Baseball Preview: Washington

Cal State Fullerton went into their trip to the south with a great deal of momentum, riding a six game winning streak that had been fueled by standout pitching, timely hitting and strong defense.

The Titans came home winless in four games at LSU and Texas A&M after they allowed 24 runs at LSU, were held to 15 hits in the last three games and 2 runs in the last two games of the trip and the defense committed 11 errors that led to 10 unearned runs.

The first game against LSU was a hard fought battle where the Tigers took an early lead, Fullerton came back against the LSU bullpen to take the lead and the Tigers rallied in the 8th inning to win 7-6.  After a shaky first inning, Noe Ramirez threw well in allowing only one run in six innings before tiring in the 8th inning.  The offense was led by Carlos Lopez's two hits and four RBI, including a two run double in the 9th inning that was almost the first HR of the season for the Titans and would have tied the game.

The second game against LSU was similar to Friday's game.  The Tigers took an early lead and Fullerton came back against the LSU bullpen to tie the game before the Tigers scored the go ahead run on a controversial full count walk to win 7-6.  The highlights of the game for Fullerton were Michael Lorenzen hitting the Titans first HR of the year in the fifteenth game of the season and Ivory Thomas getting on base four times and stealing three bases.

The final game of the LSU series was over almost before it started with the Tigers scoring seven runs in the first two innings to complete the sweep with a 10-2 win.  There weren't too many highlights for Fullerton in this game except for Ryan Ackland throwing two scoreless innings in his first appearance in nearly two years.

Fullerton finished up their road trip with a game on Tuesday at Texas A&M.  It was expected to be a pitchers' duel with both teams having SP's capable of starting on weekends for most teams and the game lived up to that billing because it was scoreless going into the bottom of the 8th inning before the Aggies took advantage of an error to score twice and win 2-0.  Jake Floethe threw 7+ innings, allowing two unearned runs on 7 hits.

Next up for Fullerton is a series at Goodwin Field with the Washington Huskies in the first three game series at home for the Titans after two H/A split series and two road trips.  Both teams are going into this game looking to bounce back after recent disappointments.  

Washington Huskies

  • Overall Record – 3-10 in 2011; 28-28 in 2010
  • Conference Record – 11-16 in 2010 (9th)
  • Post-Season – None
  • 2011 RPI/ISR – 195/203.  2010 – 149 RPI
  • Current ranking – None
  • Predicted conf finish – 10th by the Pac 10 coaches and Baseball America

2010 Summary and 2011 Preview

Washington started a new era in 2010 with the hiring of Lindsay Meggs, who replaced long-time coach Ken Knudsen after the Huskies had missed the post-season the previous five seasons.  They had an improved level of effort on the field for their new coach and started out 19-13 before their shaky pitching staff caught up with them and they struggled down the stretch to end up at .500 with a 28-28 record.  Washington finished in 9th place in the Pac 10 with an 11-16 record that was highlighted by series wins against Washington State and Stanford, who both played in regionals in 2010.

Meggs made it an emphasis to start bringing in his own players this season and there are 21 newcomers to the roster and there have been growing pains as the Huskies have gotten off to a 3-10 start.  Washington lost two out of three games in a tournament in Texas (W – Missouri State, L – Nebraska, L – Air Force) and at home to BYU and Dallas Baptist and were swept at Bakersfield.  The Huskies have had trouble both at the plate, hitting .238 and scoring four runs or less in 9 of 13 games.  They will bunt runners over often but only have stolen only one base.  Washignton has also had issues on the mound in allowing seven or more runs in 6 of 13 games, although they have pitched better recently in giving up three runs or less in 4 of the last 6 games.



Offense

  • Park Factor according to Boyd's World – 85 (decreases offense by 15%).
  • Batting Average – .238 (9th in the Pac 10).  .280 in 2010 (9th in the Pac 10).
  • Runs Per Game – 3.8 (10th).  5.5 in 2010 (10th).
  • Home Runs – 4 (7th).  40 in 2010 (7th).
  • Stolen Bases – 1 (10th).  45 in 2010 (7th).
  • Slugging Percentage – .314 (9th).  .410 in 2010 (8th).
  • Walks – 38 (9th), 2.9 per game.  199 in 2010 (7th), 3.6 per game.
  • HBP's – 19 (6th).  76 in 2010 (3rd).
  • Sac Bunts – 15 (3rd).  55 in 2010 (3rd).

Lineup

Washington only returned four regulars to their lineup so they knew there would be growing pains this year with fifteen freshmen and four JC transfers on the roster.

Infield

Washington has an experienced left side of the infield but is going with new or seldom used players from last season on the right side of the infield and behind the plate.  

C – JC transfer #8 B.K. Santy (RH – .242/.324/.274, 0-2-0) has taken over behind the plate after both catchers from last year moved on and has started in 11 of 13 games.  He hit 7th and 8th last weekend.

