Titans Host Gauchos This Weekend at Goodwin Field

April 15, 2011

PLAY BALL: Cal State Fullerton (24-9, 5-1) has risen to No. 8 in the nation and the top of the Big West Conference standings after winning a showdown weekend series with UC Irvine and a midweek game with Loyola Marymount on Tuesday. This weekend the Titans host a 3-game series with the only other team in league with less than 2 losses in UC Santa Barbara (14-13, 2-1).

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THIS WEEKEND IN TITAN BASEBALL:
Fri., Apr. 15 vs. UC Santa Barbara* (Goodwin Field), 7 p.m.
Follow the Game: GameTracker / Internet Audio / BigWest.tv
Pitching Match-up:
CSF - RHP, Noe Ramirez (5-2, 1.98 ERA)
UCSB - RHP, Jesse Meaux (2-3, 4.36 ERA)

Sat., Apr. 16 vs. UC Santa Barbara* (Goodwin Field), 6 p.m.
Follow the Game: GameTracker / Internet Audio / BigWest.tv
Pitching Match-up:
CSF - RHP, Jake Floethe (3-2, 2.22 ERA)
UCSB - RHP, Greg Davis (3-1, 3.38 ERA)

Sun., Apr. 17 vs. UC Santa Barbara* (Goodwin Field), 1 p.m.
Follow the Game: GameTracker / Internet Audio / BigWest.tv
Pitching Match-up:
CSF - RHP, Tyler Pill (4-0, 2.39 ERA)
UCSB - RHP, Matt Vedo (3-4, 4.84 ERA)

ON TUESDAY: Anthony Trajano and Carlos Lopez each had three hits to pace an 11-hit attack and Colin O'Connell faced just one batter over the minimum through 6.0 innings as the Titans shutout Loyola Marymount, 5-0. O'Connell allowed just two hits and struck out four while Raymond Hernandez, David Hurlbut and Chris Devenski combined for three scoreless innings to wrap things up. Nick Ramirez, Tyler Pill Carlos Lopez and Blake Barber each drove in a run as the Titans won the season series with their fourth shutout of the year. The Titan won the first game on Mar. 1, 5-1, and the teams will meet again on May 18.

LAST WEEK: Fullerton's 9-game winning streak ended unceremoniously on Friday night in a 15-3 loss to the Anteaters. UCI jumped out to a 12-0 lead on Jake Floethe, David Hurlbut and Ryan Ackland before the Titans even had a hit. But Fullerton came back to win 2-1 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday before a national ESPNU television audience.

The week began with a come-from-behind 13-3 win on Tuesday over Pepperdine. Carlos Lopez drove in 5 runs and Richy Pedroza had a tie-breaking 3-run triple all in a 9-run fourth inning that obliterated a 3-0 lead by the Waves against Colin O'Connell. The Titans' bullpen didn't allow a run with Hurlbut getting the win and Raymond Hernandez fanning the side looking in his inning of work.

Big West pitcher of the week Noe Ramirez went 7.2 innings for the Saturday win with Dylan Floro getting the last out in the eighth and Nick Ramirez saving his seventh game with a scoreless ninth. The Titans managed only four hits but cashed them in with Nick's sacrifice fly in the first and an unearned run in the fifth.

Sunday's game featured some outstanding outfield play by both teams with the Titan bullpen outperforming UCI's. Freshman rightfielder Michael Lorenzen was the star of the game. His 3-run triple in the fifth erased a 4-2 lead that UCI had manufactured in the top half against starter Tyler Pill, who had been perfect through three innings and fanned six through four innings. Lorenzen then made a spectacular catch in the sixth to preserve a 6-4 lead. He ranged far to his left and made a diving, sliding catch in the right-field corner to rob UCI's Jordan Leyland of an extra-base hit and RBI. An inning later Lorenzen came rushing in and made a diving catch to deny Brian Hernandez a hit.

Floro got the win with 4.2 innings of scoreless relief. UCI used five relievers and only one was effective.

