Heated Rivalry Continues Friday Night

March 23, 2006

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

THIS WEEK: Mar. 21 vs. Pepperdine @ Goodwin Field, 6 p.m. (GT, WEB)
Mar. 24 vs. Long Beach State @ Goodwin Field, 7 p.m. (GT, WEB)
Mar. 25 vs. Long Beach State @ Goodwin Field, 6 p.m. (GT, WEB)
Mar. 26 vs. Long Beach State @ Goodwin Field, 1 p.m. (GT, WEB)

Game times listed are all Pacific Standard Time.
(GT ) Game Tracker, (WEB) Audio on fullertontitans.com,
(KSPA) Audio on AM 1510

ON DECK: The Titans jumped three spots in the Baseball America national poll to No. 4 on the strength of a 3-game weekend series sweep at in Tucson, Ariz. versus the University of Arizona. Fullerton had won eight games in a row and 17 of 20 before losing a midweek tilt with No. 21 Pepperdine on Tuesday evening at Goodwin Field... This weekend, the Titans host cross-town foe Long Beach State in a non-conference, three-game series with the 49ers. Long Beach is fresh off getting swept by ranked Wichita State dropping its record to 12-12 on the season, also falling out of the top 25 in the national polls ...The always-dangerous Long Beach squad, led by Head Coach Mike Weathers (4th season), is 6-8 against ranked teams this season and are 5-5 away from Blair Field.

VERSUS THE 49ERS: Cal State Fullerton is just two games shy of winning their 100th game against the cross-town rivals, going into Friday night's contest at 98-53 all-time versus the 49ers since 1975. In the George Horton era, Fullerton has a light edge over the 49ers, with a 31-28 advantage. The two squads have met up in the post season four times, three in the now-defunct Big West conference Tournament (Titans lead 2-1), and once in the 2002 Regionals. The 49ers knocked the Titans out with a 4-0 victory at the Stanford Regional in Palo Alto on June 2, 2002.

Last season Fullerton and Long Beach split the season series with each team taking two of three at their own yard. Long Beach won the first meeting as the No. 29 team in the country, beating the Titans at Blair Field in the non-conference match up. Fullerton took a pair in the second-to-the-last regular season series, against the then-No. 10 team in the country with the conference tile on the line.

Lost, 3-2, Mar. 24 @ Blair Field
LP - Ricky Romero (5-2)

Won, 5-4, Mar 25 @ Blair Field
WP - Vinnie Pestano (2-1)

Lost, 3-2, May 26 @ Blair Field
LP - Wes Roemer (0-1)

Won, 7-2, May 20 @ Goodwin Field
WP - Ricky Romero (11-4)

Lost, 5-1, May 21 @ Goodwin Field
WP - Wes Roemer (5-3)

Won, 10-0, May 22 @ Goodwin Field
WP - Scott Sarver (9-2)

ABOUT THE 49ERS: Long Beach State comes to Fullerton looking to right their ship after being swept by Wichita State last weekend, 9-0, 8-7, 10-7. The sweep dropped them to 12-12 on the season and knocked them completely out of the top 25 in the national polls. The 49ers are led offensively by shortstop Evan Longoria (.354, 4 HR, 15 RBI) while Jared Hughes (4-1, 3.66 ERA), Andrew Carpenter (3-1, 2.92 ERA) and Donnie Hume (0-2, 3.18 ERA and 4 SV) lead Long Beach from the mound.

LAST WEEK: Continued strong starting pitching and clutch relief work by Ryan Paul and Vinnie Pestano (3 saves) carried the Titans on what became a cold and rainy weekend in Tucson with Sunday's game delayed twice for more than an hour.

Wes Roemer got his fifth win Friday night, 6-4, after the Titans erupted for 4 runs in the fifth inning. Blake Davis' 2-run triple was the big blow. Roemer continued his season-long walkless streak and now has issued no free passes while striking out 50 in 52.1 innings. Pestano pitched a scoreless ninth inning despite allowing the potential tying runs to reach base.

