No. 7 Titans Hit the Road to Take on No. 4 Rice

March 2, 2006

Cal State Fullerton Baseball Notes

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Overall Record: 9-4
Big West Conference: 0-0
Versus Ranked Teams: 1-3
Last Week: 3-0
This Week: 1-0
Last Five Games: 4-1
Last 10 Games: 9-1
Streak: Won 4

Last Week:
Win (7-2) vs. UCLA, Feb. 24
Win (3-1) vs. UCLA, Feb. 25
Win (12-6) vs. UCLA, Feb. 26

This Week:
Win (5-0) @ No. 12 Pepperdine, Feb. 28
Fri., Mar. 3, @ No. 4 Rice -- 5 p.m. at Reckling Park (GT, WEB)
Sat., Mar. 4, @ No. 4 Rice -- Noon at Reckling Park (GT, WEB, KSPA)
Sun., Mar 5, @ No. 4 Rice -- 11 a.m. at Reckling Park (GT, WEB, KSPA)

Game times listed are all Pacific Standard Time.
GT - GameTracker, WEB - Audio on fullertontitans.com, KSPA - Audio on AM 1510

ON THE AIR: All of the Cal State Fullerton baseball games in 2006 will be broadcast live via the web on fullertontitans.com by the voice of the Titans Justin Alderson. Also, in conjunction with Alderson Broadcasting, select Titan games will be broadcast on KSPA radio and can be heard on AM 1510. You can also follow most games via GameTracker on fullertontitans.com with a simple click of your mouse. Just point your browser to our web site and follow the links form there.

BATTER UP: The Titans will be put to the test versus their second ranked opponent of the week as they open a three-game series against the No. 4 Owls of Rice University. Fullerton knocked off the No. 12 Pepperdine Waves earlier this week with a 5-0 shutout at Eddy D. Field Stadium, improving to just 1-3 against ranked teams.

ABOUT THE OWLS: Rice is riding a five-game winning streak and is coming off a championship of their own tournament that featured Texas State, Nebraska and St. John's. The Owls went 3-0 over the weekend and improved to 10-2 on the year. Rice defeated Sam Houston State in a midweek affair, 9-3. Rice is competing in Conference USA for the first time in 2006 and was unanimously pick to win the conference by the CUSA coaches. Two-time national coach of the year, Wayne Graham is in his 15th season at the helm of the Owls, posting an overall 638-259 record as the Rice head coach.

AGAINST THE WAVES: Danny Dorn went 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI and six pitchers held the Pepperdine offense scoreless, as the Titans picked up their first victory over a ranked team this season Tuesday afternoon. David Cooper and Justin Turner both extended their hitting streaks to 13 and 12 games respectively. Justin Klipp (1-0) was credited with the win as the staff allowed just seven hits and retired the last 14 Waves to walk up to the plate.

LAST WEEK: The Titans jumped two spots to No. 7 in the Baseball America poll after sweeping UCLA last weekend in a split-series at Jackie Robinson Stadium and Goodwin Field. It was the Titans second sweep of 2006 and their third consecutive series win.

Freshman David Cooper (Stockton, Calif.) singled home the game-winning run in the top of the sixth inning to extend his then-10-game hitting streak in the series opener and leading the Titans to an eventual 7-2 win. Wes Roemer improved to a perfect 3-0, working into the ninth inning before being lifted for John Estes who finished the game. Estes increased his scoreless inning streak to 17.1 (dating back to his first appearance last season) and Roemer, who struck out two, improved to 28 strikeouts without a walk this season.

Lauren Gagnier pitched a career-high 8 innings and racked-up a career-high 8 strikeouts in Saturday night's 3-1 victory at Goodwin Field. Gagnier retired 10 of the last 12 Bruins he faced and improved to 3-1. It was a wild pitch by UCLA starter Dave Huff in the bottom of the eighth that broke a 1-1 tie, allowing Justin Turner to score the go-ahead run. Cooper drove in the other two runs, again extending his streak with an RBI-single, and Vinnie Pestano converted his third save in as many chances with a scoreless ninth.

Turner, Blake Davis, Brandon Tripp and Evan McArthur each collected a pair of hits and Dustin Miller went 6 innings to earn his second win of the year as the Titans went on to beat the Bruins 12-6 in the series finale. Miller had not made a start since the 2003 Super Regionals. Both Cooper and Turner extended their hitting streaks to 12 and 11 games respectively.

ON THE ROAD: Fullerton evened their road record at 3-3 with a win Tuesday afternoon at Pepperdine digging out of the 0-3 deficit they started 2006 with at Stanford. Since the opening series in Palo Alto, the Titans have been victorious at UC Irvine, UCLA and Pepperdine. The last and only time the Titans visited Houston to meet the Owls, the Titans took a three-game series 2 games to 1, 8-3 (7), 4-6 and 7-2 in 1991.

