Monday, April 30, 2012

College Baseball BCS (May 1)

By Samuel Chi

This week's College Baseball BCS standings. Three teams are added to the standings while last week's two bottom dwellers - Wake Forest and Oklahoma - dropped out.

For the second consecutive week, Florida State is No. 1 in the standings, followed by Baylor, which earned the lone No. 1 poll ranking (in Collegiate Baseball) that didn't go to the Seminoles. The Bears are followed by four SEC teams: South Carolina, LSU, Florida and Kentucky.

Stanford is now the highest-ranked Pac-12 team, at No. 7, as UCLA dropped out of the top 10 after losing a weekend series to the Cardinal, to No. 13. Cal State Fullerton, idle last weekend, plummeted four spots to No. 15.

The conference breakdown: SEC (6), Pac-12 (6), ACC (5), Big 12 (4), Conference USA (3), WCC (2), Big Ten (1), Big East (1), Big West (1), Big South (1), Southland (1), Southern (1), WAC (1).

(Click to enlarge)

West Coast Midseason RPI Report (April 30)

By FullertonBaseballFan

(Titans' remaining opponents in orange, past opponents in blue)

Big West 
Fullerton 13 (-2) - 26-14, 9-3 (0-1 at LMU) 
Long Beach 56 (NC) - 21-20, 11-4 (1-0 at USC, 2-1 at Northridge)
Cal Poly 66 (+2) - 25-17, 9-6 (0-1 at Fresno, 3-0 vs. Pacific) 
Irvine 67 (+6) - 23-17, 8-7 (0-1 at UCLA, 3-0 vs. Riverside) 
Northridge 114 (+2) - 18-22, 5-7 (1-0 vs. Bakersfield, 1-2 vs. Long Beach)
UCSB 115 (-18 ) - 23-19, 9-6 (0-1 at St. Mary's, 2-1 vs. UC Davis)  
Riverside 147 (-16) - 14-23, 4-8 (0-1 at USD, 0-3 at Irvine)
UC Davis 199 (+3) - 16-23, 4-8 (1-0 at USF, 1-2 at UCSB)
Pacific 239 (-8 ) - 11-31, 1-11 (0-1 at Nevada, 0-3 at Cal Poly) 

Pac 11
UCLA 4 (+1) - 28-12, 12-9 (1-0 vs. Irvine, 1-2 vs. Stanford) 
Stanford 8 (+5) - 28-11, 10-8 (1-0 vs. BYU, 2-1 at UCLA)
Oregon 16 (+6) - 30-13, 14-7 (0-1 vs. Oregon State, 3-0 vs. Cal) 
Arizona 19 (NC) - 29-13, 12-6 (3-0 vs. East Tennessee State)
ASU 25 (+1) - 26-17, 11-10 - INELIGIBLE (2-1 at WSU)  
OSU 29 (-1) - 28-14, 9-9 (1-0 at Oregon, 1-2 at USC) 
Washington 49 (-7) - 23-18, 8-10 (1-0 at Portland, 2-1 at Utah)
USC 53 (-3) - 22-17, 7-10 (0-1 vs. Long Beach, 2-1 vs. OSU) 
WSU 73 (+3) - 22-18, 8-9 (1-0 at Seattle, 1-2 vs. ASU)
Cal 74 (-9) - 23-18, 7-11 (0-3 at Oregon)
Utah 195 (+2) - 12-30, 5-13 (1-0 vs. Southern Utah, 1-2 vs. Washington)

San Diego 26 (+1) - 33-11, 10-5 (1-0 vs. Riverside, 1-2 at Portland)
P'dine 28 (+1) - 24-16, 7-5 (DNP) 
Gonzaga 30 (-5) - 27-14, 7-8 (1-2 vs. LMU) 
LMU 68 (+28 ) - 21-18, 9-6 (1-0 vs. Fullerton, 2-1 at Gonzaga)
Portland 86 (+18) - 21-16, 10-8 (0-1 vs. Washington, 2-1 vs. San Diego)
St. Mary's 90 (+3) - 21-20, 5-10 (1-0 vs. UCSB, 2-1 at Santa Clara) 
USF 127 (-12) - 20-26, 8-7 (0-1 vs. UC Davis, 2-1 vs. BYU) 
BYU 128 (-15) - 18-17, 7-5 (0-1 at Stanford,1-2 at USF) 
Santa Clara 130 (-25) - 20-20, 3-12 (1-2 vs. St. Mary's) 

New Mexico State 21 (NC) - 30-13, 7-2 (at Baylor)
Nevada 64 (-3) - 24-18, 7-5 (1-0 vs. Pacific, 2-1 vs. Fresno State)
Hawaii 93 (-8 ) - 25-18, 5-4 (1-0 at Grambling, 1-2 at La. Tech)
Sac State 96 (+7) - 24-20, 7-5 (2-1 at San Jose State) 
La. Tech 124 (+9) - 20-22, 3-9 (1-0 vs. Ark-Little Rock, 2-1 vs. Hawaii)
Fresno State 134 (+2) - 18-22, 2-7 (1-0 vs. Cal Poly, 1-2 at Nevada) 
San Jose State 175 (-3) - 20-17, 5-4 (vs. Sac State)

TCU 41 (NC) - 26-15, 11-4 (0-1 vs. Texas A&M, 3-0 vs. Manhattan)
New Mexico 85 (+9) - 26-19, 12-3 (1-1 vs. Texas Tech, 3-0 vs. UNLV) 
San Diego State 164 (-25) - 20-25, 9-9 (1-2 at Air Force)
UNLV 211 (+6) - 20-24, 5-13 (0-3 at New Mexico) 
Air Force 260 (+4) - 11-30, 5-13 (1-1 vs. Northern Colorado (H/A), 2-1 vs. SDSU)

Utah Valley 77 (+23) - 30-11, 16-0 (4-0 vs. New Jersey Tech)
Bakersfield 162 (-7) - 19-20 (0-1 at Northridge, 1-1 at Nebraska)
Seattle 178 (-8 ) - 15-16 (1-0 vs. Washington State)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Titans Take on Role of Miracle Workers

By Don Hudson

The Titans hosted a baseball clinic on Thursday evening at Goodwin Field for the Miracle League of North Orange County. It was the fourteenth year of the clinic – the annual event that the league members look forward to most.

 It is a very unique event, with both hosts and guests feeling deep gratitude for how the other can lift their spirits. The league is organized by teams, who were rotated between pitching, fielding and hitting activities. Coach Rick Vanderhook, who founded the program at Cal State Fullerton many years ago, greeted the guest players with heartfelt words and hugs, and encouraged them to all have fun while playing safely.

From the smiles, laughter, enthusiasm and energy expended, the guest players clearly met the coach’s objective. And from conversations I had with various Titans players, our guys were gaining just as much as they were giving. It freshens your perspective on just how great it is to be able to do something as simple as playing catch on the outfield grass at beautiful Goodwin Field.

To see many pictures from the event, click here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Titans Work Extra to Tame Mustangs

By Don Hudson

The Cal State Fullerton Titans (26-13, 9-3) were able to win their ninth consecutive weekend series by taking two-out-of-three at home against the hard-hitting Cal Poly SLO Mustangs (22-16, 6-6).  With the series win, the Titans kept pace and remained tied for first place with the Long Beach State Dirtbags (18-19, 9-3), who also won two games in its series against UC Irvine (20-16, 5-7) despite having a no-hitter tossed against them by the ‘Eaters’ Andrew Thurman on Friday night.

With the series win and their Tuesday win over Pepperdine, the Titans moved up four spots to #8 in the Baseball America rankings.

Game 1:  “Get Him Early…..or Not at All”

Cal Poly SLO Mustangs 000  000  010   -   1   10   2
Cal State Fullerton Titans 011  004  00X   -   6     9   2

Despite being outhit, the Cal State Fullerton Titans were able to do a better job than the Cal Poly Mustangs at delivering hits with runners on base and they rode the strong pitching of Dylan Floro (6-3) to a 6-1 win in the Friday night opener.  Through the first four innings, the Mustangs had six hits and seven runners left-on-base – they had their chances against Floro but let him off the hook early.  As is his general pattern, he gives up a few early hits and if he’s relatively unscathed, he is a machine once he hits his stride.

The Mustangs had two hits and stranded two runners in both the first and second innings.  In the bottom of the second, Anthony Hutting’s bat and legs got the Titans on the board first – he singled, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and beat the throw home on a sacrifice fly by Clay Williamson.

