showing more pop in his bat than he did last year. He will be hit 5th.

3B – JR #11 Tyler Hanover (RH – .297/.447/.378, 0-5-2. ’10 – .333/.407/.433, 2-34-5) was the starting 2B the past two years but shifted over to 3B in Jan when Jones was moved over to 2B. He doesn’t have much power for a #3 hitter, where he has hit in every game, but makes good contact (striking out about 10% of the time the last two years) and does a good job of drawing walks. Hanover is one of the few players who will bunt and led the team with four SAC’s last year and already have five SAC’s this season.

LF – JR #3 Trey Watkins (RH .250/.388/.475, 2-11-5. '10 – .277/.434/.437, 2-15-14) only made 31 starts last season due to an elbow injury and didn’t hit nearly as well after returning (.204 in SEC games) and has gotten off to a slow start. He has very good speed and was one of three Tigers in double digits in SB’s in 2010. Watkins is a good bunter and has four SAC’s. He will hit in the leadoff spot.

CF – JR #8 Mikey Mahtook (RH – .342/.500/.895, 6-14-7. '10 – .333/.435/.632, 14-50-22) is one of the best outfielders in the country, is a pre-season All-American and is projected to be picked in the first two rounds of the draft. Mahtook is a three year starter and was one of the catalysts in the national championship run in 2009. He finished in the top ten in the SEC in R, 2B, 3B, TB, SLG and SB in 2010 and played on Team USA during the summer. Mahtook takes a big swing at the plate and had 51 K’s in 2010. He has gotten off to a blazing hot start with six HR’s and 7 SB’s and will hit cleanup.

RF – Soph #5 Mason Katz (RH – .395/.447/.651, 1-15-2. '10 – .325 in 40 AB’s) didn’t play much last season but has made the most of his opportunity and is 2nd on the team in AVG, RBI and 2B’s with six and 3rd in SLG. He will hit 5th.

DH – JC transfer #4 Raph Rhymes (RH – .388/.415/.592, 1-16-2) was the national JC player of the year in 2010. Matt Gaudet was 2nd team All SEC at DH in 2010 and led the team with 19 HR’s but Rhymes has moved right into the lineup and leads the team in RBI and 2B’s (seven) and is second in total bases.

Reserves – LSU has ten players who have between two and ten AB’s on the season, with three LH bats if they want to bring in somebody to pinch-hit with an all RH lineup, including JR #14 Mike Lowery who is 5-6 this season.

Defense

Fielding % - .974 (4/18) – 60 errors. 2011 – .956 with 19 errors. LSU had a very good middle infield with Nola and Hanover before shifting Jones to 2B and Hanover to 3B, who has had some struggles and made three errors. Very good speed in the OF with Watkins, Hanover and Katz.

Stolen Base Attempts – 59-75. 2011 – 11-13. LSU has struggled to stop the running game with new catchers replacing Gibbs so this will be an area that Fullerton looks to exploit.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 38. 2011 – 9. The new catchers have been decent at blocking pitches.

Pitching
  • ERA – 5.57 (8/107). 2.83 in 2011 (5th in SEC).
  • BA – .282 (7/xx). .195 in 2011 (1st).
  • HR – 75 (6/xx). 7 HR in 2011 (11th).
  • H’s/9 IP – 9.9 (xx/65). 6.4 in 2011 (1st).
  • BB’s/9 IP – 3.6 (7/91). 3.2 in 2011 (7th).
  • K’s/9 IP – 7.5 (7/66). 8.5 in 2011 (3rd).
Starters

LSU lost most of their pitching staff from last season due to the draft (Anthony Renaudo was a supplemental 1st round draft pick), graduation, injuries and transfers and that has allowed their large recruiting class to step right into prominent roles.

