Titans in Santa Barbara for Three-Game Set with Gauchos

May 11, 2012

PLAY BALL: Fullerton (30-14, 12-3) takes a 4-game winning streak on the road to UC Santa Barbara (23-22, 9-9) this weekend for a three-game Big West Conference set.

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Fullerton came off its bye weekend and beat USC at home, 4-2, before pounding short-handed and last-place Pacific in Stockton by scores of 5-2, 21-4 and 10-0. The wins moved the Titans a game ahead of Long Beach State in the Big West Conference standings and kept them at No. 8 in the Baseball America poll.

Dylan Floro on Friday and Grahamm Wiest on Sunday pitched economical complete games. Floro needed only 99 pitches and a 3-run eighth inning to win the opener. Wiest got a lot more offensive support and blanked the Tigers with only 85 pitches.

On Saturday, Carlos Lopez led the biggest offensive explosion of the season. He had two hits including his first home run - his second career grand slam - and 6 RBI. Kenny Mathews went 7 solid innings for the victory.

Michael Lorenzen was the star of the win over USC. He had half of the Titans' six hits with a pair of doubles and a triple and pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 13th save. His second double set up a 2-run fifth inning and his triple drove in what proved to be the winning runs in the sixth. Six other Titans preceded him to the mound with Koby Gauna getting the win.

THIS WEEK IN TITAN BASEBALL
May 11 at UC Santa Barbara (Caesar Uyesaka Stadium), 3 p.m.
May 12 at UC Santa Barbara (Caesar Uyesaka Stadium), 1 p.m.
May 13 at UC Santa Barbara (Caesar Uyesaka Stadium), 1 p.m.

Follow all three games by listening to Mel Franks' broadcast from UC Santa Barbara (on your computer, iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone or Android phones). You can also follow via UC Santa Barbara's live stats ay ucsbgauchos.com.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCH-UPS:
FRIDAY
CSF - RHP Dylan Floro (7-3, 2.25 ERA) vs. UCSB - LHP Kevin Gelinas (2-1, 1.69 ERA)
SATURDAY
CSF - LHP Kenny Mathews (5-0, 3.78 ERA) vs. UCSB - LHP Andrew Vasquez (6-4, 1.71 ERA)
SUNDAY
CSF - RHP Grahamm Wiest (4-3, 2.56 ERA) vs. UCSB - LHP Zak Edington (2-4, 3.23 ERA)

VS SANTA BARBARA: Fullerton has won five in a row and nine of its last 10 games against UC Santa Barbara and holds an all-time record of 93-32 since its first meeting in 1976. On the road, the Titans hold a 44-15 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams have never met in the NCAA postseason but met in an SCBA playoff game (Titans lost, 4-6, 1983) and the Big West Tournament (Titans won, 4-2, 1998). All but the two postseason games and the first four contests in 1976, have been official conference games. In conference, Fullerton leads the series 90-29. This is the first meeting between these two head coaches. Andrew Checketts is in his first season as the head coach of the Gauchos. Rick Vanderhook is in his first season as head coach with the Titans. Both come to their respective posts from Pac-12 schools (Checketts - Oregon, Vanderhook - UCLA).

TITAN TIDBITS:
&\#149; Cal State Fullerton has won 10 consecutive series since an opening weekend series loss to then-top ranked Florida. Three of those series wins came by way of the three-game sweep (UC Davis, Utah Valley and Pacific).

&\#149; The Titans were hitting just .265 after 20 games but sees its team average at a season-best .285 after going 49-for-131 (.374) against Pacific last weekend.

&\#149; The Titans 21-hit, 21-run performance on Cinco de Mayo against Pacific were season-high performances in both categories. They also had a season best 19 RBI in that game.

&\#149; The Fullerton pitching staff held Pacific to just 6 runs on 15 hits in the three-game sweep last weekend. The Tigers hit just .170 against just four Titans arms.

&\#149; Richy Pedroza (12-for-23, .522) has the Titans' longest current hitting streak at five games and been the hottest hitter - by five hits - in the last five games. He has collected multiple hits in four of the five games and had three hits in three of the five games. Anthony Trajano (4-for-12, .300) and J.D. Davis (4-for-16) are next in line with four game streaks.

&\#149; In picking up his 13th save two Tuesdays ago, Michael Lorenzen touched 98 on the radar gun for the first time this season. He mostly worked in the 96-97 mile per hour range, but hit 98 on his last pitch of the night to strikeout USC's Alex Sherrod and end the game.

&\#149;As a team, the Titans are hitting eight points higher against lefties (.290) than they are against righties (.282). They will see three southpaws this weekend at Santa Barbara.

&\#149;The Titans are averaging 9.59 hits and 5.52 runs per game in 2012. The opponents are averaging 8.50 hits and 3.59 runs against them.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior first baseman Carlos Lopez (Northridge / Crespi HS) led the Titans to one of their most explosive weeks of the season last week. He was named Big West Player of the Week after producing 5 hits, 5 runs, 6 walks, his first homer (his second career grand slam) and 9 RBI. It was Lopez's first career player of the week nod, and the second of the season for the first place Titans... Redshirt freshman Grahamm Wiest was nominated for pitcher of the week honors after tossing a nifty 85-pitch, three-hit, complete game shutout of the Tigers on Sunday. For the week, the right-hander hurled 10 innings and gave up just four hits while striking out six. UC Irvine's Andrew Thurman took home this week's award with a four-hit, complete-game shutout of UC Santa Barbara.

