Ramirez Returns for Riverside Series

May 4, 2011

PLAY BALL: Cal State Fullerton (30-13, 11-4) is looking to get healthy and build upon its 1.5 game lead in the Big West Conference. On tap, the Titans have the UC Riverside Highlanders (23-15, 6-6) for a three-game road series at the Riverside Sports Complex.

The Titans will be getting the services of All-American right-hander Noe Ramirez back this weekend, after missing his past two starts with an ankle injury. Sophomore Michael Lorenzen is still day-to-day, but could see some action after spraining his wrist three weekends ago. Infielder Richy Pedroza is still nursing a pair of bummed shoulders.

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Fri., May 6 at UC Riverside* (Riverside Sports Complex), 6 p.m.
Follow the Game: Live Stats / Internet Audio
Probable Pitchers:
CSF - RHP, Noe Ramirez (6-2, 2.04 ERA)
UCR - RHP, Matt Andriese (3-3, 2.33 ERA)

Sat., May 7 at UC Riverside* (Riverside Sports Complex), 6 p.m.
Follow the Game: Live Stats / Internet Audio
Probable Pitchers:
RHP, Tyler Pill (5-1, 2.31 ERA)
UCR - RHP, Eddie Orozco (3-1, 2.41 ERA)

Sun., May 8 at UC Riverside* (Riverside Sports Complex), 1 p.m.
Follow the Game: Live Stats / Internet Audio
Probable Pitchers:
UCR - RHP, Trevor Frank (2-2, 3.77 ERA)

LAST WEEK: Fullerton is coming off a 2-2 week that saw it lose at USD, 12-8, before taking two of three from Pacific (W 12-6; L 8-7; W 6-4).

On Friday night, freshman shortstop Keegan Dale was the star. In only his second collegiate game, he went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI including the go-ahead run in the fifth inning as Fullerton rallied from a 5-3 deficit. Raymond Hernandez improved too 3-0 with a win in relief.

Three errors by centerfielder Ivory Thomas helped Pacific to a 5-run first inning on Saturday and the Titans couldn't quite come back despite scoring single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Starter Tyler Pill went 6 innings and suffered his first loss.

Carlos Lopez and Nick Ramirez were the stars on Sunday. Lopez hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to break a 4-4 tie and Ramirez pitched a perfect eighth and ninth for the victory.

VERSUS THE HIGHLANDERS: The Titans and Highlanders first faced each other in 1978, but have had a majority of their meetings occur since 2001. Overall the Titans are 28-17 all-time against the Highlanders, and just 14-13 all-time in Big West Conference play. UCR joined the Big West in 2002. The Titans have dominated the series on their own turf, winning 19 of the 23 games played at home. But on the road the Titans are just 7-13. Prior to the Titans winning the 2009 series at the Riverside Sports Complex (2 games to 1), they had lost three straight series on the road (0-3, 1-2, 0-3) dating back to 2003. Under Dave Serrano, the Titans are 7-2 against UCR and have won five straight ball games. Last season, the Titans swept the Big West series at home, 6-4, 9-1, 6-0, with the middle game being split over two days because of a campus-wide power outage at Cal State Fullerton.

&\#149;Nick Ramirez has had quite an impact in games played against conference opponents. The junior first baseman is hitting .352 (19-for-54) with a double, five home runs and a team-leading 16 RBI in the 15 games played so far. He has also walked a team-leading nine times, has a pair of SAC-flies and is perfect in stolen base attempts (2-for-2). On the mound, the southpaw is 1-0 and has four saves over 6.2 innings with eight strikeouts and has yet to allow a run.

&\#149;Hey opposing pitchers... be sure to load the bases for sophomore Carlos Lopez. He's only 4-for-6 with the bases juiced.

&\#149;The Titans have been in 13 games that have been decided by just one run so far in 2011. In those 13 one-run games, the Titans are 9-4, with five of the wins happening in come-from-behind fashion. Nineteen of Fullerton's games have been decided by two runs or less, with the Titans going 14-6 in those affairs.

&\#149; Tyler Pill is leading the way when it comes to current Titan hitting streaks. The junior is currently riding a 7-game streak that has seen him hit a team-leading .455 (10-for-22, 1 doubles, 1 triple and 6 RBI). Carlos Lopez (.458, 11-for-24, 1 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run and 7 RBI) and Nick Ramirez (.370, 10-for-27, 2 doubles, 3 home runs, 9 RBI) both have six game streaks.

&\#149;Junior Anthony Trajano has driven in a run in seven of his last nine games including six in a row from Apr. 16 to Apr. 23. His streak was snapped at six game, when he took two nights off before driving in two in the Titans' 6-4 win over Pacific last weekend.

&\#149;Twenty of Nick Ramirez's 36 RBI have come on the road and he and Michael Lorenzen (12) are the only two hitters with 9 or more ribbies away from Goodwin Field.

&\#149; Carlos Lopez hit in all four games last week (as well as his last 6 games) for Cal State Fullerton, but his last at bat produced a game-winning home run to lift Fullerton to a big series victory over Pacific Sunday afternoon to help Fullerton keep its hold on first place in the conference standings. On the week, Lopez was 8-for-17 and four of his eight hits went for extra bases. On Tuesday at San Diego, Lopez had a 4-hit game that included two triples and three RBI. On Friday, his one-out double started a three-run rally that took the Titans from trailing, 6-4, to leading, 7-6. He finished Friday night 2-for-3 with two RBI. His eight hits, .471 batting average, and eight RBI led the Titans in all three categories for the week. He also slugged .941 and had a sacrifice fly to boot.

&\#149;Infielder Anthony Trajano has reached base safely in 18 straight road games. First baseman Nick Ramirez has reached safely in 16 straight road games.

&\#149; Youngin' Greg Velazquez has been quietly hitting up a storm since taking over at second base the past five games. The local product (Fullerton HS) has done nothing but hit .438 (7-for-16) with two doubles a home run and three RBI since Apr. 23. Over that span, Velazquez is leading the team in on-base percentage (.571) and is among the team leaders with 4 walks.

&\#149; Keegan Dale burned his redshirt to help the banged-up Titan infield and has done a fine job on the defensive end and has done well at the plate as well. In four starts at short, the rookie has hit .286 (4-for-14) including a 3-for-4, 3-RBI effort against Pacific in his first start at Goodwin Field last Friday night. He has had very few "easy" plays at short, and has make a couple of dazzlers up the middle.

&\#149; The Titans have hammered out 10-or-more hits in 11 of their last 18 games dating back to Apr. 1 at UC Davis. Over that span, Fullerton has also scored 10-plus runs four times and scored five-or-more runs 12 times. The Titans have scored 42 runs over their last five games, with six-plus runs coming across in each game.

WINNING, TITAN STYLE: Take that Charlie Sheen! With a series win over Pacific last weekend, Fullerton has guaranteed itself another winning season, making that 37 in a row at the Div. I level. Since 1975, the closest any team has come to a .500 record was in 1989 when Larry Cochell's Titans went 30-27, and finished 5th in the PCAA with an 10-11 mark in league.


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