Nine Conference Games Left: Titans Head to UCSB

Nine Conference Games Left: Titans Head to UCSB

May 4, 2006

Cal State Fullerton Baseball
33-11 overall record, 10-2 in the Big West Conference

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The focus can go on this weekend's series at UC Santa Barbara and winning the Big West Conference championship for the Titans now that they have had the No. 1 national ranking and target removed from their backs after a month's stay atop the Baseball America national poll.

Fri., May 5 vs. UCSB* @ Caesar-Uyesaka Stadium, 2 p.m. (GT, WEB)
Sat., May 6 vs. UCSB* @ Caesar-Uyesaka Stadium, 1 p.m. (GT, WEB, KSPA)
Sun., May 7 vs. UCSB* @ Caesar-Uyesaka Stadium, 1 p.m. (GT, WEB, KSPA)

GT = follow the game on GameTracker
WEB = broadcast on the internet at
KSPA = Game broadcast on AM 1510
* indicates Big West Conference game.

May 28: Regional SITES will be announced at 12:30 p.m. PDT on ESPN news.
May 29: Regional brackets will be revealed on ESPN at 9:30 a.m.
June 2-5: Regional competition
June 6: Press release to announce Super Regional sites, approximately 11 a.m. PDT
June 9-11 or June 10-12: Super Regional competition

ABOUT THE GAUCHOS: Head Coach Bob Brontsema is in his 13th year as the head coach for UCSB and has compiled a 341-341 record (.500). The Gauchos are led with the bat by Alden Carrithers (.370 BA, .478 OBP, 46 Runs) and Chris Valaika (.348 BA, 32 Runs, 40 RBI 7 HR) Valaika played at Hart HS with Titan catcher John Curtis and was named to the Wallace Watch List for 2006. Justin Segal (1.90 ERA in 25 appearances, 5-2 with 4 saves in 42.2 innings) is leading the way from the mound. As a team, UC Santa Barbara is hitting .280 while their pitching staff has a combined 5.09 ERA in 344.2 IP. UCSB is 11-7 while playing at home and 16-16 playing day games. They have scored 10-plus runs in 7 games this year, going 6-1 in those games.

VERSUS THE GAUCHOS: The Titans are 80-27 against the Gauchos all-time (since 1976) and have 12 wins in their last 13 meetings. Last season, the Titans swept the Gauchos in three games at Goodwin Field by scores of 9-1, 10-5 and 16-2. In 2005 Fullerton out-hit Santa Barbara 41-21 and out-scored them 35-8.

RED ALERT: Having spent four years in a Titan uniform, Justin "Red" Turner is leaving his mark on the career record book. The senior second baseman has been an iron-man of sorts playing in every game this season at second base. Earlier this season, he broke his way into the top ten in games played and has steadily moved his way up to No. 5 with 232 games played. He is just four behind former second baseman David Bacani (236 from 1998-2001). If he remains healthy, he will likely finish No. 2 all-time behind leader John Fishel. Fishel played in a NCAA record 295 games from 1982-85.

Red is also sitting in third place all-time in at bats. With four at bats this weekend at Santa Barbara, Red will hold the No. 2 spot, again behind NCAA record holder, John Fishel, who amassed 1114 at bats from 1982-85.

Turner, one of three Titans to ever surpass the 500-assist mark, has posted a team-leading 120 this season, holding him steady at the No. 3 spot for his career.

Turner is also now tied with C.J. Ankrum, former Titan first baseman, for third on the all-time list in getting hit. Justin has been hit a team-leading eight times this season, good for 45 in his career.

DUBIOUS HONORS: Senior Danny Dorn stuck out in his last plate appearance last Sunday afternoon tying him with former Titan infielder Ryan Owens for the most strikeouts in a career at Cal State Fullerton. It is likely just a matter of time before the senior picks up his 160 career K, which will give him the all-time lead. Dorn will have set the dubious record over four seasons, while his predecessor did it in just three...Wes Roemer is just one hit batter away from tying the single-season record for hit batters (18), a record he set last season as a freshman.