THE LAST FIVE GAMES: Richy Pedroza (12-for-23, .522) has been the Titans' hottest hitter from the leadoff spot... Anthony Hutting has gone 6-for-15 (.400) with six RBI... Carlos Lopez has accounted for one-third the Titans' offense driving in nine runs and scoring five from the No. 3 whole... Matt Chapman has the second most hits in that span with seven (7-for-22, .318).

THE LAST 10 GAMES: Richy Pedroza (19-for-45, .422) has seven more hits than the next hottest hitter on the team from the leadoff spot... Carlos Lopez and Michael Lorenzen have the second-most hits with 12... Lopez has a team-leading 11 RBI with Anthony Hutting right on his tail with 9... Hutting is hitting .367 (11-for-30) with four extra base hits.

IN LIMITED ACTION: Titan reserves Matt Orloff and Austin Diemer have been making the most of limited playing time as of late. Over the last 10 games, Orloff has gone 5-for-10 (.500) with a double and three RBI and Diemer, coming off injury (rib), hs gone 4-for-10 with a pair of ribbies since his return last weekend.

MICHAEL SAVES: Sophomore Michael Lorenzen's 13 saves ranks him tied for fourth on the Titans' all-time single-season record list with former closers Vinnie Pestano (2005 and 2006) and Ted Silva (1994). With his next save he will tie the "Chief," Chad Cordero for third on the single-season list. Three more will tie him with Nick Ramirez (2011). The all-time single-season saves leader for the Titans is Scott Wright, who nailed down 22 saves in 1984. Lorenzen came into the week tied for 6th in the nation with Michael Morin of North Carolina (13 saves each). Everyone is chasing the nation's leader, Michael Wagner (San Diego), who has 19 saves going into the weekend. Lorenzen is 2-0, with an ERA of 1.56 in 17.1 innings (16 appearances). The right-hander, in his first season on the mound, converted his first 12 saves of the year before blowing one, and subsequently earning the win, on Apr. 22 against Cal Poly.

LEADING THE NATION: Coming into the week, the Titan pitching staff continues to lead the nation in fewest walks per nine innings, surrendering just 1.77 free passes a game. The Titans are led by Dylan Floro (9th in the country, 0.96 bb/9inn.) and Koby Gauna (12th, 1.03 bb/9inn.). The pitching staff also ranks fourth in the country in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 3.47-to-1. Dylan Floro ranks 20th (6.22:1) among the top 100 pitchers in the country.

STARS AND STRIPES: Michael Lorenzen recently accepted an invitation from USA Baseball to compete with the Collegiate National Team for the second straight year. He will be coached by former Titan players/coaches Dave Serrano, George Horton (assistant coach) and Jason Gill. Serrano, now with Tennessee, will manage Team USA while Horton (Oregon) and Gill (LMU) will assist. This year, Lorenzen and the CNT will play 10 games in and around North Carolina before heading to Cuba for a five games and then to The Netherlands for the Honkbal-Haarlem Baseball Week at Prim Mulier Stadium.

WATCHING THE WATCH LISTS: Outfielder Michael Lorenzen was projected as the Titans' only preseason All-American coming in to the 2012 season, but no one knew he would figure in pitcher of the year recognition too. In his first season as the Titans' closer, the Anaheim native has found himself on the watch lists for Stopper of the Year (NCBWA), Pitcher of the Year (College Baseball Foundation) and John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year.

GOLDEN SPIKES WATCH: Sophomore outfielder Michael Lorenzen and junior pitcher Dylan Floro were both listed on the initial and midseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List for the award that goes to the top college baseball athlete in the nation. The Titans, along with Arizona State, have had three winners of the award over the years dating back to the 1978 season. Tim Wallach (.391, 23 HR, 102 RBI) was the Titans' first winner in 1979. He was followed by Phil Nevin (.402, 22 HR and 86 RBI) in 1992 and Mark Kotsay (.422, 21 HR, 91 RBI) in 1995.

RPI UPDATE: According to Boyd Nation at Boydsworld.com, the Titans currently rank No. 14 (.604) in the website's pseudo RPI rankings. Fullerton was ranked 14th in the NCAA's official RPI released on Tuesday afternoon.

SOS UPDATE: According to Boyd Nation at BoydsWorld.com, the Titans have slid into the No. 9 slot in terms of strength of schedule and currently ranks 10th in his Iterative Strength Ratings (ISR) updated daily. The ISRs are the author's best attempt at an objective rating system which covers all Division I teams. More information about the rating system - including past results so that you can get a feel for how accurate they are, a technical description of the methods used, and information about the author - can be found at BoydsWorld.com Records listed are those against Division I competition only.

IN A PINCH: The Titans are hitting .286 (14-for-49) in the pinch hitting department as a team led by junior outfielder Anthony Hutting and sophomore Greg Velazquez. Hutting has had 8 opportunities to come off the bench and help the team and he has reached base in 6 of this opportunities. overall he is 3-for-5 (.600) as a pitch hitter, but he has also reached twice via the walk and once on an error. His first career home run came as a pinch hitter and on Apr. 6 vs. UC Davis, his single drove home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, capping a three-run inning to record the Titans' second straight comeback win... Velazquez is 3-for-5 in PH opportunities. The Titans have had two other game-winning pinch hits in 2012 including: Jesse Jenner's 8th inning bloop single (first career AB) that won it on Feb. 25 against nationally ranked TCU and Clay Williamson's two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning on Apr. 5 against UC Davis. The two runs that scored on the single to center were Williams' first two career RBI.