Lauren Gagnier flirted with a no-hitter into the sixth inning on his way to a 5-3 victory, his fifth, on Saturday. He went seven innings and allowed only two hits. Justin Turner's 2-run home run triggered the Titans' offense, that was operating without Danny Dorn as the senior outfielder remained home with a shoulder injury. Pestano again flirted with disaster as he allowed two singles and a wild pitch to put the tying runs in scoring position with no outs in the ninth. But a come-backer, a strikeout and a grounder to first ended the threat.

On Sunday, Dustin Miller pitched 8 innings of 3-hit ball to get a 5-3 victory, his fifth, around the weather when the Titans scored twice in the ninth. Turner, whose solo homer tied the game at 3-3 in the seventh, doubled in the go-ahead run and he then scored on a single by Davis, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Pestano got his eighth save when he recorded the final two outs after Paul fanned the leadoff man in the bottom of the ninth.

AGAINST THE WAVES: An eight-game Fullerton winning streak was snapped Tuesday night as Chad Tracy and the No. 21 Pepperdine Waves came into town and downed the Titans, 7-4, in a midweek pairing at Goodwin Field. Tracy almost single-handedly took care of the Titans going 3-for-4 with 2 home runs and four RBI. Four Titan errors proved costly as the final three led to three unearned runs to give the Waves the edge. Vinnie Pestano, who recorded jut one out in the game was the only Titan arm to go unscored upon. Bryan Harris was the hard-luck loser, giving up three unearned runs, falling to 0-2. Waves pitcher Barry Enright tossed 6.1 innings to earn his fifth win of the season and fourth against ranked opponents. Blake Davis extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a third inning single to center field.

BY GEORGE, I THINK HE'S GOT IT!: George Horton will be skippering his 600th Titan game this Friday as Head Coach of the Titans. Entering Friday night's contest, Horton sits at 419-179-1 all-time as the manager, good for a .700 winning percentage in his tenth season at the helm.

NO FREE RIDES: Titan Friday night starter Wes Roemer has quite an amazing streak going to begin the 2006 season. It is not the perfect 5-0 record the sophomore has recorded, its not the 7.1 innings pitched per start he has averaged over his 1.5 season career, it's that he has gone 52.1 innings and 50 strikeouts this season without walking a batter! This year's streak is the best in the nation, but the overall streak is held by Kentucky's Greg Dombrowski, who is leading Wes by two-thirds of an inning (Roemer is at 52.2 since his final game of 2005) at 53.1 dating back to last season. Dombrowski's streak in 2006 has spanned 35.2 innings.

WHO'S HOT:

John Curtis: 7-for-16 (.438) with two doubles and 2 RBI over the last five games.

Justin Turner: leads the team with eight hits over the last five games including two doubles, two home runs and five RBI. He has also swiped two bases.

Evan McArthur: The junior third baseman is five for his last 13 including a home run and three RBI in the last five games.

Blake Davis: The shortstop has posted a .333 average, going 6-for-18 over the last five contests driving in four. The junior joined David Bacani, Shane Costa, Mark Kotsay and Ronnie Prettyman with 11 career triples, good for a tie for second all-time behind former Titan Dante Powell.

Vinnie Pestano: "Hurricane" has made five appearances out of the pen in the last five games collecting three saves without allowing a run in 5.1 innings of work. He has also struck out seven batters and has held opponents to a .200 average. Ryan Paul: the southpaw reliever has made three appearances as the setup man to Pestano, striking out six hitters in 2.1 Innings of work over the last five Titan games. The lefty has also allowed just one unearned run over that span.

Lauren Gagnier: The reliever-turned-starter (reliever from 2004-05) has made the most of his outings as of late, going 2-0 over 14 innings of work, posting a itsy-bitsy 0.64 ERA in his last two starts. The righty has given up just one run on four hits, striking out 12 over that span, walking just two.

