Clouds Loom with 2011 Baseball Season Ready to Begin

Feb. 16, 2011

PLAY BALL: With some help from Mother Nature, the Titans (0-0) will kick off their 37th Div. I season this weekend with a non-conference series with Long Beach State (0-0) and a single game with visiting North Carolina (0-0), which is in town participating in the USC Tournament in Los Angeles. The Titans and 49ers will meet in Long Beach on Friday (6:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1:00 p.m.) and will play the nightcap a day/night double-header at Goodwin Field on Saturday (6 p.m.). North Carolina will be the Titans first home opponent of the year, meeting up at Noon on Saturday.

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THIS WEEK:
Fri., Feb. 18, at Long Beach State (Blair Field), 6:30 p.m.
Pitching Probables:
CSF - RHP Noe Ramirez (12-1, 2.54 ERA in 2010)
LB - RHP Andrew Gagnon (5-7, 3.28 ERA in 2010)

Sat., Feb. 19, vs. North Carolina (Goodwin Field), Noon
Pitching Probables:
CSF - RHP Tyler Pill (4-4, 3.36 ERA in 2010)
UNC - RHP Patrick Johnson (6-3, 3.71 ERA in 2010)

Sat., Feb 19, vs. Long Beach State (Goodwin Field), 6:00 p.m.
Pitching Probables:
CSF - RHP Jake Floethe (DNP in 2010)
LB - RHP Brandon Pinder (4-7, 4.85 ERA in 2010)

Sun., Feb. 20, at Long Beach State (Blair Field), 1 p.m.
Pitching Probables:
CSF - RHP Colin O'Connell (1-1, 3.65 ERA in 2010)
LB - RHP Shawn Stuart (8-3, 2.79 ERA in 2010) or TBA

CHECKING IN ON WEATHER: Just like the length of a baseball game, we ere unable to predict the weather. The grounds crew and team does its best to keep the field in good playing condition in the event of a break in the weather. We will keep you posted with up to date information here at fullertontitans.com as well as through our twitter feed at twitter.com/csufathletics (@csufathletics) as soon as any official word is passed to us.

FOLLOW US: Technology is all around. You can hear Titan baseball (live audio broadcasts on fullertontitans.com), watch Titan baseball (subscription based bigwest.tv video streams) and track Titan baseball (CBS College Sports GameTracker links on fullertontitans.com) right from your computer. If you need to be away from your computer, you can follow us on our Twitter feed for sporadic scores and information, or listed to the audio broadcast on fullertontitans right from your cell phone (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and most Android phones).

WATCH 2011 BASEBALL VIDEOS:
Season Preview with Dave Serrano: Link
Preparation featuring Noe Ramirez: Link
You Better Believe Me featuring Richy Pedroza: Link
Titans Making a Difference: Link
Domingo Ayala: Tryout / PSA / Scheduling / Refreshments

TITAN BASEBLOG: Junior right-handed pitcher Jake Floethe will be this year's special guest blogger. You can read what he has to say every week on fullertontitans.com. Just go to the baseball page and click his link in the right-hand sidebar and get his unique perspective on being a player at Cal State Fullerton. His first blog of the year can be seen by clicking here.

VERSUS LONG BEACH STATE: The 49ers are coming off a rough season that saw them finish dead last in the Big West standings with a 23-32 overall record and a dismal 7-17 Big West campaign. This year, the 49ers are under new management as Troy Buckley takes over for long-time Long Beach skipper Mike Weathers, who announced his retirement at the end of last season. The Titans and 49ers have met 172 times dating back to 1975 (the first season for the Titans at the Div. I level), with Fullerton winning two thirds of the games played (115-57). They have been just as dominant in conference match-ups, winning 91 games while losing just 46 throughout three different conferences (PCAA, SCBA and the Big West). The Titans have been very consistent in their dealings with the 49ers and have gone 57-28 both at home AND on the road. In their more recent history, the Titans have won seven in a row and 18 of the last 23 meetings dating back to 2004. Under Dave Serrano, the Titans are 8-2 against the 49ers.