JUST ADDED: Sophomore pitcher Wes Roemer was named to the Roger Clemens Award Watch List this week, joining him with Titan closer Vinnie Pestano, vying for the award that goes to the nation's top pitcher each year. Roemer is currently 8-1 with a 1.91 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 99 2/3 innings. Pestano, a side-armed junior, is 1-1 with a 0.82 ERA in 33 innings of relief work, amassing 12 saves.

TITANS IN THE NATIONAL STATS (for games through 4/30):
&\#149; Lauren Gagnier is tied for the national lead in wins with 10.
&\#149; Dustin Miller is tied for 5th in the country with 9 wins
&\#149; Vinnie Pestano is tied for 6th in the country with 12 saves
&\#149; Wes Roemer is tied for 24thth in the country with 8 wins
&\#149; Wes Roemer is 27th in the country with a 1.91 ERA

FULLERTON IN THE NATIONAL STATS (for games through 4/30):
&\#149; Fullerton has the best ERA in the country at 2.52
&\#149; Fullerton ranks 3rd in the country in Fielding Percentage at .979
&\#149; Fullerton has the 12th-best W/L Percentage at .757

SITTING DEAD-RED: Justin "Red" Turner hit his seventh career home run on Sunday, but his first ever at home. His three-run job put the game way out of hand at 11-3, as the Titans went on to win the conference series improving to 10-2 in league.

SERIES BUSINESS: Fullerton posted its 11th weekend series win in 13 opportunities with a 2-1 series win over UC Riverside last weekend.. Seven of their series wins were the result of a 3-0 sweep by the Titans. Fullerton has dropped just two series, one to Stanford (0-3) and the other to Rice (1-2), with both losses in Houston coming with tie games going into the ninth inning.

SEEING TRIPLE AGAIN: Blake Davis extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a triple in the third inning of Sunday afternoon's affair with UC Riverside. With triples on back-to-back days, the Titan shortstop moved into the No. 2 all-time position behind Dante Powell for most career triples by a Titan. Davis now has 13 career three-baggers. He now trails Powell by five for the top spot.

IN A PINCH: George Horton's bench has been very productive, pinch-hitting at a .368 clip as a team (21-for-57). Part-time designated hitter, David Cooper, has contributed seven of those 21 hits himself, failing to get a hit just twice. Cooper is 7-for-9 (.778) from the bench, followed by Jared Clark, Matt Fahey and Bryan Harris, who each have tallied three knocks apiece.

ANOTHER HORTON MILESTONE: With nine conference games remaining, head Coach George Horton has a chance to tie and pass Fresno State's Bob Bennett (187 wins in 15 years) as the second-winningest Big West coach in the conference history. Horton, tied and passed mentor and predecessor Augie Garrido with his 177th and 178th wins to move into third place all time in Stockton on Apr. 22 and 23 versus Pacific. With a 2-1 series win last weekend versus UC Riverside, Horton picked up his 180th win leaving him eight shy of sole possession of second place. Former Long Beach State manager Dave Snow holds the conference record in victories with 218 over 13 seasons.

WHO'S HOT: (Last five games):
Blake Davis: 10-for-22 (.455), 3 doubles, 2 triples, 7 RBI, 2 stolen bases
Evan McArthur: 10-for-23 (.435), 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 2 stolen bases
Justin Turner: 9-for-24 (.375), 2 doubles, 1 home run and team-leading 10 RBI, 2 SB
Brandon Tripp: 8-for-22 (.364), 2 home runs, 7 RBI, 3 stolen bases
Brett Pill: 8-for-22 (.364), 2 doubles, 1 home run, seven RBI

YOU'RE THE BEST AROUND: The Titans 2.52 ERA is the best in the nation as the NCAA posted cumulative stats for all the Div. I schools as of Apr. 30. This comes as no surprise as in 13 three-game series this season, Titan hurlers have allowed an average of just 8.6 TOTAL (not just earned) runs per series (with a low of 1 run vs. ECU to high of 16 runs by UCI in the non-conference series). Over last five series, the Fullerton staff has allowed just 7.2 runs per series. Virginia is the next closest team to Fullerton, posting a 2.57 ERA, allowing 22 more earned runs in 32 2/3 more innings (4 games).