VERSUS THE OWLS: Cal State Fullerton is 6-2 all-time versus Rice since their first meeting in 1990, and of those eight games, four have been played in NCAA Regional play. Fullerton is 3-1 in the tournament against Rice, as the two teams have played the spoiler for each other in their last two meetings. The 1995 National Champion Titans eliminated the Owls in the Baton Rouge Regional, 8-7, while the Owls knocked the Titans out a year later in the 1996 Wichita State Regional with a 13-10 win.

THE LAST 10 GAMES: Over the last 10 games the Titans are 9-1 and are hitting .324 collectively as a team. The offense is averaging 11 hits and 7.4 runs over that period. The pitching staff has a 2.40 ERA with opponents hitting just .217 against it.

STREAKING TITANS: Reliever John Estes has been used sparingly over his career as a Titan, but the big southpaw has put together a bit of a streak over the past two seasons. Estes has tossed 17.1 consecutive innings in relief dating back to his first appearance of 2005 where he allowed just one earned run on Mar. 1 at San Diego State. John has struck out 13 in his 15 appearances during the streak. So far in 2006, Estes has pitched 6.0 innings and has struck out six in five appearances, holding the opposing batters to a .056 batting average.

Freshman David Cooper is amidst a season-long 13-game hitting streak and is hitting a team-leading .395 with 15 hits in 38 at bats thus far. The rookie is leading the team with 5 doubles and 12 RBI. Cooper is also making quite an impression going 4-for-5 in pinch-hitting appearances, including a 4/19 pinch hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to extend his streak to a then-nine games. Cooper was 0-for-3 with three groundouts before an eighth- inning double extended his streak to where it stands at 13 games.

Senior Justin Turner is also posting a formidable streak, just one game behind Cooper with a 12-game streak. Over the streak, Turner is hitting a team-leading .417 going 20-for-48, and has picked up a knock in all but the first game of the season. The second baseman is leading the team in total hits with 20 and stolen bases with four.

PESTANO AND THE PEN: Closer Vinnie Pestano has converted all three of his save opportunities, picking up one against UNLV, UC Irvine and UCLA. Pestano has been dominant so far this season, collecting nine strikeouts in 7.0 innings without allowing a run. Pestano and the entire bullpen have been fabulous through the first nine games posting a 1.77 ERA in 45.2 innings. Six of the nine Titan relievers used have not allowed an earned run, with only Dustin Miller, Bryan Harris and Adam Jorgenson surrendering them. Opposing hitters are batting just .199 against them.

FRIDAY NIGHTS ALRIGHT FOR PITCHING: Sophomore Wes Roemer continues to prove he is the right guy in the Friday night slot, going 3-0 in four starts, allowing just six runs in 29 innings (1.86 ERA) so far this season. The righty has accumulated 28 strikeouts without allowing a free pass to opposing hitters. The 2005 Big West Conference Freshman Pitcher of the Year has said he would rather hit a guy than walk a guy, which might explain his place in the Titan record book. Roemer hit 18 batters as a freshman, setting the all-time single-season record for a Titan pitcher. In his two seasons with the Titans, Roemer has averaged 7.1 innings per start and is 10-3 in 14 starts.

SETTING CAREER-HIGHS: For the second week in a row, Santa Cruz, Calif. native Lauren Gagnier set career highs in both innings pitched and strikeouts, going 8 innings and striking out 8 last Saturday night against the UCLA Bruins. Already the former reliever's 28.1 innings matches a career-high pitched in a season for the junior and is just four off his career high mark of 27 strikeouts in a season.

ONE AND DONE: Reliever Ryan Paul has made five appearances out of the bull pen with four of those opportunities coming to just one batter. Paul has been successful at retiring those batters in three of the four opportunities, walking just one batter. Paul did get the opportunity to extend himself going one full inning of his two total innings on the year last weekend versus UCLA.

LOOKING UP FOR CURTIS: Perhaps the most improved hitter on the team has been catcher John Curtis. The left-handed hitter hit just .208 and .234 in his first two seasons with the Titans but has put up much-improved numbers thus far in 2006. Curtis is hitting .289 (11-for-38) over the first 13 games of the season including a double and 9 RBI.

LACK OF POWER SERG: With the loss of last year's slugger Sergio Pedroza (16 HR), the Titans have been struggling in the power department, tallying just four homers in the first 13 games. Junior Brett Pill is leading this year's club with two. Last year's team blasted 59 home runs in 64 games while the `06 team is on pace for just 18! Evan McArthur and Brandon Tripp have the other two Titan homers. The Titans have never hit less than 43 round-trippers in a season and are looking for some warmer weather to get back on track. Augie Garrido's 1991 team (the last Titan team to miss the Regionals) hit 43 home runs in 56 games.