THE RIVALRY: Despite the long history between Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, the rivalry between these two schools was at its height between 1989 and 2001 with Dave Snow at the helm of the 49er program. Over 13 season, Snow (a former Titan assistant coach under Augie Garrido in the early years at the Div. I level) led the 49ers to its most prosperous times, not only overall (511-290-4, .637 and 4 College World Series appearances), but also against the Titans (led by Garrido and George Horton). Snow had a winning record against the Titans (31-30), but had a hard time doing it, watching the Titans winning nearly half of the 61 games played. Since Snow's departure (under Mike Weathers), the 49ers have not fared nearly as well, going just 16-31 against the Titans under coaches Horton (1997-2007) and Dave Serrano (2008-present).

VERSUS NORTH CAROLINA: The Tar Heels have been one of the winningest teams of the new century and come to Fullerton for the first time on Feb. 19. North Carolina is skippered by long-time Head Coach Mike Fox who has put up an astounding 1,077-371-5 career record over 27 years of coaching college baseball, with 538 of those wins coming while heading the Tar Heel program for 12 seasons. The Titans and Tar Heels have a limited history that includes a just two games at the College World Series in 2006. The Titans lost their first game in 13 innings, 7-5, and then were eliminated five days later by one run as the Tar Heels won, 6-5. This will also be the first meeting between Fox and Titan skipper Dave Serrano.

CSF VS THE ACC: Despite being way over here on the left coast, the Titans have had their fair share of face time with the current line up of teams teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference over the years. The Titans have faced 7 of the 12 teams in the ACC have a pretty good all-time showing, going 27-19 overall and 12-7 in the postseason. The Titans have met both Miami and Florida Sate 17 times apiece over the years, and have winning records (11-6, 10-7, respectively) against both. Also, 5 of the Titans' 12 postseason wins have come against the Hurricanes as well. The last time the Titans met an ACC team was in 2009, in their final College World Series game against Virginia. The Titans lost that one, 7-5.

SEASON OPENERS: Cal State Fullerton is 20-16 all-time in season openers but just 3-11 in openers occurring on the road!

MORE ON SEASON OPENERS: Did you know that Cal State Fullerton has never opened a season with Long Beach State? The Titans have had 16 opening day opponents over the years, but none of them have been the 49ers. Stanford has had the privilege of being the Titans' first opponent 15 times in 36 years (the most by any team), but for just the 8th time in the history of the Fullerton baseball program, The Titans will not face the Cardinal during regular season play. TCU, Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, and St. Mary's are only other teams to play Fullerton more than once on opening day.

HOME OPENERS: The Titans have gone 31-5 all-time in the first home game of the year and 15-3 at Goodwin Field. Last year, the Titans dropped their home opener to Oregon, 7-3.

MORE ON SEASON OPENERS: Did you know that Cal State Fullerton has never opened a season with Long Beach State? The Titans have had 16 opening day opponents over the years, but none of them have been the 49ers. Stanford has had the privilege of being the Titans' first opponent 15 times in 36 years (the most by any team), but for just the 8th time in the history of the Fullerton baseball program, The Titans will not face the Cardinal during regular season play. TCU, Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, and St. Mary's are only other teams to play Fullerton more than once on opening day.

HOME OPENERS: The Titans have gone 31-5 all-time in the first home game of the year and 15-3 at Goodwin Field. Last year, the Titans dropped their home opener to Oregon, 7-3.

EVERYBODY SAYS SO: Cal State Fullerton is the unanimous favorite to win the Big West Conference according to the 9 Big West Coaches. The Titans claimed all nine first-place votes in the poll totaling 81 points and were followed by UC Irvine and UC Riverside, which tied for second with 65 points apiece. The poll was rounded out by Cal Poly (50), Long Beach State (47), UC Santa Barbara (36), Pacific (26), UC Davis (22) and Cal State Northridge (13). The Titans won their 24th Div. I conference championship in 2010 and have won at least a share of 8 of the last 12 Big West crowns. Last season, Fullerton won the Big West by a 4-game margin over Irvine by compiling a 21-3 conference mark and earned the league's automatic bid to the postseason.

