Final Weekend Will Determine BWC Champion

May 25, 2012

PLAY BALL: It's a not uncommon scenario -- Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State meeting for a 3-game series on the final weekend of the regular season to determine the conference champion in baseball.

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The Titans' saw their 2-game lead in the Big West standings pared to a single game over the weekend as Fullerton lost 2-of-3 to seventh-place UC Riverside while the 49ers were winning 2-of-3 from last place Pacific. Fullerton now needs two wins to win the title outright. If Long Beach wins twice, the teams would be co-champions but the 49ers would get the automatic NCAA tourney berth based on the head-to-head tie-breaker rule. If Cal Poly sweeps at UC Riverside, there could be a 3-way tie.

Fullerton's offense went into a shell in the final four games at Goodwin Field. The Titans lost to UCLA, 6-3, to a 3-run ninth inning on Tuesday. They squeaked by the Highlanders, 3-2, on Friday night before losing on both Saturday and Sunday by scores of 6-3 and 1-0 despite outhitting the visitors both nights.

Dylan Floro pitched a masterful 8 innings and got help from Michael Lorenzen in the ninth to get the lone victory. Floro allowed three consecutive 2-out singles to fall behind, 1-0, in the first inning but then faced the minimum 22 batters for the next 22 outs. A bloop double and an infield hit to open the ninth brought on Lorenzen, who logged his 16th save.

Grahamm Wiest was even better on Sunday but lost. He threw a 3-hitter but two of them came in the seventh inning with Alex Rubanowitz' double down the line producing the game winner. Rubanowitz also made a diving stop at third base to deny Matt Orloff a dramatic game-tying single with two outs in the ninth.

Five Fullerton pitchers combined to uncharacteristically walk 10 UCR hitters on Saturday night. Phil Holinsworth hit a pair of 2-run home runs to hand Kenny Mathews his second loss in two weeks after a 5-0 start to his collegiate career.

THIS WEEK IN TITAN BASEBALL:
May 25 at Long Beach State (Blair Field), 6:30 p.m.
May 26 at Long Beach State (Blair Field), 5:30 p.m.
May 27 at Long Beach State (Blair Field), 1:00 p.m.

FOLLOW THE ACTION: FOLLOW THE ACTION: Of course we'd rather have you at Blair Field, if you cant make up, you can follow the action in all of the same bat places! You can listen for free on your computer or smart phones at fullertontitans.com. You can track the game on CBS College Sports' GameTracker... the links can be found on the rotating scoreboard or on the baseball schedule pages at fullertontitans.com. You can watch a live video stream by purchasing a BigWest.tv subscription.

PITCHING MATCH-UPS
FRIDAY
CSF - RHP Dylan Floro (9-3, 2.75 ERA)
LB - RHP Matt Anderson (4-2, 2.27 ERA)
SATURDAY
CSF - RHP Grahamm Wiest (5-4, 2.37 ERA)
LB - LHP Ryan Strufing (6-3,3.20 ERA)
SUNDAY
CSF - LHP Kenny Mathews (5-2, 4.09 ERA)
LB - RHP Shawn Stuart (7-0, 2.21 ERA)

VERSUS LONG BEACH STATE: The Titans and 49ers have met 181 times dating back to 1975 (the first season for the Titans at the Div. I level), with Fullerton winning over two thirds of the games played (122-59). They have been just as dominant in conference match-ups, winning 94 games while losing just 46 throughout three different conference alignments (PCAA, SCBA and the Big West). The Titans have been very consistent in their dealings with the 49ers and have gone 63-29 at home and 58-29 on the road. In their more recent history, the Titans have won 25 of the last 32 meetings dating back to 2004. Under Dave Serrano, the Titans were 13-3 against the 49ers. Since last year, the Titans won seven of the nine meetings and have gone 14-2 in their last 16 meetings, outscoring the 49ers 101-50 in those contests. The only two losses since 2008 came on opening weekend 2011, an 8-5 defeat at Blair Field and a 7-2 loss on Mar. 18 in non-conference action at Goodwin Field. This is Coach Rick Vanderhook's first season as a head coach against the 49ers and is 2-1 against them. But in 21 seasons as an assistant, the Titans posted a 67-41 record with Hook on the coaching staff.

THE RIVALRY: Despite the long history between Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, the rivalry between these two schools was at its height between 1989 and 2001 with Dave Snow at the helm of the 49er program and Augie Garrido and George Horton skippering the Titans. Over 13 season, Snow (a former Titan assistant coach under Garrido in the early years at the Div. I level) led the 49ers to its most prosperous times, not only overall (511-290-4, .637 and 4 College World Series appearances), but also against the Titans. Snow had a winning record against the Titans (31-30), but had a hard time doing it, watching the Titans winning nearly half of the 61 games played. Since Snow's departure (under Mike Weathers and now Troy Buckley), the 49ers have not fared nearly as well, going just 18-38 against the Titans under coaches Horton (1997-2007), Dave Serrano (2008-11) and now Rick Vanderhook (2012-present).

THE TITANS AND CONFERENCE PLAY: Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 670-234-1 (.741) conference record over 38 seasons (including 2012) and has won 25 Div. I conference championships dating back to 1975. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, will gets his first crack at a Big West crown in 2012, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Augie Garrido (14 conference championships), Larry Cochell (1), George Horton (7) and Dave Serrano (3). A further breakdown has the Titans winning three PCAA conference championships (1975-76, 1987), eight straight SCBA titles (1977-84) and 14 while playing under the Big West name (1990-91, 94-95, 1997, 1999-2001, 2004-06, 2008, 2010-11). The Big West absorbed the PCAA records in 1990 upon its formation, giving the Titans 17 total Big West championships and a 498-188 (.726; 30 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record.