The Mustangs threatened again in the third, the first two runners reaching base with nobody out: error (1B Carlos Lopez pulled his foot early) and single.  Floro easily retired the lead runner on an attempted sacrifice, then got the next two batters to leave two stranded runners for the third straight inning.  (After all the Titans’ travails with runners left on base earlier this season, it felt nice to see it happening to the other team for a change.)

College Baseball BCS (April 24)

By Samuel Chi

This week's College Baseball BCS standings. Two teams made it into the standings in addition to last week's 30.

Florida State replaced Florida atop the new standings. The Gators slid to No. 2, followed by Kentucky, red-hot Baylor and LSU. Rice made the biggest jump this week, going from No. 12 to No. 7, while Texas A&M had the most precipitous drop, going down 10 spots to No. 15. The Titans moved up four spots to No. 11.

The conference breakdown: SEC (6), Pac-12 (6), ACC (6), Big 12 (4), Conference USA (3), WCC (2), Big Ten (1), Big East (1), Big West (1), Southland (1), WAC (1).

Click to enlarge

West Coast Midseason RPI Report (April 23)

By FullertonBaseballFan

(Titans' remaining opponents in orange, past opponents in blue)

Big West 
Fullerton 11 (NC) - 26-13, 9-3 (1-0 vs. P'dine, 2-1 Cal Poly)
Long Beach 56 (+9) - 18-19, 9-3 (0-1 at LMU, 2-1 vs. Irvine)
Cal Poly 68 (+2) - 22-16, 6-6 (0-1 vs. Fresno, 1-2 at Fullerton) 
Irvine 73 (-4) - 20-16, 5-7 (1-0 vs. SDSU, 1-2 vs. Long Beach) 
UCSB 97 (+23) - 21-17, 7-5 (1-0 at USC, 3-0 at Pacific) 
Northridge 116 (NC) - 16-20, 4-5 (0-1 at UCLA) 
Riverside 131 (-9) - 14-19, 4-5 (2-0 vs. UNLV, 2-1 vs. UC Davis)
UC Davis 202 (-24) - 14-21, 3-6 (0-1 vs. Sac State, 1-2 vs. Riverside)
Pacific 231 (-22) - 11-27, 1-8 (0-2 vs. UCSB)
Pac 11
UCLA 5 (-2) - 26-10, 11-7 (1-0 vs. Northridge, 1-2 at OSU) 
Stanford 13 (+2) - 25-10, 8-7 (0-1 vs. San Jose, 3-0 vs. ASU)
Arizona 19 (NC) - 26-13, 12-6 (0-1 at ASU, 2-1 at Washington)
Oregon 22 (-10) - 27-12, 11-7 (1-0 vs. Ark.-Pine Bluff, 1-0 vs. Portland, 1-2 vs. WSU) 
ASU 26 (+3) - 24-16, 9-9 - INELIGIBLE (1-0 vs. Arizona, 0-3 at Stanford)  
OSU 28 (+14) - 26-12, 8-7 (1-0 at Portland, 2-1 vs. UCLA) 
Washington 42 (-3) - 20-17, 6-9 (1-0 vs. Seattle, 1-2 vs. Arizona)
USC 50 (-2) - 20-15, 5-9 (1-0 at Bakersfield, 0-1 vs. UCSB) 
Cal 65 (+1) - 23-15, 7-8 (1-0 vs. Santa Clara, 3-0 vs. Utah)
WSU 76 (+1) - 20-16, 7-7 (0-1 at Gonzaga, 2-1 at Oregon)
Utah 197 (-6) - 10-28, 5-13 (1-0 at BYU, 0-3 at Cal)
Gonzaga 25 (-11) - 26-12, 6-6 (1-0 vs. WSU, 0-3 at USF) 
San Diego 27 (-2) - 31-9, 9-3 (2-1 vs. St. Mary's)
P'dine 29 (-1) - 24-16, 7-5 (0-1 at Fullerton, 2-1 at Santa Clara) 
St. Mary's 93 (+21) - 18-19, 3-9 (1-2 at USD) 
LMU 96 (+19) - 18-17, 7-5 (1-0 vs. Long Beach, 2-1 vs. Portland)
Portland 104 (-29) - 19-14, 8-7 (0-1 vs. OSU, 0-1 vs. Oregon, 1-2 at LMU)
Santa Clara 105 (-22) - 19-18, 2-10 (0-1 at Cal, 1-2 vs. P'dine) 
BYU 113 (-27) - 17-14, 6-3 (0-1 vs. Utah) 
USF 115 (+30) - 18-24, 6-6 (0-2 at Oregon, 3-0 vs. Gonzaga) 
New Mexico State 21 (NC) - 30-11, 7-2 (0-1 at Sac State, 3-0 vs. La Tech)
Nevada 61 (+6) - 21-17, 5-4 (1-0 vs. USF, 1-2 at Sac State)
Hawaii 85 (+4) - 23-16, 4-2 (2-1 at San Jose)
Sac State 103 (+34) - 22-19, 5-4 (1-0 at UC Davis, 2-1 vs. Nevada) 
La. Tech 135 (-2) - 17-21, 1-8 (0-3 vs. NMSU)
Fresno State 136 (+14) - 16-20, 1-5 (1-0 at Cal Poly, 0-1 vs. Bakersfield) 
San Jose State 172 (+24) - 19-15, 4-2 (1-0 at Stanford, 1-2 vs. Hawaii)
TCU 41 (+2) - 23-14, 11-4 (1-0 vs. UL Monroe, 2-1 at SDSU)
New Mexico 94 (+19) - 22-18, 9-3 (2-0 at Texas Tech, 3-0 vs. Florida Gulf Coast) 
San Diego State 139 (+10) - 19-23, 8-7 (0-1 at Irvine, 1-2 vs. TCU)
UNLV 217 (-12) - 20-21, 5-10 (0-2 at Riverside, 3-0 vs. Air Force) 
Air Force 264 (-5) - 8-28, 3-12 (0-3 at UNLV)

Bakersfield 155 (-1) - 18-18 (0-1 vs. USC, 1-0 at Fresno)
Utah Valley 100 (+59) - 26-11, 12-0 (4-0 vs. UT Pan American)
Seattle 170 (-8) - 15-16 (0-1 at Washington)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Titans Ride Out Late Waves

By Don Hudson

Pepperdine Waves 010 001 040 - 6 11 3
Cal State Fullerton 000 010 43X - 8 11 1

Dude, this was one strange game.

The official time of game was 2:59 – which is pretty normal. But we were in the seventh inning by 7:30 (game started at 6 o’clock), and I was thinking I might make it home in time to catch a “Law and Order” rerun on Channel 56. That’s when things got out of control: the last two innings took nearly as long to play as the first six-and-a-half, as a 2-1 pitching duel turned into an offensive brawl and a pitching and defense meltdown, as the Titans twice overcame one-run deficits and beat the Pepperdine Waves, 8-6.

By the time we stood up for that time-honored tradition, the fans had been treated to a fast-paced, well-pitched game by Koby Gauna of the Titans and Pepperdine’s crafty lefty, Matt Maurer. To that point, they had each allowed one earned run on five hits, the difference in the game being an unearned run allowed by the Titans. After “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” we saw 11 runs, 11 hits, 3 errors, 3 blown saves, walks, hit-batsmen, wild pitches, passed balls, missed cutoff men and throws to the wrong base – the incongruence of the two juxtaposed hour-and-a-half game segments was shocking.

Pepperdine got on the board first in the second inning with an unearned run. Tony Cooper led off with a bouncer up the middle that Titans’ shortstop Matt Chapman ranged far to his left and made a nice stop, but he had to make an off-balance throw to first, which sailed into the dugout (hit and an error). He went to third on a single up the middle – didn’t dare run on Michael Lorenzen, especially with no outs – and scored on a sacrifice fly. Gauna picked a runner off first to end the inning.

Cal Poly Series Preview

Cal Poly at Titans (Goodwin Field)
Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 6 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m.

By FullertonBaseballFan

Fullerton got last week started by driving up to UCLA on Tuesday for a match-up of top twenty teams in a potential post-season preview and fell to 0-4 against Pac 11 teams on Tuesdays with a 4-2 loss.  The Titans went on the road for a weekend series for the first time since traveling down to Texas A&M five weeks ago when they traveled across Orange County to face UC Irvine.  Rain on Friday delayed the start of the series by a day and the teams split a doubleheader on Saturday with Irvine winning the first game 4-1 and the Fullerton taking the second game 13-2.  The Titans won 5-3 on Sunday to stay tied for first in the Big West standings with Long Beach at 7-2.  Fullerton won their eighth straight series this season with the series win and won their sixth straight series at Irvine since the Anteaters brought back their program in 2002.

