Baseball Preview: Long Beach

Cal State Fullerton has played one of the tougher schedules that anybody has faced thus far with three series in the first four weekends against teams that were ranked in the top fifteen nationally when each series was played.

The Titans only won once against #1 Florida but that is the only blemish on the Gators 16-1 record as they head into SEC play this weekend.  Fullerton followed that up the next weekend by winning a series at home against #15 TCU and last weekend headed down to #5 Texas A&M and became the first team to win a non-conference series in College Station since 1995 after losing the first game 6-1 by winning the final two games 6-5 in eleven innings and 4-3.

 

Fullerton played their first game away from Goodwin Field since the Florida series when they traveled up to USC last Tuesday night and saw their seven game winning streak snapped in a 7-4 loss.  The game was scoreless until the fifth inning when the Titans scored four runs on an RBI groundout by Greg Velasquez, an RBI single by Michael Lorenzen and a two run triple by Richy Pedroza.  It looked like Koby Gauna might make that lead stand up as he took a shutout into the bottom of the sixth before the Trojans scored two runs off of him and Tyler Peitzmeier and scored five runs off of Peitzmeier and Willie Kuhl in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead for good.  Fullerton only had five hits in the game with four of them coming in the four run fifth as the Titans struggled at the plate most of the night.

Texas A&M extended Fullerton's losing streak with a 6-1 win on Friday night.  The Aggies jumped on the Titans early with four runs in the first two innings off of Dylan Floro and Fullerton never recovered.  Texas A&M got an outstanding start from All-American Michael Wacha, who shutout the Titans for five innings and gave up only two hits.  Fullerton broke up Wacha's shutout after an hour long rain delay when they scored an unearned run in the sixth inning on a SF by Matt Chapman, who also had two of the Titans four hits.  Texas A&M completed the scoring for the night with two runs off of the Fullerton bullpen in the eighth inning and the Aggies bullpen held the Titans scoreless for the final three innings.

Texas A&M scored three runs in the second inning for the second straight game and it looked like they were on their way to winning the series before the Titans put together a rally in the fourth inning.  Lorenzen and Carlos Lopez led off the inning with doubles and Pedroza's groundout drove in the second run.  The Aggies scored in the bottom of the fifth before Fullerton scored three runs in the top of the sixth to take the lead with some help from Texas A&M.  Derek Legg and Lorenzen led off the inning with singles, Lopez bunted them over and Pedroza drove them both in with a two out single and when the throw from LF to the plate got away, Pedroza advanced all the way to third and when the C's throw to 3B got away he came around to score to give the Titans a 5-4 lead on two of the Aggies four errors in the game.  Kenny Mathews held Texas A&M to one run after the second inning until tiring in the eighth when he allowed the tying run.  Peitzmeier and Kuhl got out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth when they each struck out a batter with the winning run on third and the score would stay tied 5-5 for 21 hours when a rain delay suspended the game until Sunday.  Fullerton jumped on Texas A&M's closer in his third inning of work (one on Sat and two on Sun) in the 11th when Anthony Trajano pulled a double down the LF line and Austin Kingsolver bounced a ball up the middle for the go ahead RBI.  Lorenzen came in from CF to finish things off for his fifth save with a 1-2-3 inning and two strikeouts.  Four Titans had two hits and Pedroza had three RBI.

Texas A&M looked determined to win the final game and the series when they scored three runs in the second inning for the third straight day before Fullerton rallied in the fourth inning.  Legg got things started with a bunt single for the second straight game, Lorenzen doubled him in and Chapman tied the game with a two run HR that hit the top of the fence and bounced over.  Grahamm Wiest made his first appearance since the Florida series when he came into the game in the fifth for starter J.D. Davis and held the Aggies scoreless for four innings and allowed only two hits with five strikeouts.  There was a travel curfew that came into play like it did in the TCU series because Fullerton had a plane to catch out of Houston so both teams knew that the game would end after nine innings.  Chapman got things started in the top of the ninth when he singled and Pedroza followed with a single up the middle and Chapman advanced to third on the throw with Pedroza going to second.  After an intentional walk, pinch-hitter Anthony Hutting hit a hard grounder that the 1B couldn't handle that drove in Chapman with the go ahead run.  Lorenzen came in from CF and retired Texas A&M 1-2-3 with two strikeouts for the second straight time on Sunday for his Big West leading sixth save of Wiest's first win as a Titan.

Fullerton returned to Goodwin Field on Tuesday and played Washington State in another game that was settled late and lasted nearly four hours.  The Titans were the ones putting together a three run inning early this time after they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third on an Ivory Thomas walk (one of his three walks), a double by Legg, a two run RBI single by Lorenzen and an RBI single by Pedroza.  It looked like Gauna might have a chance to make the lead stand when he took a 3-1 lead into the sixth before the floodgates opened after an error extended the inning and the Cougars followed that up with a single, a three run HR and two doubles to take a 6-3 lead.  Davis singled to lead off the sixth and eventually scored on a SF by Thomas.  WSU extended the lead to 8-4 in the seventh before Fullerton rallied for four runs to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.  Lorenzen tripled, Lopez singled him in, Chapman followed with a single, Pedroza bunted the runners over, Davis hit a SF and pinch-hitter Hutting hit a two run HR to tie the game.  Things stayed tied until the Cougars scored a run in the top of the eleventh and the Titans were held off the scoreboard for the fourth straight inning to end the game.