LORENZEN UP FOR FAN'S CHOICE AWARD: Fans can vote via Facebook for one of 19 college baseball players up for the award. The "Fan's Choice Award presented by TD Ameritrade" goes beyond the stat sheet to honor and recognize college baseball players who are positive role models both on and off the field, exemplifying core values like teamwork and integrity, as well as the drive to win. A local product of nearby Anaheim, Lorenzen has had a standout season for the Titans, hanging near the Big West Conference's leaders in hits, runs, RBI, doubles and total bases all season. As a closer, He also was a fixture among the nation's leaders in saves. Away from the game of baseball, Lorenzen focuses on a healthy lifestyle, speaks spiritually to youth within the community at various functions put on by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and through Cal State Fullerton he participates in clinics put on by the Titans for mentally and physically disabled children and promotes the importance of reading to local school children in an outreach program called "Titan Tales." Fans can learn more about Lorenzen and vote for him or any of the 19 finalists from now until Monday, June 25 by visiting Facebook.com/CollegeHomeRunDerby. You can vote once a day, everyday.

LORENZEN IN FINAL 10 FOR NATIONAL AWARD: Outfielder and right-handed pitcher Michael Lorenzen was named by the College Baseball Hall of Fame as one of 10 finalists for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award this week. Of the 10 position-player/pitchers vying for the award, Lorenzen has the best ERA among the group. He comes into the weekend hitting .311 with 65 hits, 20 doubles, a home run and 36 RBI as a hitter and a 2-0 record with 16 saves and a 1.29 ERA.

TITAN TIDBITS: &\#149; Cal State Fullerton had won 11 consecutive series dating back to the opening weekend before a series loss last weekend against UC Riverside at Goodwin Field. Fullerton is now 11-2 and have loges three series sweeps against UC Davis, Utah Valley and Pacific.

&\#149; The Titans have won at least a share of 10 of the 13 Big West Championships in the Super Regional era (since 1999). Of those 10 championships, Long Beach finished second four times. The Titans and 49ers shared the co-championship in 2008. Long Beach has at least a share in two of the Big West titles in the Super Regional era.

&\#149; Fullerton's 1-3 week last week was the worst record for any week this season. They dropped four spots in Baseball America's Top 25, three spots in Collegiate Baseball's Top 30, four Spots in the Coaches Poll and four spots in the writer's association's poll.

The Titans out-hit their opponents last week .264 to .222, but were outscored 15-9 in four contests. Fullerton's ERA was 3.50 for the week, while the opponents pitched at a 1.29 clip.

&\#149;Titans are hitting .282 as a team, good for second in the Big West Conference. This weekend's opponent, Long Beach State, is hitting .259 as a team, eight by one point in the nine-team conference.

&\#149; The 49ers and Titans are 1 and 2 in the Big West in pitching. Long Beach has a team ERA of 3.08 while Fullerton is at 3.17. The 49ers have 12 more strikeouts than the Titans, but nearly twice as many walks (174-95).

&\#149;As a leadoff hitter, Richy Pedroza has reached base 37 times in 86 opportunities... That's 46 percent of the time!

&\#149; The Titans have posted nearly identical batting averages against righties (.282) and lefties (.283) through 51 games. THis weekend, the Titans will face two right-handed starters and one southpaw.

&\#149;The Titans are averaging 9.49 hits and 5.31 runs per game in 2012. The opponents are averaging 8.37 hits and 3.73 runs against them.

HITTING STREAKS: Richy Pedroza has the team's longest hitting streak of the year at 12 games. Over that span, the junior is hitting .451 with a team-leading 23 hits in 51 at bats. In those 12 games he has also walked seven times and scored nine runs and has a team-leading on base percentage of .523... Behind Pedroza, the next two longest streaks belong to Michael Lorenzen (7-for-21, .333, 3 2B, 3 RBI) and Matt Orloff (7-for-18, .389, 2 2B, 3 RBI) at five games each.

THE LAST FIVE GAMES: Richy Pedroza has been the Titans' hottest hitter over the last five games, hitting in all five games, going 9-for-20 (.420). Pedroza has also posted an on-base percentage of .522 in the five-game span...Michael Lorenzen is 7-for-21 (.333) with a team-leading 3 RBI... Matt Chapman is the only other Titan hitting above .300, going 6-for-20... From the mound, Grahamm Wiest is a hard-luck 1-1 in 16.1 innings while posting a 1.65 ERA. Wiest has given up four runs on 8 hits and has struck out 15 while walking just two... Lorenzen has two saves in two appearances... Reliever Willie Kuhl has struck out seven and allowed just one hit in 4.1 innings of relief.

THE LAST 10 GAMES: Richy Pedroza is hitting .419 (18-for-43) over the last 10 games, hitting in all 10 ball games. He has four doubles and has scored seven runs in that span... Matt Chapman is hitting .381 (16-for-42) with a double, a home run and four RBI over the last 10 games... Carlos Lopez has a whopping 12 RBI while hitting .342 (13-for-38)... Anthony Hutting has gotten on base more than 50 percent of the time over the last 10 games including 9 walks and three HBPs... Grahamm Wiest has allowed just four runs on 11 hits over his last 3 appearances and has posted a 1.07 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 19 and walked just 3 in that span... Michael Lorenzen has three saves over the last 10 games...Dylan Floro has three wins without a defeat (23.1 IP, 14 K, 3 BB).