Koby Gauna once again was the midweek starter at UCLA and the Titans faced their fourth LHP in six games with Grant Watson, their leader in wins at 6-1 going into the game, pitching for the Bruins.  UCLA got out to a 1-0 lead in the first when their first two hitters singled and a 4-6-3 DP scored the run.  The Bruins extended their lead in the fourth with three runs on only one hit on a walk, a SB, a throwing error by Matt Chapman that scored a run and a triple that scored another run knocked and Gauna out of the game.  Tyler Peitzmeier came on in relief and allowed a SF that brought home the final run of the inning.  Watson was the second straight LHP to take a no-hitter into the fifth against the Titans before Chapman singled after Ivory Thomas walked and Matt Orloff and Anthony Hutting followed with singles to score Fullerton’s first run of the game.  Chad Wallach hit a SF to score the second run of the inning and Watson escaped without further damage.  Watson allowed a hit in the sixth and three relievers held the Titans hitless over the last three innings and Fullerton only had four hits in the game.  Peitzmeier, Dimitri DeLaFuente, Dave Birosak and Willie Kuhl combined to allow only three hits in 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Titans Spoil Perfection, Then Best 'Eaters

By Don Hudson

The Cal State Fullerton Titans (23-12, 7-2) made their first road trip of the Big West Conference schedule and won a best-of-three series against their recent nemesis, the UC Irvine Anteaters (18-14, 4-5.) The Titans were nearly no-hit in the opening game of a double-header on Saturday which was necessitated by Friday’s rainout, dropping a 4-1 in the lidlifter before storming back to win the nightcap, 13-2. In the nationally televised rubber match on Sunday, the Titans won on a combined three-hitter thrown by a quartet of pitchers and highlighted by a two-run bomb by J.D. Davis.

It was the eighth consecutive weekend series win for Fullerton and left them in a tie with the Long Beach State Dirtbags atop the BWC standings. That regular season-ending final series at Blair Field could be huge – which is what Titans vs. Dirtbags should be. The Titans remained at #12 in the Baseball America rankings, consistent with their RPI, which improved five slots to #11 on the strength of four road games against UCLA and UCI.

Game 1: “We Can’t Hit Righties Either”

Cal State Fullerton 000 000 000 - 1 1 1
UCI Irvine Anteaters 000 012 10X - 4 8 1

The UCI Anteaters came into the series in desperate need of a series win – if not a sweep – to stay in contention for a BWC championship, which is likely to be their only path to an NCAA tournament bid.

After sweeping their opening conference series against the University of the Pacific Tigers, the ‘Eaters had been swept last weekend by the Cal Poly SLO Mustangs, the first time UCI had been swept after winning at least one game in 46 consecutive conference series dating back to 2006. Perhaps even more remarkably, the series-opening loss up in SLO was the first time UCI had lost a BWC series opening game since 2008 – they had won an amazing 25 consecutive opening games in BWC series openers. Just think how many outstanding pitchers they had to beat to win 25 straight series openers – truly an amazing record. (Thanks, FBF, for that stat.)

So could the Titans extend UCI’s new ‘streak’ to two straight BWC series-opening losses, facing Andrew Thurman, moved up in the rotation because of injuries to UCI’s top two weekend starters? He had pitched well in the beginning of the season, but had been lit up recently, allowing 12 runs in his prior 15-2/3 innings. Even better, he was a righty – a welcome respite from all the southpaw pitchers the Titans have struggled against lately.

You’ve got to like your chances, eh?


College Baseball BCS (April 17)

By Samuel Chi

This week's College Baseball BCS standings. The top 30 teams stayed completely intact, though we've had quite a shuffle at the top of the standings.

Florida returned to the top of the standings after defeating last week's No. 1 Florida State in a midweek game. The team that made the biggest jump is UCLA, moving up from No. 12 to No. 6. Miami took the biggest plunge, dropping from No. 7 to No. 16.

The conference breakdown: SEC (6), Pac-12 (6), ACC (5), Big 12 (3), Conference USA (3), WCC (2), Big Ten (1), Big East (1), Big West (1), Southland (1), WAC (1).

(Click to enlarge)

Monday, April 16, 2012

West Coast Midseason RPI Report (April 16)

By FullertonBaseballFan

(Titans' remaining opponents in orange, past opponents in blue)

Big West
Fullerton 11 (+5) - 23-12, 7-2 (0-1 at UCLA, 2-1 at Irvine)
Long Beach 65 (+14) - 16-17, 7-2 (1-0 at SDSU, 3-0 vs. UCSB)
Irvine 69 (-3) - 18-14, 4-5 (1-2 vs. Fullerton)
Cal Poly 70 (-28 ) - 21-13, 5-4 (0-1 at UCSB, 1-2 at Northridge)
Northridge 116 (+19) - 16-19, 4-5 (1-0 vs. Bakersfield, 2-1 vs. Cal Poly)
UCSB 120 (+3) - 17-17, 4-5 (1-0 vs. Cal Poly, 0-3 at Long Beach)
Riverside 140 (-4) - 10-18, 2-4 (0-1 vs. P'dine, 1-2 vs. Bakersfield)
UC Davis 178 (-19) - 13-18, 2-4 (0-1 at Sac State, 2-1 vs. Pacific)
Pacific 209 (-7) - 11-24, 1-5 (0-1 at Stanford, 1-2 at UC Davis)

Pac 11
UCLA 3 (+3) - 24-8, 10-5 (1-0 vs. Fullerton, 2-1 at Arizona)
Oregon 12 (+10) - 24-10, 10-5 (2-0 vs. USF, 2-1 at Stanford)
Stanford 15 (-6) - 22-9, 5-7 (1-0 at Cal, 1-0 vs. Pacific, 1-2 vs. Oregon)
Arizona 19 (+4) - 24-11, 10-5 (1-2 vs. UCLA)
ASU 29 (+10) - 23-13, 9-6 - INELIGIBLE POST-SEASON (1-1 at New Mexico, 3-0 vs. USC)
Washington 39 (-11) - 18-15, 5-7 (0-2 vs. Gonzaga, 1-2 at Cal)
OSU 40 (-5) - 23-11, 6-6  (2-0 at Nevada, 3-0 vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff)
USC 48 (-15) - 19-14, 5-9 - (0-1  vs. LMU, 0-3 at ASU)
Cal 66 (+1) - 19-15, 4-8 (0-1 vs. Stanford, 0-1 at Santa Clara, 2-1 vs. Washington)
WSU 77 (-9) - 18-14, 5-7 (1-0 at Portland, 2-1 vs Utah)
Utah 191 (-5) - 9-25, 5-10 (0-1 vs. Utah Valley, 1-2 at WSU)

Gonzaga 14 (+11) - 25-9, 6-3 (2-0 at Washington, 3-0 vs. Santa Clara)
San Diego 25 (+4) - 29-8, 7-2 (1-0 at SDSU, 3-0 vs. La Salle)
P'dine 28 (+3) - 22-14, 5-4 (1-0 at Riverside, 2-1 vs. Portland)
Portland 75 (-12) - 18-10, 7-5 (0-1 vs. WSU, 1-2 at P'dine)
Santa Clara 83 (+6) - 18-15, 1-8 (1-0 vs. Cal, 0-3 at Gonzaga)
BYU 86 (+7) - 17-13, 6-3 (3-1 at Seattle)
St. Mary's 114 (+19) - 17-15, 2-7 (2-2 at Hawaii)
LMU 117 (+3) - 14-15, 5-4 (1-0 at USC, 1-2 vs. USF)
USF 145 (+2) - 15-23, 3-6 (0-2 at Oregon, 2-1 at LMU)

New Mexico State 21 (NC) - 27-10, 4-2 (2-1 at Sac State)
Nevada 67 (+3) - 19-15, 4-2 (0-2 vs. OSU, 3-0 vs. La Tech)
Hawaii 89 (+3) - 21-15, 2-1 (2-2 vs. St. Mary's)
La. Tech 133 (-8 ) - 17-18, 1-5 (1-0 vs. Stephen F. Austin, 0-3 at Nevada)
Sac State 137 (+37) - 18-18, 3-3 (1-0 vs. UC Davis, 1-2 vs. NMSU)
Fresno State 150 (-26) - 15-19, 1-5 (0-3 vs. San Jose)
San Jose State 196 (+16) - 17-13, 3-0 (3-0 at Fresno)