CLIMBING THE LADDER: Pitcher Vinnie Pestano continues his climb to move into the upper echelon of Titan closers entering this weekend versus Long Beach with 22 career saves. The side-armer is now just four away from passing Volunteer Assistant Coach Ted Silva's mark of 26. Including Pestano, there are only five Titan hurlers to surpass the 20 career-save mark in the history of the program. Pestano, with his eight saves this season, has passed the likes of Mark Kotsay (14 saves from 1994-96), Mark Chavez (15 saves from 1995-96), Chris Robinson (16 from 1988-91) and currently sits in fourth place all-time with Kirk Saarloos.

No Titan since David Bacani has seen more at bats than Justin Turner, who, with 99 so far this season, moves into fourth place all-time on the career leader board with 820 behind Shane Turner (848) at No. 3. If Turner remains healthy, he is likely to be No. 2 by the end of his four-year career... Turner has also jumped to the No. 3 spot all time in assists, passing Jack Jones (493 assists from 1994-96) with 532... Form the Black and Blue file, "Red" has moved up to No. 4 in the career-hit by pitch top ten, as he has been plunked seven times on the season and 44 times in his career. He is one behind former first baseman C.J. Ankrum (hit 45 times between 1995-97) who sits at No. 3.

Danny Dorn may likely have the dubious honor of having the record for the most career strikeouts if patterns stay the way they are. Dorn, with 12 on the year thus far and 156 in his career, has passed Aaron Rifkin (148 from 1999-2001) and sits just three behind the leader Ryan Owens (159 from 1997-99) for the all-time lead.

MOST IMPROVED: If an award were to be given out today, catcher John Curtis would likely be up for the Most Improved Award. Curtis has never hit better than .234 in either of his first two seasons with the Titans, but this season is hitting .309 and is among the team leaders in RBI with 15. The catcher who also allowed 32 of 44 runners to seal a base off him in 2005 has shot down five of the 10 who have dared swipe a base in 2006.

EXTRA, EXTRA: Junior first baseman Brett Pill has amassed a team-leading 13 extra-base hits to lead the team. 45 percent of his hits (13 of 29) have gone for either a double (team-leading 10), triple (1), or home run (2). Last season the big right-handed hitter had 12 doubles, 2 triples and nine home runs accounting for 27 percent of his hit total.

THE TITANS AT HOME: The Titans are 10-2 in Games played in Fullerton this season, including series sweeps over UCLA, UNLV and East Carolina...A trio of Titans, John Curtis (.467), Justin Turner (.440) and David Cooper (.406) have all posted averages of .400 and above in games played at Goodwin Field. The senior Turner has a team-leading 22 hits in the 12 games played at home, while Cooper is leading with 15 RBI in that same span. Though he is hitting just .219, Brandon Tripp has all three of his team-leading home runs at Goodwin Filed...The Titan pitching staff has also been excellent at home posting a 2.33 ERA led by Vinnie Pestano (0.00), Wes Roemer (0.53) ad Lauren Gagnier (1.23). Gagnier is leading the staff in strikeouts at home with 24 in 29 innings.

RAT'S STREAK: Blake Davis extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a third inning single to center, the longest streak by any Titan this season. The junior shortstop is leading the team in hitting over the 14-game span, collecting a team-high 21 hits in 53 at bats, good for a .396 average. He also is tied with David Cooper with 10 RBI over the streak that has gone on since Feb. 25 versus UCLA.

GOING, GOING, GONE: After hitting just four home runs in the month of February, The Titans have brought their season total to 13 by launching nine thus far in the month of March. Brandon Tripp, Justin Turner and Jared Clark have all hit a pair of round trippers this month upping the Titan's projected 56-game total to 30. Just one team in the 31-year history of Div. IU baseball has hit less than 30 and that was the 1975 Titans that featured an All-Big West Conference first baseman in George Horton.