1B – JR #25 Eric Peterson (LH – .313/.405/.375, 0-5-0.  '10 – .225 in 40 AB's) didn't play much last season but is getting his chance this year and leads the team in AVG.  He has started six games at 1B and two at DH.  He hit 4th and 6th last weekend.  Soph #40 Joe Meggs (RH – 4-10) has made three starts, including one last weekend.

2B – FR #2 Willy Reel (RH – .226/.250/.258, 0-2-0) and FR #12 Reggie Jones (RH – .059 across the board, 1-17) have been splitting time and neither has done much at the plate thus far.  Either one of them will hit at the bottom of the order.

SS – Soph #18 Jacob Lamb (LH – .294/.327/.431, 2-7-0.  '10 – .347/.413/.475, 4-32-1) has started 8 games at SS and 5 at 3B after being the starter at 3B last season when he was a FR All-American when he was in the top two on the team in AVG, R, H, 2B, RBI, TB and OBP.  He was 4th in the Pac 10 with a .363 average in conference games.  Lamb has two of the team's four HR's and leads the team in RBI.  He will hit either 3rd or 5th.  Lamb wore out Fullerton in the first two games of last year's series when he was 6-7 with a HR before being held hitless in the third game.

3B – SR #32 Troy Scott (LH – .320/.433/.520, 1-9-0; '10 – .233/.351/.402, 7-28-4) is a four year starter who played mostly at 1B before this season and has started seven games at 3B and three at 1B.  He has been 2nd on the team in HR each of the last two seasons.  Scott will see lots of pitches and has led the team in BB's the last two seasons but also has a big swing and has been second on the team in K's the last two seasons, striking out almost 1/3 of the time, although he has cut down on his strikeouts this year.  He has been hitting 2nd.  Scott went 1-10 in last year's series with Fullerton.
 
Outfield and DH

Washington has two experienced players in the OF (although one of them wasn't an OF last season) and will use the other OF spot to platoon several players.

CF – JR #21 Caleb Brown (RH – .111/.168/.111, 0-3-0.  '10 – .295/.413/.435, 4-29-9) is one of the better athletes on the team but has gotten off to a slow start after breaking his leg last summer and missing fall ball.  He led the team in SB and HBP (13) in 2010 and was second on the team in BB and OBP.  Brown is the leadoff hitter.  He went 4-11 in last year's series with Fullerton.

RF – Soph #11 Chase Anselment (LH – .265/.345/.408, 1-7-0.  '10 – .347/.421/.581, 6-28-1) was the DH most of the time last season but has been playing in RF and has started behind the plate twice.  He had a strong FR season and led the team in AVG, OBP and SLG.  He hit 3rd and 5th last weekend.

LF – SR #37 Brendan Gardner-Young (LH – .211/.286/.316, 0-2-1), FR #26 Spencer Rogers (LH – .217/.471/.304, 0-2-0) and FR #33 Will Sparks (RH – 2-7) have been splitting time in LF and whoever is in the lineup will hit lower in the order.  Gardner-Young has also played some CF this season.

DH – FR #38 Ryan Wiggins (RH – .286/.390/.371, 0-1-0) has started the last seven games at DH and has been in the lineup in 10 of 13 games.  He hit cleanup twice and 6th once last weekend.

Defense

Fielding % –.970 (7th) with 14 errors.  2010 – .970 with 65 errors (7th).  Washington isn't too athletic on the corners, Lamb is playing out of position at SS and they are platooning two FR at 2B.  Brown is a good athlete in CF but there are question marks at the corner OF positions. 

Stolen Base Attempts – 9-15 (4th).  2010 – 45-68 (7th).  Washington's catchers did a solid job against the running game last year and runners are only 6-11 against Santy, the new catcher.
                                                                 
WP's/PB's Allowed – 14 (9th).  2010 – 36 (2nd).  The new catchers have struggled with blocking pitches.  Washington is a ground ball staff so they will have more pitches thrown in the dirt to be blocked.



Pitching

  • ERA – 5.62 (10th in Pac 10).  5.71 in 2010 (10th).
  • BA – .310 (10th).  .305 in 2010 (10th).
  • BB's/9 IP – 3.5 (5th).  3.2 in 2010 (3rd).
  • K's/9 IP – 7.5 (9th).  6.6 in 2010 (8th).
  • Extra Base Hits – 42 (10th), 3.2 per game.  272 (10th), 4.9 per game in 2010.
  • HR – 4 (7th).  75 HR in 2010 (7th).


Starters

Washington has a pretty experienced staff that returned pitchers who started 39 of 56 games, including 22 of 27 conference games, but their project Friday SP has been out for academic issues and the staff has had pitchers projected to be starters coming out of the bullpen and pitchers projected to be relievers in the rotation.  The Huskies had issues on the mound in 2010 and things have been about the same to start this season.