FRI/SAT – FR #12 Kevin Gausman (RHP – 2-0, 2.55 ERA, 3 GS, 17.2 IP, 13 H, 4 BB, 22 K, 2 HR, .206 BA, 0 HBP, 0 WP, 2-2 SB) could be nicknamed “Gas Man” because he throws gas with a fastball that sits in the mid to upper 90’s along with a changeup, curve and slider. He was projected to be picked in the first two rounds of the draft but had a strong commitment to going to LSU and he was still drafted in the 6th round despite his strong desire to go to college because of his upside. Gausman allowed 2 R on 6 H in 5 2/3 IP with 6 K’s and received a no decision against Wake Forest before winning his next two starts against Sacred Heart (6 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 7 K) and Princeton (6 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K).

FRI/SAT – FR #39 Kurt McCune (RHP – 3-0, 1.47 ERA, 3 GS, 18.1 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 13 K, 1 HR, .123 BA, 3 HBP, 0 WP, 3-3 SB) pitches from a 3/4 arm slot with a low 90’s fastball and slider as his two best pitches. He was the second best HS pitching prospect from Louisiana in last year’s draft but ended up not being drafted due to his commitment to going to LSU. McCune has picked up wins in each of his three starts against Wake Forest (6 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 7 K), Sacred Heart (6 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 3 K) and Princeton (6 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 K).

SUN – SR #47 Ben Aslup (RHP – 2-1, 2.30 ERA, 3 GS, 15.2 IP, 12 H, 9 BB, 12 K, 0 HR, .211 BA, 2 HBP, 1 WP, 3-4 SB. 2010 – 5-1, 3.88 ERA, 18 apps, 3 GS, 49 IP, 49 H, 16 BB, 33 K, 3 HR, .271 BA, 3 HBP, 4 WP, 0-0 SB) was a middle reliever for his first few seasons (6.14 in 15 apps and 29 IP in 2009) before becoming one of the better pitchers on the staff after injuries and ineffectiveness took most of the other pitchers out of the equation. Aslup responded once he got his chance to move into the rotation at the end of the year and pitched a one-hitter against Mississippi in the SEC Tournament before suffering his first loss of the season when he allowed 3 R on 4 H in 4 2/3 IP to Irvine in the final game of the season. Aslup doesn’t throw hard and is a ground ball pitcher who has to have good control and keep the ball down to be effective.

Relievers

LSU returns one of the most decorated closers in the history of their program and a couple of middle relievers but the rest of the bullpen is filled with newcomers looking for innings. Most of them have good fastballs in the low 90’s.

JR #22 Matty Ott (RHP – 2-4, 6.38 ERA, 28 apps, 11 saves, 42 IP, 40 H, 21 BB, 40 K, 7 HR, .247 BA, 4 HBP, 1 WP, 2-2 SB. ’09 – 4-2, 2.68 ERA, 37 apps, 16 saves, 50 IP, 46 H, 6 BB, 69 K, 7 HR, .237 BA, 5 HBP, 1 WP, 1-1 SB) is tied for the school record with 29 saves after picking up two saves this season (5 apps, 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 7 K). He was a 2nd team All-American and 1st team All SEC as a FR when he would come in and shut things down at the end of the game for the national champions. Ott wasn’t nearly as sharp last season as he lost command of his pitches and they started to flatten out. He had a good summer, regained his confidence and he has been throwing well this season.

JC transfer #30 Tyler Jones (RHP – 3-0, 2.84 ERA, 4 apps, 3 GS, 19 IP, 13 H, 8 BB, 14 K, 2 HR, .227 BA, 2 HBP, 2 WP, 0-0 SB) is the midweek SP and went 7 innings on Wednesday.

FR #37 Ryan Eades (RHP – 1-0, 5.40 ERA, 3 apps, 5 IP, 5 H, 7 BB, 6 K) is the hardest thrower in the bullpen with a fastball that sits in the 93-95 range but he has had major control issues.

Soph #58 Chris Cotton (LHP – 0.00 ERA, 5 apps, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 8 K) is the only LHP in the bullpen.

Soph transfer #33 Kevin Berry (RHP – 0.00 ERA, 7 apps, 1 save, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 4 K).

JC transfer #17 Jimmy Dykstra (RHP – 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 4 apps, 8 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 8 K).

FR #9 Samuel Peterson (RHP – 0.00 ERA, 4 apps, 2 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K).

FR #38 Nick Rumbelow (RHP – 5.79 ERA, 3 apps, 4 2/3 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 5 K).