TCU 43 (+10) - 20-13, 9-3 (1-0 vs. UT Arlington, 3-0 vs. Air Force)
New Mexico 113 (+25) - 17-18, 9-3 (1-1 vs. ASU, 2-1 at SDSU)
San Diego State 149 (-21) - 18-19, 7-5 (0-1 vs. Long Beach, 1-2 vs. New Mexico)
UNLV 205 (+5) - 17-19, 2-10 (3-1 vs. Nebraska-Omaha)
Air Force 259 (NC) - 8-25, 3-9 (1-0 vs. Northern Colorado, 0-3 at TCU)

Bakersfield 154 (-35) - 17-17 (0-1 at Northridge, 2-1 at Riverside)
Utah Valley 159 (-25) - 22-11, 8-0 (1-0 at Utah, 4-0 vs. Chicago State)
Seattle 162 (+7) - 15-15 (1-3 vs. BYU)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

UC Irvine Series Preview

Titans at UC Irvine (Anteater Park)
Friday 6:30 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. (ESPNU)

By FullertonBaseballFan

Fullerton started their quest towards winning their third consecutive Big West conference championship by opening the conference schedule with two series at Goodwin Field against Cal State Northridge and UC Davis.  The Titans won the first two games with the Matadors but dropped the final game of the series for the third straight weekend.  Fullerton had a much tougher time in the first two games with the Aggies and had to come from behind in the later innings to win both games in their final AB by identical 5-4 scores before breaking their final game of the series hex with a resounding 11-0 win to take over sole possession of first place in the conference standings at 5-1.

Fullerton started the week by driving down to San Diego State on Tuesday and defeated the Aztecs 7-1 to finish a season sweep of both midweek games.  The Titans got on the board in the first inning for the fifth straight game when Richy Pedroza and Anthony Trajano led off the game with singles and Carlos Lopez drove in the run on a ground out.  Fullerton increased the lead with two runs in the second on an infield single by Ivory Thomas, two errors by San Diego State, a SAC bunt by Matt Chapman and an infield single by Austin Kingsolver.  The Aztecs took advantage of an error by the Titans that was later followed by a double to cut the lead to 3-1 in the third before Fullerton came back to score a run in the fifth on two errors and a bunt single by Pedroza.  The Titans put the game away with a run in the eighth and two runs in the ninth.  Pedroza walked to lead off the eighth, was bunted over by Trajano and Michael Lorenzen singled him in.  Kingsolver got on base on an infield single with two outs in the ninth, Jared Deacon (in his first start of the season) was hit by a pitch, Pedroza singled in Kingsolver and Deacon scored on a passed ball.  Koby Gauna threw five effective innings, as he has done in all five starts, and held San Diego State to an unearned run on two hits with four strikeouts to improve his record to 3-2 and Dimitri DeLaFuente, Willie Kuhl and Dave Birosak combined to throw four scoreless innings in relief.  The leaders of the attack for the Titans were Pedroza with three hits, two runs and two RBI and Kingsolver with two hits, two runs and an RBI.  Trajano and Lorenzen each picked up hits in the game to increase their hitting streaks to seven and eight games, respectively.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Power Outage Dooms Titans at JRS

By Don Hudson

Facing their fourth left-handed starting pitcher in the past six games, the Cal State Fullerton Titans struggled offensively and posted just four singles and lost to the UCLA Bruins, 4-2, last night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The Titans were held hitless until the fifth inning by left-hander Grant Watson (7-1).

The Bruins got on the board in the first inning. Koby Gauna started on the mound for the Titans and was immediately greeted by back-to-back singles, but he avoided a crooked number by inducing a tailor-made double-play ball to escape with just a solo tally on the board.

Meanwhile, Watson faced the minimum twelve batters through the first four innings. He did not allow a hit and picked off Matt Chapman, who had walked in the second inning.

The Bruins scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth, two of them unearned. With one out, Trevor Brown walked and stole second. The next UCLA batter, Eric Filia-Snyder, grounded to third-baseman Chapman, who looked the runner back to second but then threw wildly to first, allowing Brown to score and the batter to reach second. Shortstop Pat Valaika followed with an RBI triple into the leftfield corner (which I would have scored as a double and an error), driving Gauna from the game. Tyler Peitzmeier entered and gave up a sacrifice fly that gave the Bruins a 4-0 lead.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Titans Sweep UC Davis

By Don Hudson

The Cal State Fullerton Titans rode the strength of two stirring late-inning rallies and overcame two-run deficits to post wins over the visiting UC Davis Aggies by identical 5-4 scores on Thursday and Friday before completing the sweep with an 11-0 rout in the series finale on Saturday.

With the sweep, the Titans (5-1) moved into sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference, one game ahead of Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly, who swept UC Irvine, the Titans’ next BWC opponent. UC Santa Barbara entered their series finale against Cal State Northridge tied with CSUF, but they were stymied by the hefty lefty, Jerry Keel, who had pitched brilliantly a week earlier in a complete game win over the Titans, along with three innings of shutout relief from the Matadors’ bullpen.

With their road win at San Diego State on Tuesday and the home sweep of UCD, the Titans moved up a notch to twelfth in the Baseball America rankings.

Game 1: “Clay Feat”

CSUF Titans 5, UC Davis Aggies 4

The series opened on Thursday evening (Easter weekend schedule) with the Titans facing one of the BWC’s premier pitchers, lefty Dayne Quist, who arrived with a 4-0 record and 1.99 ERA. He lived up to his billing most of the game.

The Aggies arrived with a reputation for excellent starting pitching but not much hitting. It sure didn’t look that way at the game’s onset. UCD greeted Titans’ ace Dylan Floro with back-to-back-to-back singles that gave the Aggies a 1-0 lead and runners at the corners with one out before the stain from spilled mustard had even settled into my shirt. But then there was a big play that kind of got lost in the aftermath of late game heroics: the next hitter also ripped the ball hard, a line-drive headed towards left-centerfield. But diminutive shortstop Anthony Trajano timed it perfectly at snared it at the zenith of his leap, completing the play with a throw to first to double off the runner and avoid a big crooked number.

Trajano led off for the Titans and was plunked by a pitch from Quist. He left on ‘first motion’ and was seemingly hung out to dry, but the throw from the first-baseman was late and Trajano had a stolen base. With the lefty Quist falling off towards third-base after his pitch, Pedroza bunted towards the first-base side of the mound and beat it out. Perhaps trying to take advantage of a rattled pitcher and infield, Lorenzen also bunted, driving in Trajano on a successful safety squeeze to tie the score, 1-1.

Monday, April 9, 2012

College Baseball BCS (April 10)

By Samuel Chi

This week's Baseball BCS standings provide a bit more clarity and settle some things as the polls diverged wildly after a slew of top 10 teams were upset last week.

Florida State, crowned by four of the five polls, is the new No. 1 team, replacing intrastate rival Florida, which dropped to third after losing a midweek game to North Florida and dropping the weekend series against LSU at home. After Kentucky and Texas A&M check in at Nos. 2 and 4 respectively, it's a bit of a free-for-all as the polls often disagreed on who belonged where.

The standings:

Click to enlarge

A few more observations:

* Baseball America's poll this week seems to have made too dramatic of a shift, with a number of rankings not jiving with other polls as well as the computer ratings. Rice is obviously overranked at No. 9 (with a BCS ranking of 14) and UCLA is underranked at 17 (BCS 12).

*But the most egregious ranking belongs to Collegiate Baseball, putting Stanford at 16 when no other poll had the Cardinal lower than seventh and a BCS ranking of 5.

* Sam Houston State checks in at BCS No. 23, getting ranked in both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. The Bearkats vaulted over Lone Star rival Texas, which is 30th despite being ranked by all five polls.

* This week's conference breakdown: ACC (6), SEC (6), Pac-12 (6), Big 12 (3), Conference USA (3), WCC (2), Big Ten (1), Big East (1), Big West (1), Southland (1), WAC (1).