NOE NAMED CO-PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Right-hander Noe Ramirez was named the Big West Conference's Co-Pitcher of the Week after his Apr. 9 victory against conference rival UC Irvine. Ramirez logged his fifth win of the season with a 7.2 inning, 9-strikeout effort against nationally ranked Irvine in the crucial middle game of the three-game conference series at Goodwin Field. The East Los Angeles native scattered just seven hits while walking just one. He faced just one over the minimum over his final 4.2 innings and gave up his only run in the second inning on two of the seven Irvine hits. The clutch effort lowered his ERA to a measly 1.98 and improved his strikeout to walk ratio to over 6-to-1 (64-to-10). This is his fifth career weekly honor and the second consecutive pitcher of the week nod for the Titans this season.

ANOTHER STRONG PERFORMANCE: Rookie rightfielder Michael Lorenzen helped spark the Titans to a 3-1 record last week with both his bat, glove and arm. On the week, Lorenzen hit .417 (5-for-12) with four RBI, had a key assist in the outfield, and also made two sparking diving catches on national television as the Titans clinched the series with conference rival UC Irvine. In that game, his bases-loaded clearing triple to left was the game-winner in the fifth helping the Titans to a four-run fifth inning erasing Irvine's 4-2 lead. His highlight-reel catch came in the sixth preserving the Titans' 6-4 lead and took away extra bases and an RBI. He had another diving catch in the seventh. Saturday night his arm was the star as with a slim, 2-1 lead, he cut down Jonathan Hurst at second with one out in the seventh inning trying to leg out a double. On Friday, the outfielder collected two of the Titans' six hits on the night and drove in one of the three with a sharp single late in the game. In Tuesday night's win, Lorenzen went 1-for-2 and scored a run, but before the game became a blowout, his sacrifice bunt but the game-tying runs (that eventually came around) into scoring position.

VERSUS THE GAUCHOS: The Titans and Gauchos have met a total of 122 times dating back to 1976 with Fullerton holding a 90-32 all-time advantage. A good majority of their meetings (116 games) have come in Big West Conference/PCAA play with Titans posting a 87-29 record. The Titans are 46-16 at ohm and have won the last three series against the Gauchos. UCSB's last series win over Fullerton came in 2007 when they took 2 of 3 from the Titans at Goodwin Field. Last year, the Titans won the last two games of the series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, 17-3 and 6-1. The Gauchos took game one of the series, 5-3 behind a 8.2 inning performance b Mario Hollands and a 2-run home run by Gunnar Terhune. Kyle Mertins made the start for Fullerton in place of Noe Ramirez who had just suffered a broken wrist. The Titans have won 6 of their last 7 against the Gauchos.

TITAN TIDBITS:
&\#149; Who is the team's best 2-out hitter you ask? Carlos Lopez is. The DH/OF is hitting .348 (8-for-23) and has collected 10 of his 18 RBI with the Titans down to their final out in an inning. As a team, Fullerton is hitting just .196 with two down.

&\#149; Since returning to the line-up on an everyday basis (Mar. 18), two-way player Tyler Pill is hitting .310 over that span going 17-for-55 with four doubles, a triple and 9 RBI (in 17 games). In that timeframe, Pill has also hit for himself on pitching days and has goon 4-for-13 (.307) with two runs scored and one driven in over four games. In his career, Pill is hitting .441 (15-for-34) on days he pitches.

&\#149; In his last four starts on the mound, Tyler Pill has gone 3-0 with 2.45 ERA with a staggering 17-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio having struck out 34 while walking just two. Within his last three starts, Pill has tied his career high in strikeouts of 11 two times (in Hawaii and Davis).

&\#149;The Titans month-by-month: FEB - 4-3 record, .261 batting average and 2.86 ERA; MAR - 13-5 record, .260 batting average and 2.54 ERA; APR - 7-1 record, .320 batting average and 2.00 ERA.

&\#149;Since the 0-4 road trip to Baton Rouge, La., and College Station, Tex., the Titans are winners in 16 of 18 games, going 8-2 at home and 8-0 on the road. Jared Deacon leads the team with a .359 batting average (14-for-39), Anthony Trajano leads the team with 22 hits (.349), Nick Ramirez has collected 17 of his 25 RBI, all four of his home runs and 4 of his 7 saves, and the team is hitting .298 as a collective group. The Titan pitchers have also posted a 2.36 ERA and close to a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (138-to-38) over that span.