FR #21 Joe Broussard (RHP – 6.75 ERA, 2 apps, 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 2 K).

SR #24 Daniel Bradshaw (RHP – 10.38 ERA, 3 apps, 1 start, 4 1/3 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 3 K) is the only other experience pitcher on the staff (5-1, 5.01 ERA, 20 apps, 5 GS, 47 IP, 59 H, 12 BB, 29 K, 9 HR, .310 BA in 2010).

Outlook

Unlike when Fullerton went on the road to TCU two weeks ago, the Titans are going into the series with LSU playing well in most facets of the game. The Fullerton pitching has been outstanding, the team has made only one error during the six game winning streak and the hitters have come through with clutch hits in key situations.

LSU has been playing solid all-around baseball but the competition level has been below average. The Tigers are going to have to step their game up several notches.

Fullerton is going to have to keep this series from turning into Home Run Derby because that is definitely not to the Titans advantage. How the Fullerton pitching staff keeps LSU from banging the ball around the yard is one of the key things to watch for this weekend.

The other thing to watch this weekend is how LSU handles the pressure that Fullerton puts on teams. The Tigers have struggled with holding down teams from stealing bases. If the Titans are able to get runners on and moving around the bases, they are going to have a good chance to put some numbers up on the board.

These are two pretty evenly matched teams and LSU has one of the best home field advantages in college baseball. If Fullerton is able to dictate the tempo of the game like they were able to do at TCU two weeks ago, the Titans have a solid shot of winning the series. If LSU gets up on the Titans early and the crowd starts rocking and rolling, this will be a series that the Tigers have a good chance to win.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Diamond Club Newsletter (March 6, 2011)

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




Thursday, March 3, 2011

USC Preview

Titans vs. USC (Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 6 p.m. Goodwin Field; Sunday 1 p.m. Dedeaux Field)

Preview by FullertonBaseballFan

Cal State Fullerton got off to a bit of a slow start on opening weekend after splitting four games against Long Beach (2-1) and North Carolina (0-1) and struggling to score runs, averaging 3.5 runs per game. Things didn’t look promising for the Titans as they headed into their first road trip of the season at TCU with the Horned Frogs ranked in the top five in the country in every major poll and ranking.

The series got off to a tough start last Friday as Kyle Winkler shut down Fullerton for the second year in a row and TCU won the opening game 4-1. Noe Ramirez had a solid start in allowing two runs in six innings but he was outdueled by Winkler, who allowed only one unearned run in 7 1/3 innings. Richy Pedroza’s play was one of the few highlights for the offense with three hits.

Fullerton was looking for somebody to help pick them up in the second game and has often been the case in the opening two weeks of the season, that person was one of the starting pitchers. Tyler Pill had an outstanding start in holding TCU scoreless into the 7th inning and leaving with a 3-0 lead and two runners on base. The Horned Frogs scratched for three runs in the 7th and 8th innings to tie the game before the Titans rallied to score five runs against TCU’s closer in the 9th inning to win 8-4 with Nick Ramirez’s three run double breaking the game open. Four hitters each had two hits and seven of them either scored a run and/or drove in a run.

TCU All-American Matt Purke was unavailable to pitch on Sunday but the game was still a pitcher’s duel with Andrew Mitchell and Trent Appleby combining to hold the Titans scoreless for seven innings and Colin O’Connell allowing only one run in seven innings. Pedroza singled (his sixth hit of the series on his way to winning Big West Player of the Week honors) and Nick Ramirez drove him in with a double to tie the game in the 8th inning. Anthony Hutting doubled to lead off the 9th inning and Michael Lorenzen singled to drive him in with the go ahead run. Dylan Floro threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings to get the win and Nick Ramirez struck out the final two hitters for the save.

Fullerton returned home on Tuesday for a midweek game with LMU, who was 7-1 going into the game. Jake Floethe gave the Titans the eighth straight solid outing by a starting pitcher and allowed one run in seven innings to lead Fullerton to a 5-1 win. The Titans offense was once again led by Pedroza, who had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run.