West Coast Weekly RPI Report (April 9)

By FullertonBaseballFan

(Titans' remaining opponents in orange, past opponents in blue)

Big West 
Fullerton 16 (+3) - 21-10, 5-1 (1-0 at SDSU, 3-0 vs. UCD)
Cal Poly 42 (+15) - 20-10, 4-2 (3-0 vs. Irvine)
Irvine 66 (-7) - 17-12, 3-3 (0-3 at CP)
Long Beach 69 (+12) - 12-17, 4-2 (2-1 at UCR)
UCSB 123 (-30) - 16-14, 4-2 (0-1 vs. Bakersfield, 2-1 vs. CSUN)
Northridge 135 (-7) - 13-18, 2-4 (0-1 vs. LMU, 1-2 at UCSB)
Riverside 136 (-3) - 9-15, 2-4 (1-2 vs. LB)
UC Davis 159 (-8 ) - 11-16, 0-3 (0-3 at Fullerton)
Pacific 202 (+8 ) - 10-21, 0-3 (1-2 vs. San Jose H/H/A)

Pac 11
UCLA 6 (+2) - 21-7, 8-4 (1-2 vs. Oregon)
Stanford 9 (NC) - 19-7, 4-5 (1-0 vs. St. Mary's, 2-1 at UW)
Oregon 22 (+9) - 20-9, 8-4 (2-1 at UCLA)
Arizona 23 (-17) - 23-9, 9-3 (0-1 at Utah Valley, 2-1 at Utah)
Washington 28 (+7) - 17-11, 4-5 (1-2 vs. Stanford)
USC 33 (+8 ) - 19-10, 5-6 - (1-0 vs. P'dine, 2-1 vs. Cal) 
OSU 35 (-14) - 18-11, 6-6  (1-0 vs. Portland, 0-3 at ASU)
ASU 39 (+12) - 19-12, 6-6 - INELIGIBLE FOR POST-SEASON (3-0 vs. Oregon State) 
Cal 67 (+12) - 17-12, 2-7 (1-2 at USC)
WSU 68 (-10) - 15-13, 3-5 - (0-1 at Gonzaga, 2-1 vs Seattle)
Utah 186 (+9) - 8-22, 4-8 (0-1 vs. BYU, 1-2 vs. Arizona)

Gonzaga 25 (+3) - 20-9, 3-3 (1-0 vs. WSU, 1-2 at USD)
San Diego 29 (+4) - 25-8, 7-2 (2-1 vs. Gonzaga)
P'dine 31 (-4) - 19-13, 3-3 (0-1 at USC, 2-1 at St. Mary's) 
Portland 63 (+8 ) - 17-7, 6-3 (0-1 at OSU, 3-0 vs. USF)
Santa Clara 89 (-25) - 17-12, 1-5 (1-0 vs. Fresno, 0-3 at Bakersfield)
BYU 93 (-14) - 14-12, 6-3 (1-0 at Utah, 2-1 vs. LMU)
LMU 120 (-9) - 13-14, 4-2 (1-0 at CSUN, 1-2 at BYU) 
St. Mary's 133 (+16) - 15-15, 2-7 (0-1 at Stanford, 1-2 vs. P'dine)
USF 147 (-30) - 13-20, 1-5 (0-1 vs. San Jose, 0-3 at Portland)

New Mexico State 21 (-6) - 25-9, 2-1 (1-0 vs. New Mexico, 2-1 vs. Nevada)
Nevada 70 (-14) - 16-13, 1-2 (1-2 at NMSU)
Hawaii 92 (-16) - 19-13, 2-1 (2-1 vs. Fresno)
Fresno State 124 (-17) - 15-16, 1-2 (0-1 at Santa Clara, 1-2 at Hawaii)
La. Tech 125 (+2) - 16-16, 1-2 (1-0 vs. Grambling, 1-2 vs. Sac State)
Sac State 174 (+43) - 16-16, 2-1 (2-1 at La. Tech)
San Jose State 212 (-9) - 14-13 (1-0 at USF, 2-1 vs. Pacific A/A/H)

TCU 53 (-5) - 16-13, 6-3 (0-1 vs. Dallas Baptist, 2-1 vs. UNC Wilmington)
San Diego State 127 (+18 ) - 17-16, 6-3 (0-1 vs. Fullerton, 3-0 at UNLV)
New Mexico 138 (-35) - 14-16, 7-2 (0-1 at NMSU, 2-1 at Air Force)
UNLV 210 (-6) - 14-18, 2-10 (1-0 at Southern Utah, 0-3 vs. SDSU)
Air Force 259 (NC) - 7-22, 3-6 (1-2 vs. New Mexico)

Bakersfield 119 (+45) - 15-15 (1-0 at UCSB, 3-0 vs. Santa Clara)
Utah Valley 134 - 17-11, 4-0 (1-0 vs. Utah, 4-0 vs. North Dakota)
Seattle 169 (+19) - 14-12 (1-2 at WSU)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

UC Davis Series Preview

UC Davis at Titans (Goodwin Field)
Thursday 6 p.m., Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m.

By FullertonBaseballFan

Fullerton started their quest towards winning their third consecutive Big West conference championship by opening the conference schedule with a series at Goodwin Field against Cal State Northridge. The Titans won the first two games with the Matadors by scores of 7-2 and 8-6 to clinch their sixth straight series since losing the season opening series at #1 Florida before dropping the third game of the series 5-1 to lose the final game of a series for the third straight weekend.

Fullerton got the week started by renewing their annual midweek series with Arizona State and made a trip to Tempe for the first time since 2009. The Titans and Sun Devils have played a midweek series for five consecutive seasons and for the fourth time the teams split the two games with ASU shutting out Fullerton 1-0 last Tuesday, the second straight game that Fullerton was shut out and the first time that has happened since George Horton’s inaugural season as head coach in 1997, and the Titans coming back last Wednesday to get the better of the Sun Devils by a score of 9-5.

Fullerton had hits in each of the first four innings on Tuesday but hit into double plays in the first two innings and had a runner caught stealing in the fourth to thwart any potential rallies. J.D. Davis doubled in the fifth and Anthony Trajano singled but Davis was held at third and another double play ended the innnig. Koby Gauna held ASU off of the scoreboard for the first five innings, including getting out of a bases loaded and no out jam in the fifth, before surrendering a leadoff double in the sixth. Dimitri DeLaFuente came on in relief and All-American Joey DeMichele drove in the game’s only run with a single. Zak Miller scattered seven hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Sun Devils and three relievers held the Titans hitless for the rest of the game as Gauna took the hard luck loss. Carlos Lopez and Trajano were the only players with two hits for Fullerton as Lopez extended his hitting streak to eight games.

Fullerton came out determined to put their offensive miseries behind them on Wednesday and scored in the first inning on a single by Richy Pedroza, a groundout and a single by Michael Lorenzen. After ASU tied the game in the second, the Titans took the lead for good in the fourth by scoring three runs. Matt Chapman and Davis hit singles with one out, which led to a pitching change for the Sun Devils. A single by Austin Kingsolver scored a run, a groundout by Chad Wallach scored another run and Pedroza’s single up the middle drove in the third run of the inning. ASU scored in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 4-2 before Fullerton responded with two more runs in the seventh when Lopez walked, Clay Williamson pinch-hit for Velazquez and singled for his first hit as a Titan, Chapman singled in a run and Davis’ ground out scored another run. ASU scored two runs in the eighth to cut the lead to 6-4 before Lorenzen was called in from CF to end the rally. Fullerton piled on three more runs in the ninth to put the game away when Lopez led off the inning with a single, Austin Diemer singled, an errant throw on Chapman’s SAC bunt scored a run, a wild pitch scored the second run and a single by Ivory Thomas scored the third run. Lorenzen allowed his first run of the season in the ninth on a single by All-American Deven Marrero and a double by slugger Abe Ruiz but that would end the scoring for the night as Lorenzen notched his ninth save. The Titans had a season high with eighteen hits, all of them singles, with each spot in the lineup either scoring and/or driving in a run. Pedroza and Kingsolver each had three hits and Lorenzen, Lopez, Chapman and Davis each had two hits with Lopez’s hitting streak going to nine games. Tyler Peitzmeier got the start and the win for Fullerton on a designated staff day after throwing 3 1/3 innings and allowing one run on four hits. Willie Kuhl followed him on the mound and also allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings with five strikeouts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Aztecs Crumble and Fumble

By Don Hudson

With sadness and sorrow abounding after learning of the death of Chief Jay Strongbow, the Titans completed a sweep of their two-game home-and-home series against the San Diego State University Aztecs on Tuesday night with a road win at Tony Gwynn Stadium, with four pitchers combining to allow just one unearned run. Koby Gauna pitched five innings and got the win, with relief support from Dimitri De la Fuente, Willie Kuhl and Dave Birosak.

Richy Pedroza was involved in much of the Titans’ scoring, with three hits, two runs scored and two runs driven in. Much of the Aztecs’ misery was self-inflicted, as they committed five errors and allowed four unearned runs. The loss broke a four-game winning streak by the Aztecs since the return of Coach Tony Gwynn from his most recent cancer surgery recovery.