QUALITY TIME: The Titan weekend rotation has put together 26 Quality Starts (six-or-more innings with three or less earned runs) in 35 starts as a unit. Wes Roemer (11 QS), Lauren Gagnier (9 QS) and Dustin Miller (6 QS) are a combined 27-5 on the season with Roemer (1.90) and Gagnier's (2.62) ERAs both under 3.00. The three are leading the Big West Conference in wins with Gagnier topping the nation with 10 while Miller has tallied nine, and Roemer eight.

STREAKING TITANS: Blake Davis has reached base safely via a hit in the last 13 straight Titan games. The shortstop has a team-leading .436 batting average (24-for-55) over the past 13 games, with five doubles and a pair of triples. Danny Dorn has the team's second-best current hitting streak at nine games. Since returning to the starting lineup after about a months absence, the outfielder hhas gone 14-for-36 (.389) with four doubles, a triples, two home runs and 10 RBI. Davis had a 17-game streak earlier in the season (Feb. 24 - Mar. 25). Dorn's nine-gamer is his season-high.

THE LONG BALL: The Titans have hit 28 home runs on the season, tying the 1975 squad's season total, the lowest home run total in the school's history. Despite a fairly low home run total, when they do play long-ball they make it count, posting a 16-2 record. 17 of Fullerton's 28 blasts have come in pitcher-friendly Goodwin Field.

PUTTIN' ON THE HITS: Justin Turner (66) and Blake Davis (61) are placing second and third in the conference in hits, trailing Cal Poly's Josh Lansford who has reached via a hit a Big West Conference-leading 67 times.

AVERAGED OUT...TITANS ARE ON TOP: Individually, Blake Davis (.359, 5th), Justin Turner (.347, 9th), and Danny Dorn (.340, 10th) are representing the Titans in the Conference's Top 10 in hitting. Fullerton is leading the conference as a team with a .312 batting average, 16 points higher than second-place UC Riverside (.296).

PENT-UP ENERGY: The Titans relief corps has been absolutely fabulous thus far in over 130 innings of work. As a whole they have posted a 2.08 ERA while striking out 123 in 134 innings. All but three of the pitchers (Dustin Miller, 4.50, John Estes, 3.45, and Dave Pherrin, 4.91) who have worked out of the pen this season have an ERA of less than 3.00. Hitters are hitting just .208 against the pen and have scored just 31 earned runs (42 total) off of the Titan arms.

NEXT STOP... SILVA: Reliever Vinnie Pestano has broken into the middle of the pack on the all-time career appearance list with 26 so far this year and 90 in his three-year career at Fullerton. He currently sits at No. 6, trailing current Volunteer Assistant Coach Ted Silva, who tallied 94 between 1993 and 1995. Pestano has finally caught his coach in the save department picking up his 12th of the season and the 26th of his career, tying Silva's career total. Vinnie is just one saves off his career-high 13-save season, set last year as a sophomore that again tied him with Silva for the third-best single-season save total behind Chad Cordero (14, 2001) and Scott Wright (22, set in 1984).

"HURRICANE" RELIEF: Despite giving up his first earned runs since Mar. 3, and doubling his walk allowance with a seven-walk outing last Friday, Closer Vinnie Pestano is posting a miniscule ERA of 0.82 in 33 frames of work with 38 strikeouts. Pestano currently leads the Big West in Appearances (26), Saves (12). Games Finished (24) and Games in Relief (26).

OLD FAITHFUL: Wes Roemer has averaged 7 2/3 (99 2/3 IP in 13 starts) IP/start this season and has fanned a career-high 12 batters twice (Mar 10 vs. East Carolina and Mar. 31 vs. CS Northridge). The sophomore averaged 7 1/3 IP/start in 2005 (72 IP in 10 starts) and has a career average of over 7 1/3 IP/start.


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