FRI – FR #31 Austin Voth (RHP – 1-1, 3.95 ERA, 3 apps, 2 GS, 13.2 IP, 16 H, 3 BB, 12 K, 1 HR, .308 BA, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 0-1 SB) allowed 3 R in 2 IP in his only relief appearance before being inserted into the rotation two weeks ago, taking over for JC transfer #17 Michael Garber, who allowed 11 R in 5.2 IP in two starts in the first two weekends.  Voth has been solid in both of his starts when he got the win against BYU (6 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K) and in a loss against Dallas Baptist (5.2 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 0 BB, 2 K).

SAT – Soph #14 Aaron West (RHP – 0-2, 7.23 ERA, 4 GS, 18.2 IP, 26 H, 6 BB, 14 K, 2 HR, .351 BA, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 2-3 SB) made four appearances last season (3 starts) before being shut down with an injury and taking a medical redshirt.  He had a bad first outing against Air Force (6 R allowed in 2 IP) and pitched better against Bakersfield (4.2 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and BYU (6 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K) before struggling against Dallas Baptist (6 IP, 5 R, 7 H, 3 BB, 2 K).

SUN – SR #24 Jacob Clem (RHP – 1-2, 2.45 ERA, 5 GS, 29.1 IP, 23 H, 8 BB, 21 K, 0 HR, .204 BA, 5 HBP, 2 WP, 2-3 SB.  2010 – 4-4, 3.70 ERA, 30 apps, 6 saves, 0 GS, 66 IP, 52 H, 19 BB, 49 K, 4 HR, .222 BA, 13 HBP, 2 WP, 3-5 SB) threw well out of the bullpen last year when he led the team in saves and had a 3.14 ERA with four saves in sixteen appearances conf games.  He allowed batters to only hit .222 against him in 2010, which was 2nd in the Pac 10 last season.  Clem has been throwing well in a SP role this year, including a two hit shutout in his most recent start against Dallas Baptist.  He allowed 2 R and 4 H in 6.2 IP in a no decision in his previous start against BYU.   Clem allowed a run on two hits in one IP last season against Fullerton.

Relievers

Washington got some decent work out of their relievers last year despite having a high team ERA and were 3rd in the Pac 10 with 16 saves even though they were only .500 overall.  The bullpen hasn't been as good this year with Clem in the rotation and some of the returning pitchers struggling and the newcomers working on getting experience.

FR #34 Jeff Brigham (RHP – 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 7 apps, 1 save, 10 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 12 K, .265 BA, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 2 WP) has been the best reliever and taken over the closer role.  He is the hardest thrower in the bullpen but has struggled at times

Soph #42 Adam Cimber (RHP – 0-0, 1.93 ERA, 4 apps, 4.2 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 K, .364 BA, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 WP) was pretty effective out of the pen last season, leading the team in apperances, and ended up being a part-time SP (5-2, 4.97 ERA, 31 apps, 6 saves, 4 GS, 67 IP, 87 H, 21 BB, 37 K, .322 BA, 10 HR, 10 HBP, 2 WP).  He threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings against Fullerton last season, allowing only one hit.

SR #13 Geoff Brown (LHP – 0-2, 15.43 ERA, 7 apps, 1 save, 4.2 IP, 13 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, .565 BA, 0 HBP, 0 WP) was a SP most of the time last season (1-6, 5.79 ERA, 20 apps, 11 GS, 65 IP, 86 H, 28 BB, 38 K, .321 BA, 11 HR, 6 HBP, 3 WP).  He started the Sunday game against Fullerton last year, allowing 5 R (1 ER) on 9 H in 5 1/3 IP.

SR #20 Ben Guidos (LHP – 0-0, 6.35 ERA, 5 apps, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, .294 BA, 1 HBP, 1 WP) pitched mostly out of the bullpen but was also a part-time SP last season (2-4, 5.77 ERA, 19 apps, 1 save, 6 GS, 53 IP, 66 H, 22 BB, 31 K, 2 HR, .325 BA, 4 HBP, 2 WP).  He allowed 2 R on 3 H in 2/3 IP against Fullerton last season.

FR #16 Tyler Kane (RHP – 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 5 apps, 6.2 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 8 K, .375 BA, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 WP)

Outlook

Fullerton dominated the series in Seattle last season when the Titans swept Washington and outscored  the Huskies 34-13.  The Washington pitchers struggled to get Fullerton out all weekend and only one of the games was competitive.

If Fullerton is going to get back to playing well they are going to have to get back to being comfortable on the mound, in the field and at the plate.  The Titans were pressing in all four games and the results showed on the scoreboard.  Fullerton battled in three of the games but made way too many mistakes to beat good teams like LSU and Texas A&M.

Fullerton goes into the series with Washington as the better team despite the results of last weekend but that won't mean much if the Titans don't turn things around in all areas.  If Fullerton plays like they did during their six game winning streak the Titans should be able to win at least two games, if not all three of them.  If Fullerton continues to make mistakes and have trouble scoring runs the Huskies have enough talent to give the Titans a battle in this series.