With the game delayed a few minutes by umpire tardiness, the Titans jumped on the SDSU pitcher right out of the gate. (I hate when that happens – your pitcher goes through his pre-game rituals and warm-ups based on an established game time and blue arrives ten minutes late.) Pedroza led off with a single and advanced to third on a base hit by Anthony Trajano. Aztecs pitcher Philip Walby nearly escaped unscathed when he struck out Michael Lorenzen and got Carlos Lopez to hit a grounder to shortstop, but Lopez hustled down the line and just barely beat the throw for an RBI fielder’s choice.

Gauna threw a scoreless first frame, and the Titans came back in the top of the second with two more runs on two hits and two errors. Ivory Thomas beat out a swinging bunt and went to third a couple pitches later on an errant pickoff attempt by the SDSU catcher. Anthony Hutting was credited with an RBI when his groundball went through the wickets of the Aztecs first-baseman, allowing him to reach second. After a sacrifice by Matt Chapman, Austin Kingsolver bounced an RBI infield single into the shortstop hole.

The Aztecs scored their only run in the third inning. After Gauna got two outs – he had retired all eight batters faced so far – the ninth batter in the Aztecs line-up poked a groundball to the left of third-baseman Pedroza. Trajano got to the ball in the shortstop hole and bobbled it momentarily – a pretty tough do-or-die play that is generally ruled a base hit, but as is often the case when a pitcher has yet to allow a hit, it was ruled an error. After a stolen base and a walk, the tying run came to the plate. Tim Zier doubled down the leftfield line, but the ball was played well by Kingsolver and the damage was limited to one unearned run, with two runners stranded in scoring position when Kingsolver made a good catch after a long run on a foul flyball.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

College Baseball BCS (April 3)

By Samuel Chi

This week's College Baseball BCS standings are perhaps even more revealing than last week's in terms of identifying teams that are ranked too high or too low in the human polls. They also show which polls are on shakier grounds, especially when it comes to ranking the lower teams in the top 25.

I made one change in the standings (only in the display, not in the formula), so that the poll rankings are no longer listed in reverse order. I think this brings more clarity when viewing the standings. I've also made this change to last week's standings as well.

(click to enlarge)

A few observations from this week's standings:

* Clearly, North Carolina State is the most under-ranked team. The Wolfpack are in the top 10 in both the RPI and ISR and yet placed no higher than 13th in the polls and are not even in the NCBWA's top 25. The most over-ranked team might be, ahem, Cal State Fullerton. The Titans are on the edges of the top 20 in the computer rankings, but are in the top 16 of every poll and as high as 10th.

* The bottom part of the NCBWA's poll is quite befuddling. It has Oklahoma at No. 22 - the only poll that has OU ranked anywhere - and it's an absurdity when you consider that the Sooners' No. 92 RPI rating is by far the worst among the teams in this week's standings. The NCBWA and the USA Today coaches poll also continue to over-rank Georgia, which at No. 54 in the RPI is also obviously not a top-25 team.

* Why did the Titans drop in all the polls after a respectable road split and winning two of three against Cal State Northridge? It didn't help that the Sun Devils went on to get swept at Oregon, but Fullerton now can ill afford not to sweep series against the weaker Big West teams. The toughest part of the Titans' schedule is over and they really need to steamroll the rest of the Big West, which is not very good, to stay up in the rankings.

* This week's conference breakdown: SEC (8), ACC (7), Pac-12 (6), Big 12 (4), C-USA (3), WCC (2), Southland (2), Big Ten (1), Big East (1), Big West (1), Southern (1), WAC (1).

Monday, April 2, 2012

West Coast Midseason RPI Report (April 2)

By FullertonBaseballFan

(Titans' remaining opponents in *)

Big West
Fullerton 19 (-4) - 17-10, 2-1 (1-1 midweek at ASU, 2-1 vs. Northridge)
*Cal Poly 57 (0) - 17-10, 1-2 (1-2 vs. Long Beach)
*Irvine 59 (+5) - 17-9, 3-0 (0-1 vs. USC, 3-0 vs. Pacific)
*Long Beach 81 (+20) - 10-16, 2-1 (0-1 vs. WSU, 2-1 at Cal Poly)
*UCSB 93 (+29) - 14-12, 2-1 (1-0 vs. P'dine, 2-1 vs. UCR)
Northridge 128 (+18) - 12-15, 1-2 (1-2 at Fullerton)
*Riverside 133 (-25) - 8-13, 1-2 (0-1 at SDSU, 1-2 at UCSB)
*UC Davis 151 (-21) - 11-13, 0-0 (0-1 vs. Nevada, 1-3 at Hawaii)
*Pacific 210 (-5) - 8-19, 0-3 (0-3 at Irvine)

Pac 11
Arizona 6 (+11) - 18-7, 7-2 (3-0 vs. Stanford)
*UCLA 8 (-4) - 20-5, 7-2 (0-1 vs. WSU, 3-0 at Utah)
Stanford 9 (-7) - 16-6, 2-4 (0-1 vs. USC, 1-0 vs. St. Mary's, 0-3 at Arizona)
OSU 21 (+11) - 17-8, 6-3 (2-1 vs. Wash)
Oregon 31 (-1) - 18-8, 6-3 (0-2 at Texas State, 3-0 vs. ASU)
Washington 35 (+5) - 16-9, 3-3 (1-2 at OSU)
*USC 41 (+5) - 16-9, 3-5 - at WSU today (1-0 at Stanford, 1-0 at UCI, 1-1 at WSU)
ASU 51 (-10) - 16-12, 3-6 - INELIGIBLE (1-1 vs. Fullerton, 0-3 at Oregon)
WSU 58 (+49) - 13-11, 3-5 - vs. USC today (1-0 at UCLA, 1-0 at LBSU, 1-1 vs. USC)
Cal 77 (+20) - 16-10, 1-5 (1-0 at Fresno, 2-1 at Texas)
Utah 195 (-5) - 7-19, 3-6 (0-1 vs. BYU, 0-3 vs. UCLA)

*Pepperdine 27 (-8 ) - 17-11, 1-2 (0-1 at UCSB, 1-2 at Gonzaga)
Gonzaga 28 (-4) - 18-7, 2-1 (2-1 vs. P'dine)
San Diego 33 (+14) - 23-7, 5-1 (1-0 vs. Santa Clara, 2-1 at USF)
Santa Clara 64 (-12) - 16-9, 1-5 (0-1 at USD, 2-0 vs. Brown, 1-2 vs. Portland)
Portland 71 (+21) - 14-6, 3-3 (2-1 at Santa Clara)
BYU 79 (-29) - 11-11, 4-2 (1-0 at Utah, 1-2 at Nevada)
*LMU 111 (+49) - 11-12, 3-0 (3-0 vs. St. Mary's)
USF 117 (-4) - 13-16, 1-2 (0-1 vs. Sac State, 1-2 vs. USD)
St. Mary's 149 (-39) - 14-12, 1-5 (0-1 at Stanford, 0-3 at LMU

New Mexico State 15 (+1) - 22-8 (1-0 at Texas Tech)
Nevada 56 (+21) - 15-11 (1-0 at UC Davis, 2-1 vs. BYU)
Hawaii 76 (-9) - 17-12 (3-1 vs. UC Davis)
Fresno State 107 (-48 ) - 14-13 (0-1 vs. Cal, 1-2 vs. New Mexico)
La. Tech 127 (+14) - 14-13 (1-0 vs. N'western State, 1-0 at Grambling, 1-2 at ORU)
San Jose State 203 (-31) - 11-12 (1-1 vs. Brown)
Sac State 217 (+3) - 14-15 (1-0 at USF, 1-2 at Bakersfield)

TCU 48 (-9) - 14-11, 6-3 (0-1 at UT Arlington, 2-1 vs. UNLV)
New Mexico 103 (-27) - 12-14, 5-1 (0-2 vs. Stephen F. Austin, 2-1 at Fresno)
*San Diego State 145 (-16) - 14-15, 3-3 (1-0 vs. UCR, 3-0 vs. Air Force Academy)
UNLV 204 (+3) - 13-15, 2-7 (1-0 vs. Southern Utah, 1-2 at TCU)
Air Force 259 (-18) - 6-20, 2-4 (0-2 at Bakersfield, 0-3 at SDSU)

Bakersfield 164 (-7) - 11-15 (2-0 vs. Air Force, 2-1 vs. Sac State)
Seattle 188 (-5) - 13-10 (2-1 vs. Northern Colorado)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Titans Can't Quite Finish Off Matadors

By Don Hudson

The Cal State Fullerton began the Big West Conference portion of their 2012 season winning two-out-of-three at home against the Cal State Northridge Matadors, their sixth consecutive weekend series win. After winning the first two games, the Titans encountered their recent downfall inability to complete a potential series sweep. With the loss on Sunday, the Titans (17-10, 2-1) are tied for second place with Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara in the BWC standings, trailing UC Irvine, who swept their series against the University of the Pacific Tigers on the strength of late-inning rallies on Friday and Saturday.

