It All Comes Down to This...Again

May 22, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format

THIS WEEK Tuesday, May 20, 2008 vs. UCLA (Goodwin Field), Win, 12-8
Friday, May 23, 2008 vs. Long Beach St. (Blair Field), 6:30 p.m
Saturday, May 24, 2008 vs. Long Beach St. (Blair Field), 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 25, 2008 vs. Long Beach St. (Blair Field), 1 p.m.

FOLLOW THE TITANS: Every Titan baseball game can be heard live on fullertontitans.com. Just click the "listen here" icon on the right of the home page and enjoy every pitch as it happens. And for your viewing pleasure, the Big West Conference will be again providing subscription-based video streams of every Titan home game and Big West Conference game at BigWest.TV. And where technology permits, you can follow the Titan games via CSTV's GameTracker. Just follow the links from the schedule page to find the GameTracker interface.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCH-UPS:

Friday at Long Beach State
CSF: RHP, Jeff Kaplan, 10-1, 4.13 ERA LB: RHP, Andrew Liebel, 8-2, 1.74 ERA

Saturday at Long Beach State
CSF: RHP, Daniel Renken, 5-5, 3.82 ERA LB: RHP, Jake Thompson, 2-5, 4.48 ERA

Sunday at Long Beach State
CSF: RHP, Cory Arbiso, 11-2, 4.15 ERA LB: RHP, Vance Worley, 6-3, 4.55 ERA

BATTER UP: After 12 weeks of a new, compressed schedule; with a new defending conference champion and better depth throughout the standings, the Big West Conference baseball race still comes down to Fullerton vs. Long Beach.

The Titans visit Blair Field this weekend for a 3-game series that will decide the conference championship and the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Fullerton has a 1-game lead so needs only one win to clinch a tie for the title but two wins to clinch the automatic berth. UC Santa Barbara could make it a tri-championship if the Gauchos sweep at UC Irvine and Long Beach beats Fullerton twice. That scenario would give Long Beach the automatic berth based on tie-breakers.

Fullerton last week swept three games from San Diego State to continue its late-season climb in the five national polls including a No. 6 ranking by Baseball America, which didn't have Fullerton in its pre-season poll and had UCLA as No. 1. The Bruins visited Goodwin Field Tuesday night and didn't have enough as the Titans beat them 12-8, and now have to face USC in a weekend series which both teams might need to get into the 64-team bracket.

LAST WEEK: The Titans got their final home weekend series off to a great start on Thursday by beating heralded San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg, 4-3. Jared Clark hit the first home run the sophomore allowed in his collegiate career for a 2-0 first-inning lead and Dustin Garneau added a 2-run double. Jeff Kaplan pitched out of numerous jams and left with a 4-1 lead. Michael Morrison and Adam Jorgenson bailed out an ineffective Jason Dovel to preserve the win.

The next two wins were much easier. Daniel Renken got plenty of run support and excellent relief from Travis Kelly and Ryan Ackland to win Friday night, 10-3. Erik Komatsu continued his torrid Friday hitting with a 2-for-3 night and a team-high 3 RBI. Josh Fellhauer had 4 hits. Cory Arbiso ended the Saturday night run of misfortune with 7 innings of 2-run baseball in an 8-5 win to cap the series. Seniors Jon Wilhite and Nolan Bruyninckx had memorable performances on "Senior Day." Wilhite had 4 hits and 5 RBI and Bruyninckx got a standing ovation after his first inning of work on the mound all season, a scoreless eighth.

NCAA PLAYOFF INFORMATION:
Regional Sites Announced: Sunday, May 25 on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. PT
64-Team Field Announcement: Monday, May 26 on ESPN at 9:30 a.m. PT
Super Regional Announcements: Monday, June 2 at 8 p.m. Pacific on NCAA.com
(all Super Regionals will be televised by ESPN)
CWS Game Times: Announced on Monday, June 9 on ESPN, Time TBA

VERSUS LONG BEACH STATE: The Titans hold a 107-56 all-time series record over Long Beach State at the Division I level dating back to the 1975 season.

The two teams have met just one time in the postseason back in 2002 when the 49ers eliminated the Titans, 4-0, from the Stanford Regional. That was the last time the Titans failed to reach a Super Regional.

The Titans have lost the last two meetings with the 49ers, both coming at Goodwin Field last year to wrap up the regular season. The 49ers beat the Titans 10-6 and 11-8, to hand Fullerton its fourth consecutive Big West Conference series loss. The Titans won the first game 7-6.