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS: Juniors Nick and Noe Ramirez (no relation) are expected to be among the top college baseball players in the nation and have been tabbed by numerous organizations as Preseason All-Americans. Noe (RHP) is coming off an All-American campaign in 2010 that saw him post a 12-1 record with a 2.54 ERA despite missing some time with a broken wrist. He ranked in the Top 25 in the nation in both wins (5th, 12) and strikeouts (22nd, 119) and solidified a pitching staff that carried the Titans to within an out of the College World Series. Nick too, was an All-American as a utility player. He was a monster at the plate for the Titans in 2010 hitting .346 with 16 home runs and 75 RBI and led the Big West in both doubles (28) and RBI. He also posted the school's 8th longest hitting streak (20-games) and also saved 11 games on the mound, tying Mark Kotsay and Adam Jorgenson for the 7th-most saves in a Fullerton single-season. For his work on both sides of the ball, Ramirez was named a finalist for the inaugural John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. Noe has been named a preseason All-American by the NCBWA (1st Team), Collegiate Baseball (1st Team), and Baseball America (3rd Team). Nick has been recognized by NCBWA (3rd Team), Collegiate Baseball (2nd Team), Baseball America (3rd Team), Perfect Game (1st Team).

ALL-AMERICAN ARMS: Thanks to superb years from Noe Ramirez, Daniel Renken and Dylan Floro in 2010, the Titans extended their nation-best string of seasons with an All-American pitcher to 13. That is - by far - the longest streak in the nation. The last time the Titans did not have an All-American pitcher was 1997. Going back to 1992, the Titans have had at least one All-American pitcher in 18 of the last 19 seasons.

TEAM USA: Cal State Fullerton has been a pipeline of talent to USA baseball supplying 5 Olympians, 3 US National Team members, 19 Colleigate National Team members and a coach since 1984. Last summer, Noe Ramirez, Nick Ramirez and Dave Serrano represented the USA and Cal State Fullerton with the Collegiate National Team that won the silver medal at the V FISU Championships in Tokyo, Japan. Serrano became the first Titan head coach to serve on a Team USA coaching staff, serving as the pitching coach on Bill Kinneberg's (Utah) staff. Noe's summer was highlighted by helping to throw the Collegiate National Team's first no-no since 2009. he combined with Vanderbilt's Sonny Gray and TCU's Kyle Winlkler, to blank Korea at Coleman Field in Cary, North Carolina. He finished 0-0 with 5 saves and a 2.70 ERA in a team-high 9 appearances (all in relief). Nick batting .290 with a pair of home runs and 14 RBI in 16 games at first base. He also made 4 appearances on the mound, going 0-1 with a save and a 1.59 ERA in 5.2 innings.

BASEBALL AMERICA PRO RANKINGS: Baseball America has listed Titan right-handed pitchers Noe Ramirez (Junior) and Dylan Floro (Sophomore) and outfielder Michael Lorenzen (Freshman) among its Top 50 college players in each class with the greatest professional potential. Lorenzen (No. 18 of 50 freshmen) comes to Fullerton after bypassing a chance to go pro after high school when he was selected in the 7th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by Tampa Bay. He was a four-time All-Freeway League star for Fullerton HS and was named the league's MVP as a senior. Floro (No. 15 of 50 sophomores) is coming off a solid rookie campaign that saw him earn Freshman All-American status by two other organizations, after going 7-2 with a 3.26 ERA over 27 appearances in 2010. He had nearly a 7-to-1 strikeout o walk ratio and was named the Big West's Freshman Pitcher of the Year. Ramirez (No. 25 of 50 juniors) has been listed as a Baseball America All-American in each of his first two seasons with the Titans, and ranks 28th on the its Top 100 College Draft Prospects released Jan. 3. Ramirez finished 2010 12-1 with a 2.54 ERA and struck out 119 in 106.1 innings. He was named to the Big West's first team and was also a semi-finalist for the College Baseball Foundation's Pitcher of the Year Award. The right-hander also went on to compete with Team USA over the summer, taking home the silver medal in the FISU championships.