Next up for Fullerton is a series with the USC Trojans, with the first two games at Goodwin Field before the teams go up to USC for the final game of the series on Sunday. The Trojans have been struggling for most of the last decade but have hopes for improvement this season with a new coach and an experienced team that is looking to put the program back on the map.

USC Trojans

  • Overall Record – 28-32; 3-5 in 2011
  • Conference Record – 7-20 (10th)
  • Postseason – None
  • RPI/ISR – 61/41
  • Pre-season ranking – None
  • Predicted conference finish – 9th by the Pac 10 coaches and Baseball America
2010 Summary and 2011 Preview

When you mention college baseball to somebody, one of the first schools that will come to mind is USC and with good reason. The Trojans have won 12 national titles, which is as many as the next two schools combined (LSU and Texas share second place with six national titles each). But, much of the history that USC has in baseball is not too recent because they have not qualified for a regional for five straight years and seven of the last eight seasons.

Longtime coach Mike Gillespie left the program after the 2006 season (it has been often speculated that he was forced out by then A.D. Mike Garrett) and was replaced by his son-in-law Chad Kreuter, whose only previous college coaching experience after a lengthy career in the majors was one year as an assistant to Gillespie.

The next four years under Kreuter can only be described as a disaster as none of his teams finished over .500, one finished in 9th place in the Pac-10 and two finished in last. One of the first things that new A.D. Pat Haden did after taking over last summer was to replace Kreuter on an interim basis for the 2011 season with assistant coach Frank Cruz, who has 20 years of college coaching experience, including 12 years as the head coach at Loyola Marymount.

USC has been playing like a team that is being coached better and got off to a 3-1 start, winning games against Missouri (9-3) and Cal Poly (5-2, 5 innings) before losing 11-7 to North Carolina in the tournament USC hosted and following that up with a midweek win at Riverside (6-3). USC went down to Houston to play Rice, who entered the series in the top 20 in most polls and rankings, and the Trojans were in each game but ended up being swept (7-10, 5-6 and 2-3). USC’s losing streak was extended to four games on Tuesday at Long Beach after the Dirtbags scored in the bottom of the 9th to win 5-4.

USC had one of the worst offenses in the Pac 10 last season but they have an experienced lineup and have improved despite hitting with the BBCOR bats. The Trojans scored at least five runs in each of their first six games before being held to six runs in the last two games. USC has been working counts and seeing lots of pitches, averaging nearly five walks per game, but they have also been taking lots of called third strikes and had issues making contact and they have been averaging almost nine strikeouts per game. The Trojans also have an experienced pitching staff but the results have been inconsistent, with a mixture of good and bad outings. USC has a 5.32 ERA and have already used twelve pitchers.

Offense

  • Park Factor according to Boyd’s World – 95 (decreases offense by 5%).
  • Batting Average – .286 (7th in the Pac 10, 212 in the NCAA). .291 in 2011.
  • Runs Per Game – 5.4 (8/253). 5.6 in 2011.
  • Home Runs – 51 (3/94). 2 in 2011.
  • Stolen Bases – 34 (10/272). 6 in 2011.
  • Slugging Percentage – .434 (5/169). .391 in 2011.
  • Walks – 263 (4/100), 4.7 per game. 36 in 2011, 4.5 per game.
  • HBP’s – 34 (10/239). 12 in 2011, 1.5 per game.
  • Sac Bunts – 42 (5/47). 9 in 2011, just over 1 per game.
Lineup

USC returns their catcher and most of their infielders so they have a good deal of experience, although several of them have changed positions. The Trojans CF graduated but they return the rest of their OF’s.

C – JR #10 Kevin Roundtree (LH – .288/.341/.359, 1-22-3. ’09 – .214 in 28 AB’s) didn’t play much the first couple of weeks last year after being a reserve in 2009 but once he got his chance to play he almost never came out of the lineup. He does a very good job of making contact and only had 12 K’s in over 150 AB’s in 2010. Roundtree usually hit in the lower part of the lineup but this year has been hit second most of the time and has gotten off to a very good start at 7-15 with 6 BB/HBP. He was hit in the helmet last Friday in his first AB and didn’t play behind the plate all weekend but pinch-hit on Sunday and started on Tuesday at Long Beach. Roundtree is a solid prospect and figures to go in the 10th -15th round range in the draft.