Game 1: “Singles Night at Goodwin Field”

Titans 7, Matadors 2

The Titans continued their recent onslaught of singles, which began with 18 in the series finale at ASU, knocking out 12 hits and coasting to a 7-2 win behind Dylan Floro’s complete game in their BWC opener. Including the final hit of the Tuesday loss at ASU, the Titans extended their streak to 31 singles without an extra-base hit being mixed in, although there were a couple potential doubles on well-hit balls deep in the power allies taken away on good defensive plays by the CSUN outfield.

The Matadors came out swinging the bats well and had an early chance to get to the Titans’ ace. After Ryan Raslowsky and Cal Vogelsang hit two sharp singles to start the game, the third hitter, Adam Berry, ripped a sinking line-drive to leftfield. Outfielder Austin Kingsolver came on and attempted a diving shoestring catch – it was a great effort but the ball squirted to the ground. However, the Titans caught a break when the runner on second, Raslowsky, retreated when it appeared Kingsolver had caught the ball, so Kingsolver was able to throw to third base for the force-out. The batter loses his hit and reaches on a fielder’s choice on a “groundout” from the leftfielder to the third-baseman. Floro struck out the next two batters, sandwiched around a double-steal, to escape with no runs allowed.

The Titans took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when they amassed four hits, stymied again by their recent nemesis, the double-play ball. Richy Pedroza led off with a single that deflected off the pitcher and moved up a base on a subsequent throwing error on a pickoff attempt. Anthony Trajano dropped a soft single into right-centerfield, placing runners at the corner with no outs. Pedroza scored when Michael Lorenzen hit into a double-play. Carlos Lopez then dumped an “excuse me” duck snort single into leftfield. With Lopez running on the pitch, Matt Chapman followed with a screaming base-hit into centerfield. Even with the momentum of his head start on the hit-and-run, Lopez defied the baseball gods and made the third out at third-base, gunned down easily on a perfect throw from CSUN’s Vogelsang.

As is often the case with premier pitchers, they get into a groove and run on auto-pilot if you let them off the hook early. After the first three batters hit the ball hard off Floro, he turned in a virtuoso pitching performance. He retired 16 of 17 batters from the first through sixth innings, including ten straight from the third to the sixth.

The Titans scored their second run in the bottom of the third on a bases-loaded walk to Ivory Thomas, following a walk to Trajano and singles by Lorenzen and Lopez.

In the fourth inning, the Titans put three runs on the board to give Floro some breathing room. The Titans loaded the bases on singles by Chad Wallach and Pedroza and a walk to Lorenzen after a wild pitch. Lopez smashed the ball over the first-base bag for a two-run single. The Matador first-baseman made a good play just to knock it down and prevent it from going down into the corner for what would have been at least a double and put an end to the Titans’ string of singles. Lorenzen scored the third run of the inning on a wild pitch, giving the Titans a 5-0 edge.

The Titans scored again in the sixth. After Wallach led off with a single, Pedroza’s attempted sacrifice turned into something even better – a perfect bunt single. Trajano followed with a “just as good as a bunt” chopper to third-base that advanced both runners, allowing Wallach to be in position to score on Lorenzen’s sacrifice fly. The Titans added the seventh run the next inning when J.D. Davis reached on an error, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Wallach’s unexpected RBI bunt single.

From that point, the only questions were how far Floro would go and whether the Matadors would break the shutout. Floro came out to pitch the ninth with a five-hit shutout in progress. Floro and the Titans’ defense faltered slightly in the final frame, allowing two runs (one unearned) on two hits. There were two throwing errors in the inning: one by Lorenzen that allowed an extra base and another by Wallach that allowed the second run to score and extended the game after a two-out strikeout that would have ended the singles affair.

Pedroza, Lopez and Wallach had three hits each for the Titans, while Floro improved his record to 4-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.25. It was the second straight game in which Rick Vanderhook occupied his (old) new perch in the third base coach’s box.

Game 2: “Senior Moments”

Titans 8, Matadors 6

With a roster that includes fifteen freshmen, it was two of the seniors who lifted the Titans to a series-clinching win on Saturday night. Converted catcher Dimitri De la Fuente entered the game in relief of freshman Kenny Mathews in the fourth inning and worked out of an inherited jam and earned his first collegiate pitching win with 3-1/3 innings of stellar work. Fellow senior Trajano had four hits and a sacrifice, including – GASP – an extra-base hit that snapped the Titans streak of singles-without-an extra-base-hit-mixed-in at 42.

With Mathews mowing Matadors like a finely trimmed lawn and the Titans’ singles bar open for business in the first three innings, it looked like a certain blowout as CSUF held a commanding 5-0 lead going to the top of the fourth.

In the bottom of the first, Trajano and Lorenzen set the table for Lopez with a pair of one-out singles, with Lorenzen taking second on the throw. Lopez maintained his torrid hitting with a two-run single to leftfield – he is going with pitches where they are thrown and hitting the ball hard all over the field.

The Titans scored an unearned run in the second that was much uglier than it is going to sound. Ivory Thomas reached on an error and then stole second and third base. After Davis scorched a line-drive right at the first-baseman, Kingsolver hit a chopper to third-base with the infield drawn in. Thomas broke for home on the contact play and was caught in a rundown, but he made it safely back to third when the Matadors threw the ball to the fielder who was between Thomas and home, rather than to the base where he was heading. Wallach grounded out to drive in Thomas with an unearned run that made the score 3-0.

Two more runs were plated in the bottom of the third, with help from sloppy Matadors defense. Trajano singled to start the inning and advanced on an errant pickoff throw before scoring on Lorenzen’s RBI single. After Lorenzen went to second on a wild pitch, Lopez surprised the defense with a perfectly placed bunt towards third-base. He easily beat it out for a hit and Lorenzen scored when the third-baseman’s throw went awry.

That’s when the wheels came off the wagon for Mathews and the Titans. With one out, Mathews encountered a streak of wildness, loading the bases on a walk and two hit-batsmen. A two-run double cut the lead to 5-2, followed by a run-permitting passed ball by Wallach, his tenth of the season. The Matadors then executed a safety squeeze to make the score 5-4 with two outs and the bases clear. But Mathews still struggled, giving up a single, a wild pitch and a walk before pitching coach Kirk Saarloos came to the mound for his second trip of the inning, motioning for De la Fuente to enter the game. As he has done impeccably of late, De la Fuente worked out of the predicament, but still there was an uneasy feeling of having to go to your team’s best late inning set-up reliever in the fourth inning. The uneasiness mounted as the Titans wasted two hits in the bottom of the inning, thwarted once again by our nemesis, Mr. Double-Play.

After De la Fuente restored order with a scoreless fifth inning, the Titans gave him a bigger cushion with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Trajano and Lorenzen singled and advanced on a passed ball. Lopez drove in Trajano on a groundout, and Lorenzen scored on an RBI single by Chapman.

De la Fuente completely stilled the turbulent waters he inherited with scoreless sixth and seventh innings.

With two outs in the sixth inning, Trajano laced a double just inside the leftfield line – it was the team’s first extra-base hit since Davis hit a double in the first game at ASU – there were 42 singles in between.

The game seemed to have been completely back in the Titans’ control when they scored a run in the bottom of the seventh on a single and stolen base by Chapman and an RBI single by Thomas.

But the Matadors had one last gasp of life when they got to the tiring De la Fuente in the eighth inning for a leadoff walk and a double that brought freshman Willie Kuhl in from the Titans’ bullpen. Kuhl threw a wild pitch that allowed a run, but he struck out two and escaped with no major damage. The Titans loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth on three walks, but were unable to score.

Leading 8-5 to open the ninth, Kuhl issued a leadoff walk and the Titans, unwilling to bring the tying run to the plate before bringing in their closer, immediately put the ball in the hand of Lorenzen. But after an infield pop-put, Lorenzen was tagged for a triple by Vogelsang that made the score 8-6 and brought the tying run to the plate with just one out. But Lorenzen was equal to the task, getting the second out on a line-drive straight to Trajano and a game-ending strikeout.