&\#149;Jared Deacon has the team's longest hitting streak at 7 games. Over that span, the Titan catcher is 9-for-21 (.429) with four runs scored and 3 RBI. Over the 8-game span (he played one game on the defensive side only), Deacon has an on-base percentage of .500 and has sacrificed a team-leading 3 times while providing perfect defense behind the plate in 58 total chances.

&\#149;Shortstop Richy Pedroza (shoulder) and third baseman Joe Terry (wrist) have missed the last three games due to injuries sustained in the Friday night game of the UC Irvine series. Both are listed as "day-to-day". Pedroza has not participated in any of the three games, while Terry pinch-ran later in the series with the Anteaters. Anthony Trajano is filling in at shortstop and Blake Barber has been a mainstay at third.

THE LONG (BALL) AND THE SHORT OF IT: Nick Ramirez's leading the team with 4 home runs leads to the question, what is the fewest number of home runs a Titan player has hit to lead the team. The answer is 5. The last time that happened was in 2002 when David Fischer, Geoff Comfort and Chris Stringfellow each hit 5 round trippers. It happened two other times with Andy Pasillas and Mike Casarez hitting five in 1975 and again in 1976 with Jim Irvine.

ENTERING THE TOP 10: With his home run against UC irvine on Apr. 8, Nick Ramirez blasted his 30th career tater tying fellow first baseman Aaron Rifkin (1999-01) for 10th place on Fullerton's career Top 10. Next up for Ramirez is No. 9, currently held by former infielder Ryan Owens (1997-99) with 34 home runs. Owens hit a lofty 23 home runs in 1999. The most long balls hit in a Titan career came off the bat of Mark Pirruccello from 1979-82. He belted 50 homers in his four-year career.

SAVES: Nick Ramirez's 25 career saves at Cal State Fullerton ranks 5th all-time among Titan closers. Ramirez surpassed Adam Jorgenson and Kirk Saarloos (current Titan assistant coach) in Hawaii and now trials former hurlers Ted Silva (26, 1993-95) and Vinnie Pestano (27, 2004-06) for fourth and third place, respectively.

NEW BATS, NEW RECORDS: At season's end we will see the true effect the new BBCOR bat restrictions have made on the college game. Though it doesn't necessarily relate to bating average, it might be causing a dip in the Titans' team average (.275) that if the season ended today, would be tied for the worst average in school history. As far as the long ball, it has made quite an impact. Through 25 games, the Titans have hit just 9 home runs as a team which would pace them to finish with just 15 home run-in a 56-game schedule. Fullerton has never finished with fewer than 28 home runs (1975) in any season. The NCAA released a report that shows the downward trend in college baseball offense with the new bat standards that began in 2011. The numbers reflect home runs per game, runs per game, batting average, ERA and shutouts at comparable time periods in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. The finding show that home runs (0.85 to 0.47), runs per game (6.98 to 5.63) batting average (.301 to .279) and ERA (5.83 to 4.62) are down from 2010, and the number of shutouts have shot up from 277 to 444. Fullerton is currently averaging 0.28 home runs per game, 5.49 runs per game, has a .275 batting average, a 2.47 ERA and has tallied four shutouts.

TAKING A DOS: The Titans have been hit by 57 pitches through 33 games (9th in the nation), putting them on pace to near the century mark by season's end. If they reach the 100 HBP plateau, it will be just the sixth time in school history that will have happened. Fullerton holds three of the top 20 records in NCAA history when it comes to HBPs and rank as high as 6th all-time with 124 doses in 2009.

RACKING UP THE SACS: The Titans are also on pace to near the 100 plateau when it comes to sacrifice bunts. As it stands, Fullerton has given itself up 55 times through the first half of the season. Only four teams in the history of the NCAA have recorded 100 or more sacrifice bunts. Fullerton is currently second in the nation behind West Virginia (56) in sacrifice bunts. Matt Orloff (9), Austin Kingsolver (8) and Jared Deacon (7) and Matt Orloff (6) are leading the way in sacrifice bunts with seven more players with three or more.