FR #20 Jake Hernandez (RH) has been behind the plate for four of USC’s eight games and has gotten off to a solid start at 4-16. He was one of the better HS catching prospects in the area last year and was drafted in the 22nd round after sliding quite a bit down the draft board due to his strong commitment to go to college.

1B/DH – JR #7 Matt Foat (RH – .275/.362/.423, 5-33-0) transferred in last year from a JC and hit in the middle of the lineup from day one and was second on the team in RBI and third in HR. He had issues with making contact and struck out almost 25% of the time. Foat was the LF last season but has been primarily at 1B this year. He has gotten off to a cold start at 5-24 with 0 RBI and 9 K’s. Foat has started four times at 1B and three times at DH. The other options are two players who didn’t see much time last season, JR #14 Brandon Garcia (LH – .182 in 22 AB's) and JR #6 Mike Greco (RH – .154 in 13 AB's). Garcia has been hot with a 7-16 start with 3 RBI and Greco is 2-9 with 2 RBI.

2B – SR #4 Joe DePinto (RH – .291/.355/.393, 2-19-4. ’09 – .277/.369/.387, 3-22-11) is one of the better all-around players on the team and one of the team leaders as a three year starter. He shifted between playing 2B and SS last year but is only playing 2B this season. DePinto usually hit in one of the top two spots in the lineup last year and led the team in runs but he has often been hitting cleanup this season. He has gotten off to a very hot start at 14-28 with 9 RBI and 7 R.

SS – FR #15 James Roberts (RH) has been in the lineup in every game and is a good athlete who will likely be a three year starter at SS. He got off to a slow 2-13 start in his first four games before having a good series at Rice when he went 4-10. Roberts has usually hit either 8th or 9th.

3B – JR #33 Ricky Oropesa (LH – .336/.413/.655, 16-60-7. ’09 – .314/.385/.578, 13-48-3) has been the best player on the team during his first two years on campus, was 1st team All-Pac 10 in 2010 and is a pre-season 2nd team All-American. He led the team in just about every major hitting category and was in the top 100 in the country in HR, RBI, SLG and total bases. The one area that Oropesa could use a little work on is making more contact because he struck out almost 25% of the time last year and is striking out at the same rate this season. Oropesa has gotten off to a bit of a slow start for him at 9-32 with 0 HR and 5 RBI. Oropesa played 1B almost exclusively in 2010 until he played at 3B the last 6 games of the season but has been splitting time between both positions. He will be hitting third.

Utility – Soph #2 Adam Landecker (RH – .258/.346/.358, 1-11-0) started at least ten games at 2B, SS and 3B last season and is the backup at all of those spots this year. He has been in the lineup at 3B three times when Oropesa has been at 1B. Landecker hit second the last two games of the Rice series with Roundtree out of the lineup and is off to a slow start at 2-15.

LF – Soph #24 Alex Glenn (LH – .180 in 50 AB’s) was a reserve last season and has worked his way into the lineup due to having solid speed to cover ground in the OF. He is 3-14 with 8 K’s and has started six times, usually hitting in the bottom part of the lineup.

CF – SR #8 Matt Hart (RH – .258/.315/.356, 0-11-3) came in as a JC transfer last season and started almost every game at 3B before getting hurt and missing most of the last month of the season. He usually hit in the lower part of the lineup but this year he has been the leadoff hitter. Hart has gotten off to a slow start at 3-18 but he does lead the team with seven walks.

RF – JR #40 Alex Sherrod (LH – .315/.380/.492, 6-28-2. '09 – .296/.377/.357, 0-11-1) is one of the better athletes on the team. He was a productive player last season when he was second on the team in HR and SLG and third in AVG and RBI. Sherrod has gotten off to a very good start this year with 7 RBI and USC’s only two HR’s while hitting .367 (11-30) and scoring seven runs but he does have 8 K’s. He started the first three games in CF but has settled into being the RF.