TOP 10 RECRUITING CLASS: The Titans placed in the Top 10 in two preseason recruiting polls done by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball in the Fall. Baseball America had Fullerton ranked No. 10 in the nation, while Collegiate Baseball had them at No. 8. Fourth-year Head Coach Dave Serrano and his staff will welcome eight freshman and seven junior college transfers to the program that finished within one out of a College World Series appearance in 2010. Headlining this year's class are a couple of Top 10 draft picks in freshman Michael Lorenzen and Cerritos College transfer Joe Terry. Lorenzen was a 7th round selection by the Tampa Bay Rays and ranks 140th in Baseball America's top prospects. Terry was an 8th round pick by the Chicago White Sox and looks to fill a spot in the lineup vacated by former Titan infielders Christian Colon and Corey Jones.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Six players on the current Titan roster have had family members come through the Cal State Fullerton baseball program. Anthony Hutting is the cousin of former Titan standout and current San Francisco Giant outfielder Aaron Rowand who played at Fullerton from 1996-1998. Richy Pedroza is the brother of former Titan outfielder Sergio Pedroza. The elder brother roamed the Goodwin Field outfield from 2003-2005. Tyler Pill is the younger brother of Brett Pill, who played first base from 2004-2006 and is now nearing a big-league call-up with the San Francisco Giants. Dylan Floro is the younger brother of current undergraduate assistant coach, Brock Floro, who pitched with the Titans in 2009. Austin Kingsolver's father, Kurt, was a national champion with the 1979 Titans. Chad Wallach is the son of CSF Hall of Famer and former Major League All-Star, Tim Wallach. Chad also is the younger brother of former Titan catcher/first baseman, Matt, who played at Fullerton in 2007.

HOME GROWN: Thirty-three of the Titans' 34 players list their hometown with the borders of the great state of California. Only one player, Spencer Ofelt, calls another state "home." Ofelt is from Puyallup, Wash., and comes to Fullerton as a transfer from Western Nevada College in Carson City, Nev.

CULTIVATING PROFESSIONAL TALENT: According to Baseball America's Aaron Fittt (thanks for the research), Cal State Fullerton has been a pipeline to the major league farm system over the past 11 years, producing 89 draft selections, 9 of which came in 2010. Behind the Fullerton is Arizona State (87, 10 in 2010) Rice (85, 7 in 2010), Long Beach State (77, 8 in 2010), and Miami (74, 5 in 2010), rounding out the Top 5.

DID YOU KNOW? The Titans are the 14th all-time winningest team (with a minimum of 25 years at the Div. I level) in the NCAA according to the 2011 NCAA Record Book with a .650 winning percentage (1772-949-14 over 45 season). The Titans are also the 10th winningest team of the 2000s in terms of winning percentage (.696 over 11 seasons) and are 7th in the nation in total victories in that same time frame with 488. Only Florida State, Rice, Texas, South Carolina, Wichita State and North Carolina have more total victories in the new century.

IN THE BIGS: Cal State Fullerton had 9 of its former players play in the majors last season and had its 48th player make his big league debut. Chad Cordero, Reed Johnson, Mark Kotsay, Mike Lamb, Vinnie Pestano, Ricky Romero, Aaron Rowand, Kurt Suzuki and Justin Turner each made their way into big league games in 2010, with Pestano making his first career appearance on Sept. 23.

PROMOTIONS FOR TITAN HALL OF FAMERS: Titan Hall of Famers and Golden Spike Award winners Tim Wallach (1978-79) and Phil Nevin (1990-92) have been promoted to new positions in professional baseball beginning in 2011. After two seasons as the Los Angeles Dodgers' AAA affiliate (Albuquerque Isotopes) manager, Wallach has been promoted to the major league club and will man the third base coaching box under new Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly. Nevin got his feet wet in the minors after coaching the independent Orange County Flyers of the Golden Baseball League in 2009. In 2010, Nevin managed the AA Erie SeaWolves in the Detroit Tiger organization and was promoted to manage the AAA Toledo Mud Hens in 2011. Nevin played three of his 12 major league seasons for the Tigers. In 1997, he and Matt Walbeck were traded from Detroit to the then-Anaheim Angels. Walbeck managed the same Erie team to the Eastern League playoffs in 2007.