Besides Trajano’s four hits, Lorenzen had three hits and earned his tenth save in ten tries. Lopez and Chapman also had two each of the Titans’ fourteen hits.

Game 3: “April Fools”

Matadors 5, Titans 1

For the third consecutive weekend, the Titans were unable to close the deal and complete a home series sweep. The Titans once again allowed a crooked number, which has been their downfall in every loss this season (other than the 1-0 loss to ASU) and were unable to do much with Northridge’s freshman left-hander, Jerry Keel, who pitched a complete game and lowered his already excellent pre-game ERA of 1.62. Keel started the year with control problems, but has been lights out in his last four starts: including today, he has allowed just two earned runs in 26-2/3 innings, walking only six hitters during that span. He also avoided hit batsmen today, which has been a problem for him previously.

The Titans looked like they were on their way to sweep when they scored the game’s first run on a Pedroza walk, a Trajano sacrifice and an RBI single by Lorenzen. The water looked hot for Keel when he fell behind in the count (2-0) against Lopez, the Titans’ leading hitter, but the imposing freshman (6’-6”, 280 pounds) came back with a strikeout and got Chapman to ground out to end the threat.

A big part of Keel’s success this game was shutting down Lopez, who went 0-for-4 and saw his eleven-game hitting streak come to an end.

The Titans’ Grahamm Wiest, who was used Wednesday out of the bullpen at ASU, took the 1-0 lead into the top of the third and got two outs before faltering briefly. With one out, the ninth hitter in the batting order singled and advanced to second on a hit-and-run groundout. Vogelsang singled to leftfield to tie the score and advanced to second when the throw from Thomas was not cut off. I’m guessing that third-baseman Chapman may not have been in the proper position lining up the cutoff, as he got an immediate earful from Vanderhook and was replaced the following inning. A double into the leftfield corner by CSUN’s Barry gave the Matadors a 2-1 lead – the runner would probably not have scored from first, so Vanderhook was spitting nails by then. Miles Williams followed with a two-run blast for the Matadors, making the score 4-1, perhaps making the cutoff play moot, but the damage had been done and the tension was palpable.

The bottom of the fifth inning was symbolic of the frustration and lackluster play for the Titans. Trailing 4-1, Ivory Thomas hit a full-count single to leftfield to open the inning – but left early on a steal attempt and was thrown out, 1-3-6. Davis then singled on an infield pop-up that was lost in the sun, but he inexplicably tried to steal second and was thrown out by a mile – I momentarily thought Bergeron was back calling the plays. The coaches had apparently changed the signs the previous inning and Davis keyed off the wrong indicator and thought it was a sign to steal (from what I heard.) Greg Velazquez followed with a solid single and went to second on an error, but was stranded when Wallach grounded out. It was the best chance the Titans had the rest of the game to make a comeback, but they could not score, despite three hits and an error.

The buttons on Hooky’s straitjacket got even tighter as the game went to the top of the sixth. Wiest struck out the first hitter, but Wallach was unable to block the pitch and the leadoff runner was aboard. After a sacrifice and a strikeout, Wiest appeared out of the inning when he induced a high pop-up that Lopez appeared to be camped under before being called off by Pedroza – and the ball dropped between them and the Matadors had a 5-1 lead.

The Titans managed at least one hit in each of the last three innings, but they couldn’t string together any of those singles that had been so ubiquitous during the previous three games. Matt Orloff stroked a solid base-hit when called upon to replace Davis in the seventh inning. Pedroza and Trajano had consecutive hits in the eighth inning, but Keel rewarded the confidence of his coaches by retiring Lorenzen and Lopez to end the mini-threat. Thomas had the Titans’ lone hit in the ninth inning.

Wiest threw a complete game for the Titans, pitching brilliantly for all but one inning. He allowed nine hits but had no walks, while striking out six. Both teams had nine hits – but the Matadors had the big RBI double and two-run homer, while all nine of the Titans hits were – yes, you guessed it – singles.


So what did we learn this series?

The outfield arms were a factor in the first couple games, sometimes good and sometimes bad. In the Friday opener, the Titans executed the two force-outs from the outfield: Kingsolver to Chapman (7-5) and Lorenzen to Trajano (8-6) – I have never seen that happen twice in the same game. But on the down side, Lorenzen’s aggressive throws to first base to try to catch an unsuspecting batter-runner making a wide turn resulted in late-inning errors in back-to-back games. Not only was an extra base allowed on the errant overthrows, but double-play situations were removed both times. We all cherish the opportunity to see Lorenzen use his incredible arm in spectacular fashion and we’ll all go bonkers when the play works – which I know will happen. When it works it’s called “aggressiveness” and when it doesn’t it’s called “recklessness.”

The work of the bullpen has been sensational, especially with the added burden of not having Christian Coronado and Jose Cardona available. Following the two mid-week games at ASU in which seven pitchers were used, Floro’s complete game victory was critically important to give the bullpen a night off. On Saturday, De la Fuente did an outstanding job relieving Mathews, with good work behind him by Kuhl and Lorenzen. Similar to Floro, Wiest went the distance on Sunday, helping his bullpen be rested for the forthcoming short week when they play four games in five days starting Tuesday.

After starting the season with potent offenses in final games of series, the Titans have managed just three runs combined in the Game 3 losses to Long Beach State (7-2), Oral Roberts (3-0) and Northridge (5-1). In the ORU and CSUN series, both those teams threw their best pitcher in the series finale, as the Titans have scuffled all season against opponents’ top-line pitchers. It’s not a bad strategy for the team that realistically is setting its goal to win at least one game in a series when it is a prohibitive road underdog. Let’s see how UC Davis plays it in the next weekend series.

One of the coolest things ever at Goodwin Field occurred Saturday night. Do you know the in-game contest they have this year where a contestant gets on top of the dugout and are asked a multiple-choice trivia question on the video board, with the question and possible answers read by a Titans player? You know – the one where many contestants don’t even give their answer until after the correct answer has been revealed?

Well, on Saturday, “Liz” was the contestant. She got on top of the dugout, facing the scoreboard to read the question: “LIZ, WILL YOU MARRY ME?” Her boyfriend was behind her, kneeling down with the ring as the question was popped on the video board, to the astonished approval of the crowd. From her reaction and the spit-swapping that ensued, I believe the response was affirmative. I loved Chris Albaugh’s P.A. announcement: “Yes, folks, we have a winner!” - just as he would a normal correctly answered question.

That video board is amazing and the library of software and videos continues to expand. I shudder to think how badly it might have turned out if the dude had proposed on the old scoreboard with all the missing light bulbs.

This weekend was important not only to Liz and her beau, but also to me and anyone else who has ever dabbled in a chemistry lab: It was the 201-year anniversary of the birth of German chemist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen, the inventor of the Bunsen burner.....In a related story, one of my all-time favorite baseball nicknames applied to a young fast-balling phenom pitcher that came up with the New York Yankees in 1966 named Stan Bahnsen. Arriving in the show with legendary pitching velocity, he was nicknamed “the Bahnsen Burner.” Bahnsen pitched sixteen years in the major leagues, with perhaps his best performance with the Chicago White Sox. He won 21 games for the ChiSox in 1972 and lost 21 games the next season – you need to be an excellent pitcher to lose 20 or more in a season.

It was in an era of the four-man rotation, when Bahnsen started 118 games over a three-year span – that would be unheard of today, especially for a power pitcher. The 1973 White Sox had two 20-game losers – Bahnsen and knuckleballer Wilbur Wood went 24-20, the last time a major league pitcher both won and lost at least 20 games in the same season.

Best wishes to Brad Hull (left), who was honored Sunday in his last game with the Titans after supporting the program in a variety of capacities during the past thirteen years. He is relocating to Oklahoma to take a position with the FAA as a flight controller after recently completing a pair of advanced degrees. You can tell the depth of the feeling for this man when the head coach goes out on the field to catch the ceremonial first pitch and he is hugged by the entire team on his way back from the mound.

So now we start another busy week: a Tuesday evening game at San Diego State and a conference series at home against UC Davis beginning on Thursday (in deference to Easter weekend.) It’s a lot of action in a compressed timeframe – I’ll let Saarloos and Vanderhook figure out how to coax enough effective innings out of the pitching staff. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out the logistics for how to sneak in a stop at Phil’s BBQ in San Diego sometime prior to the game against the Aztecs. Assuming there isn’t likely to be a waiting line there at 3:00 p.m., there should be enough time to be able to get to Tony Gwynn Stadium in time to watch B.P. – sounds like a plan!

Go Titans! Go Phil!