In the 2007 non-conference series, Fullerton took two out of three from Long Beach at Blair Field by scores of 7-4, 3-4 (14), 7-5.

Over the last five years, Cal State Fullerton has posted a 12-3 record over Long Beach State at Blair Field as opposed to an 8-6 record at Goodwin Field.

The Titans finished the George Horton era with a 41-29 overall record over the 49ers in 11 seasons. Over that span, Fullerton was 18-16 at home, a 23-12 record on the road and an 0-1 mark in neutral territory (Stanford Regional, 2002).

In the second game of last year's six-game series with Long Beach (Mar. 24, 2007), the Titans and 49ers locked horns for 5 hours and 43 minutes in a 14-innign game with the Titans losing on a Steve Tinoco game-winning single off Nolan Bruyninckx.

BIG WEST TRIVIA: In the last 10 season, Cal State Fullerton (5.5) and Long Beach State (2) have won all but 2.5 of the Big West Conference baseball championships. The exceptions? Cal State Northridge won the League outright in 2002, UC Riverside won it all in 2007, and Nevada Shared it with Cal State Fullerton in 2000.

ONE SMALL STEP: With Tuesday night's win over UCLA Dave Serrano won his 150th game since becoming a head coach in 2005. Serrano has averaged 37 wins a season in his first four years as head coach with UC Irvine and now Fullerton. He picked up victory No. 100 last year in a 4-3 triumph over Pacific at Klein Family Field in Stockton while with Irvine.

Dave Serrano Head Coaching Milestones
50th Career Win: April 8, 2006 vs. Cal State Fullerton (2-0) as UC Irvine head coach
100th Career Win: May 12, 2007, at Pacific (4-3) as UC Irvine head coach
150th Career Win: May 20, 2008 vs. UCLA (12-8) as Fullerton head coach

QUICK HITS:

&\#149; The Titans hit four home runs on Tuesday against the UCLA Bruins, the fourth time this year the club has blasted four in a game. Dustin Garneau, Christina Colon, Jared Clark and Joel Weeks each lost a ball in the Titans' 12-8 win.

&\#149; The Titans finished up the regular season with a 23-7 mark in games at Goodwin Field and drew an average of 2001 fans over the 30 games. The highest attendance of the year was 2,346 on Apr. 27 against UC Davis.

&\#149; Christian Colon, Joel Weeks and Erik Komatsu are currently pacing the Titans with five-game hitting streaks.

&\#149; Freshman Gary Brown and Christian Colon have each tied or broken freshman marks for a Cal State Fullerton player. Brown is tield with Dante Powell (1992) with the record for stolen bases (19) by a freshman. Colon broke the record held by Jack Jones (1994) for the most sacrifice bunts by a freshman, and comes into the weekend with 18 sac-bunts.

&\#149; The Titans are perfect when leading late in games in 2008. When the Titans hold the lead after 6 innings, they are 30-0. They get better as the game gets later, they are 32-0 when leading after 7, and 34-0 when leading after 8.

COLON, FELLHAUER ACCEPT USA INVITE: USA Baseball announced May 8 that Cal State Fullerton sophomore outfielder Josh Fellhauer and freshman shortstop Christian Colon have accepted invitations to the 2008 National Team Trials to be held June 11-23 throughout the northeast and southeast United States. Fellhauer (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif/Rancho Cucamonga High School) and Colon (Corona, Calif/Canyon High School) are two of 12 colligate player to have already accepted invitations and will be part of 32 of the nation's best collegiate athletes vying for 22 National Team roster spots. Cal State Fullerton has been one of USA Baseball's major suppliers of talent over the years, having produced five Olympians, while sending 17 players to the U.S. National Team. The last two Cal State Fullerton products to don the Red White and Blue were Wes Roemer and Kurt Suzuki in 2006.

NO MIRACLE FOR 34: The Titans are no strangers to the 30-win season. And with their 9-1 win over Pepperdine on May 6, they accomplished the feat for the 34th time in 34 years at the Div. I level. No Titan team at the Div. I level has ever finished with a losing record. The worst season in the program's history came in 1989 when Larry Cochell's squad went 30-27. Fullerton has posted 40-or-more wins in a season 22 times, 50-or-more eight times and 60-or-more twice (1979 and 1984 championship seasons).