OF – FR #11 Omar Cotto Lozada (Both) and #25 Garret Houts (RH – .303 in 63 AB’s) have combined for three starts in the OF. Cotto Lozada has outstanding speed and was one of the fastest players in HS last year when he was drafted in the 12th round.

Defense

Fielding % - .962 (9/142) – 84 errors. The defense has been better this year with six errors in eight games and a .978 FLD %. USC had only made four errors in the first seven games before making two key errors at Long Beach that factored into the loss. De Pinto is solid at 2B. Roberts is a good athlete at SS. Oropesa is solid at 1B but has struggled at 3B in the past. Landecker is solid at 3B. Good athletes in OF and Hart and Sherrod have good arms in CF and RF.

Stolen Base Attempts – 59-93. Roundtree did a good job once he got in the lineup and runners were 43-65 against him and are 1-3 against him. Hernandez isn’t as far along defensively and runners are 4-5 on SB attempts.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 46. Roundtree does a good job of blocking pitches and only allowed 2 PB’s in 45 starts.

Pitching

  • ERA – 5.25 (9/77). 5.32 in 2011.
  • BA – .301 (9/xx). .288 in 2011.
  • HR – 32 (3/xx). 4 HR in 2011.
  • H’s/9 IP – 10.9 (xx/143). 10.1 in 2011.
  • BB’s/9 IP – 3.9 (9/140). 4.3 in 2011.
  • K’s/9 IP – 7.1 (6/107). 7.3 in 2011.
Starters

USC returns two of their three SP’s from last season and has brought in a JC transfer who was drafted in the first five rounds last year.

FRI – JR #31 Andrew Triggs (RHP – 2-7, 3.95 ERA, 11 GS, 71 IP, 71 H, 21 BB, 62 K, 3 HR, .257 BA, 8 HBP, 3 WP, 11-16 SB. ’09 – 5-3, 3.96 ERA, 15 apps, 10 starts, 75 IP, 79 H, 20 BB, 40 K, 2 HR, .276 BA, 6 HBP, 2 WP, 5-11 SB) had a solid season in 2010 despite a poor W/L record due to not having much support and facing the other team’s ace every Friday before missing the last month of the season. Triggs ERA was under four in both conf games and overall. He is a big guy with a good fastball that sits in the 92 range and gets up to 94 along with a solid changeup, curve and slider. Triggs was drafted in the 24th round as a redshirt soph but projects to go in the 5th-8th rounds in June. He has not gotten out of the fifth inning in either of his starts, going 4 2/3 IP against Missouri and allowing 3 R (1 ER) on 5 H with 1 BB and 3 K and throwing four scoreless innings at Rice before allowing 6 R in the 5th inning (4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 1 K).

SAT – JC Transfer #12 Austin Wood (RHP) is a big guy and one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the country with a fastball that sits in the mid 90’s and often hits the upper 90’s. His other pitches are a slider and a changeup. Wood started out as a FR at Florida State before transferring to a JC in Florida last year. He was drafted in the fourth round but decided to go to USC and it looks like a good decision because he threw well in the Cape Cod League last summer and his draft stock is rising and he will be drafted in the first two rounds in June. Part of the reason why Wood has pitched for three schools in three years has been his struggles with his command and control so that is something to keep an eye on. Wood threw a rain abbreviated complete game in a win against Cal Poly in his first start (5 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K) and had a solid outing at Rice when he received a no decision (6 2/3 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 K).

SUN – SR #43 Logan Odom (RHP – 1-0, 7.43 ERA, 22 apps, 4 GS, 40 IP, 55 H, 21 BB, 24 K, 2 HR, .331 BA, 9 HBP, 2 WP, 7-11 SB) is another big guy who came in as a JC transfer last year and pitched primarily out of the bullpen as a middle reliever and a midweek SP. He threw well in fall ball and won the Sunday SP job. He struggled against North Carolina when he allowed 6 R on 7 H and 3 BB in 4 IP but threw well at Rice when he allowed 3 R on 4 H and 3 BB in 6 2/3 IP. Odom had trouble with his pitches straightening out in 2010 and batters hit .331 against him but in two starts has cut that number to .256.