SAC-RELIGIOUS: The Titans believe in the sacrifice bunt and are already No. 9 all-time in CSF history with 69 total sacs on the year. The 69 is good for 2nd in the conference and 4th in the nation. The Titans and the Big West Conference are led by freshman Christian Colon who has given himself up 18 times this year, ranking him 4th in the nation in total sacs, and 5th in the country in sacs-per-game with 0.35. Colon now holds the Fullerton record for sac bunts in a season by a freshman, surpassing Jack Jones record of 17 set in 1994.

DOS IN THE NATION: Coming into the week, Fullerton trails South Florida by just 5 hit by pitches for the nation's top spot in HBPs. The Titans have been plunked 104 times this year led by freshman Christian Colon who has 12 to his credit. Five other Titans have been hit 10 times each. South Florida and Cal State Fullerton have at least one thing in common, and that is Asst. Coach Bryant Ward. Ward was with Cal State Fullerton for two seasons as a facilities manager under former head coach George Horton from 2005-06.

MORE ON HBPs: The Titans are in the NCAA record book four times within the Top 15. Fullerton has the sixth-most HBPs in a season, set back in 2003; are tied for 12th most with San Jose State with 105; recently moved into sole possession of 13th place with their 104th dos this season; and also rank 14th with 102 back in 1998. Notre Dame and Long Beach State are the only two other team mentioned twice on the list. The 2005 Notre Dame squad has the record for most HBPs in a season with 130 in 63 games.

GOING YARD: The Titans have homered in 11 of their last 13 games and have hit 19 round-trippers overall in those games. Jared Clark is leading the way with 4 homers, Josh Fellhauer has blasted 3, while Erik Komatsu, Gary Brown, Brian Wilson Dustin Garneau and Joel Weeks have all hit two. The Titans have belted 42 home runs this season, the sixth-lowest total in Cal State Fullerton Div. I history.

STEAL WORKERS: The Titans sit atop the Big West Conference and 12th in the nation with 109 stolen bases on the year. Fullerton, over the last 10 games, has swiped 25 of 32 bases, and have stolen less than two just once over that span. The Titans have also swiped at least one bag in the last 11 games. Freshman outfielder Gary Brown took over the team lead two weekends ago when he stole his 15th and 16th bases against and on Tuesday night against stole his 19th base tying the Cal State Fullerton frshman record set by Dante Powell back in 1992. Five Titans have 10-or-more stolen bases, with Erik Komatsu (17), Josh Fellhauer (15), Khris Davis (11) and Christian Colon (10) are behind the leader Brown. This year marks the first time since 2003 that a Titan squad has stolen 100 bases.

HIS GOES TO 11: Since being moved to out of the traditional Saturday starting roll back in March, Cory Arbiso has done nothing but reel off 11 victories in a row and anchor a pitching rotation that can boast two 10-game winners. Over the last 11 weeks the junior has gone a perfect 11-0, bumping his record up to 11-2 on the year. He holds the Big West Conference lead and trails just, Aaron Crow of Missouri, and Carlos Luna of Oral Roberts by one victory for the nation lead in wins. The junior posted his first complete game on Mar. 30 where he fanned a career-high 10 hitters as he seven-hit UC Riverside. He has also posted wins over No. 1 Arizona and No. 5 UC Irvine in that slot in the rotation. On May 4, Arbiso held a good-hitting UC Santa Barbara team to just three hits and a run over eight innings of work in the Titans 11-1 win.

...THURSDAY, FRIDAY KAPPY DAYS:Weather it is a Thursday night start, or Friday night, senior Jeff Kaplan has taken on the opponent's front-line hurlers and has come out on top more often than not. The right-hander has now posted victories against highly-touted Scott Gorgen (UC Irvine) and Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State) and beat both Roger Clemens Award Semi-Finalists. This Friday, he has Long Beach's Andrew Liebel (Another pitcher of the year candidate) on the docket with postseason standings on the line. Kaplan has beat ranked opponents UC Irvine (No. 5) and UCLA (No. 3) and held the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats to two runs on eight hits over 6.1 innings in a no decision. Kappy has won each of his seven starts in Big West Conference play and has won eight consecutive starts. Over that eight game span he has averaged over 7 innings of work and 6.5 strikeouts per game while giving up just 3 earned runs. He has also posted nine wins without defeat. Coming into this week's start, Kaplan is third in the Big West in innings pitched (93.2), has the second-most wins (10), and is fourth in strikeouts (79). He tossed his fourth-career complete game on May 2 at Santa Barbara in the Titans' come-from-behind 7-4 win in Goleta.