Relievers

USC has most of their relievers back from last season and has added several FR to the mix but things have been in flux and the relievers have been inconsistent. USC has used eight relievers so they will do make lots of situtational switches with their relievers and they have had five games where they used at least four relief pitchers.

JR #16 Chad Smith (RHP – 4-6, 4.64 ERA, 21 apps, 6 GS, 2 saves, 54 IP, 50 H, 31 BB, 58 K, 4 HR, .244 BA, 8 HBP, 3 WP, 5-7 SB. ’09 – 3-4, 3.40 ERA, 18 apps, 4 GS, 45 IP, 51 H, 16 BB, 38 K, 3 HR, .273 BA, 3 HBP, 5 WP, 5-7 SB) was one of the main options out of the bullpen last year at the end of games and is the closer. He has a good arm and is projected to be drafted in the 6th-8th rounds. Smith has allowed 2 R on 6 H and 4 BB in 5 IP in 4 apps. He took losses against North Carolina and Long Beach had a save at Riverside.

JR #45 Ben Mount (RHP – 5-5, 3.95 ERA, 15 apps, 13 GS, 87 IP, 97 H, 26 BB, 63 K, 3 HR, .287 BA, 13 HBP, 7 WP, 9-19 SB. ’09 – 5-3, 3.96 ERA, 15 apps, 10 GS, 75 IP, 79 H, 20 BB, 50 K, 2 HR, .276 BA, 6 HBP, 2 WP, 5-11 SB) is the midweek SP after being one of the weekend SP’s previously and leading the team in wins, K’s and IP in 2010. He allowed 2 R (1 ER) in 5 IP on Tuesday at Long Beach.

SR #51 Chris Mezger (RHP – 4-2, 4.56 ERA, 18 apps, 4 GS, 49 IP, 55 H, 17 BB, 40 K, 5 HR, .286 BA, 6 HBP, 7 WP, 6-12 SB) has allowed 4 R on 6 H and 2 BB in 4 1/3 IP in 4 apps and got the win against Missouri.

Brandon Garcia (RHP – 1-3, 4.41 ERA, 17 apps, 33 IP, 35 H, 23 BB, 18 K, 1 HR, .280 BA, 10 HBP, 3 WP, 4-4 SB) has allowed 5 R (4 ER) on 4 H and 4 BB in 3 IP in 5 apps and struggled in his two outings at Rice, taking one of the losses.

Soph #29 Matt Munson (RHP - DNP 2010) has allowed 3 H and 0 R in 4 IP in 5 apps.

JR #30 Chris McCaffrey (RHP - DNP 2010) has not allowed a run or a hit with one BB in 2 1/3 IP in 3 apps.

JC transfer #49 Brad Douthit (LHP) has allowed 3 R on 3 H in 2 IP in 5 apps.

FR #50 Kyle Richter (LHP) has allowed 2 R on 4 H and 4 BB in 3 2/3 IP with 6 K’s in 4 apps.

FR #27 Bobby Wheatley (LHP) has allowed one run and one hit in one IP in 2 apps.

Outlook

Fullerton went into last weekend needing to do a better job of manufacturing runs to win the series at TCU and that is exactly what they did in the late innings of the last two games and continued to do against LMU on Tuesday. If the Titans continue to do that against USC, they should be in good shape to win the series.

Fullerton goes into this series as the better team and has played at a high level the last three games. USC started out well but has scuffled the past four games. The best chance that the Trojans have to win this series is to bang the ball around and make this a higher scoring series than the Titans want. The lower scoring these games are, the more likely it is that Fullerton will win the series. USC does have talented starting pitching but they have been inconsistent.

Fullerton has gotten solid starting pitching in all eight games with the SP’s having an ERA of 1.93. The bullpen has had its ups and downs and has an ERA of 4.35. The Titans cannot allow USC to hang around and have the relievers blow leads late in games. As long as the Fullerton pitching staff keeps things under control and the offense manufactures some runs, the Titans should win this series.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Diamond Club Newsletter (February 27, 2011)

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