Fullerton stays home this weekend and welcomes their long-time rivals from Long Beach State to Goodwin Field.  This will be a non-conference series in what was an annual tradition for the teams to play two series each season from 2001-2008 and after a two year break, the tradition was continued last season when the teams played a non-conference series to open up the schedule.  The Titans have been getting the better of the Dirtbags over the last three years, who have gotten off to a slow start but would like nothing better than to turn their season around this weekend.

 

Long Beach State Dirtbags

  • Current Record – 5-10
  • Overall Record in 2011 – 29-27
  • Conference Record in 2011 – 12-12 in 2011 (4th)   
  • 2011 Post-Season – None
  • RPI/ISR – 40/114.  2011 – 65/48. 
  • Current/pre-season ranking – None
  • Predicted conference finish – 3rd by the Big West coaches, Baseball America and Easton College Baseball, 4th by Perfect Game.

 

2011 Review and 2012 Summary

The wheels fell off of the tracks at Long Beach in 2009-2010 and they missed the post-season both times after playing in regionals in fourteen of the previous sixteen seasons and the result was a coaching change with pitching coach Troy Buckley taking over for Mike Weathers.  The Dirtbags finished in last place in the Big West in 2010 after expecting to contend for a regional with an experienced team that returned seven starting position players and two starting pitchers.  Long Beach pretty much started over last year with seventeen freshmen and five JC transfers entering the program and as would be expected, they were inconsistent during the season against one of the most difficult schedules in the country.  The Dirtbags won series against three out of four teams in the top part of the Big West standings (UC Irvine, Cal Poly, UC Riverside) but lost series to also-rans UCSB and UC Davis.  Long Beach finished over .500 due to their pitching depth that allowed them to go 9-2 in midweek games.

Long Beach didn't change their offensive approach with the switch from Weathers to Buckley and their philosophy continued to be to try to get runners on, try to get them over and try to get them in.  The Dirtbags struggled with the getting runners on and getting runners in part of the equation and ended up near the bottom of the Big West in R, AVG, BB and OBP.  Long Beach didn't steal much or effectively with a success rate that was barely over 60% but often used the hit and run to get runners moving and bunted early and often with five players having at least seven SAC's.  The Dirtbags didn't have much power, which isn't a surprise playing their games at Blair Field, and they were last in the Big West in HR and SLG and scored three runs or less in over half of their games and two runs or less twenty-four times.  Only two position players hit over .280 for Long Beach and both of them have moved on.

Buckley returned to the program in 2010 after a two year absence and the pitching was improved with the ERA coming down half a run to 4.67 and Long Beach's ERA came down by another run to 3.55 in 2011 with teams hitting only .259 against them and they were among the Big West leaders in strikeouts.  The Dirtbags also did an outstanding job of finishing things off in close games and were 21-10 in games decided by one or two runs due to a deep bullpen.

Long Beach won their first two series at home this season against VCU and California with five of the six games being decided by one run.  The Dirtbags luck in one run games ran out when they went up to Oregon and the Ducks scored the winning run in their final at bat in all three games.  Long Beach returned home to play Arizona State last weekend and lost the first game in 12 innings, won the second game and lost the final game on Sunday.  Unlike last season when the Dirtbags were very successful in midweek games, they have gone 0-3 on Tuesdays thus far.

Long Beach is struggling once again to score runs and they have been held to four runs or less in 11 of 15 games.  The Dirtbags weren't running much in their first eleven games with only six SB's before stealing ten bases in four games last week.  Long Beach is continuing to bunt often and is averaging over two SAC's per game with five players already having at least three SAC's.  The Dirtbags have already played 11 games that have been decided by one or two runs and that is due to pitching staff doing a good job of keeping them in games and allowing four runs or less nine times.

 

Offense

  • Park Factor according to Boyd's World – 81 (decreases offense by 19%). 
  • Batting Average – .226 (9th in the Big West).  .258 in 2011 (8th in the Big West)
  • Runs Per Game – 3.4 (9th).  3.9 in 2011 (8th).
  • Home Runs – 0 (9th).  10 in 2011 (9th). 
  • Slugging Percentage – .254 (9th).  .324 in 2011 (9th).
  • Walks – 48 (6th), 3.2 per game.  133 in 2011 (9th), 2.4 per game.
  • HBP's – 21 (5th).  69 in 2011 (4th).
  • Strikeouts – 83 (8th), 5.6 per game.  389 in 2011 (2nd), 6.9 per game.
  • Stolen Bases – 16-23 (2nd).  51-82 in 2011 (4th). 
  • Sac Bunts – 32 (1st).  75 in 2010 (2nd).

 

Lineup

Infield

Long Beach lost their SS and another player who split time between 3B and C but returns experienced players to take over for those two players as well as having experienced players back at the other spots.

C – Soph #50 Royce Murai (RH – .136/.136/.182, 0-6-1.  '11 – .231/.277/.256, 0-1-0 in 78 AB's) split time pretty evenly in 2011 with Mike Marjama, who was second on the team in RBI, and struggled at the plate with 25 K's in 78 AB's.  Murai will usually bunt with runners on and had 8 SAC's in 2011 and has 2 SAC's this season.  SR #3 Kellen Hoime (RH – .273/.304/.273, 0-4-0.  '10 – .252/.338/.291, 0-19-5) is splitting time with Murai after sitting out 2011 as a medical redshirt and was the regular C for most of 2010.  They have combined to walk once in 44 AB's and whoever starts will hit ninth.

1B/DH – Soph #4 Ino Patron (LH – .260/.387/.280, 0-6-0.  '11 – .277/.363/.372, 3-24-3) was leading Long Beach in most hitting categories going into the last three weeks of the season but slumped down the stretch and saw his average drop over 30 points after he was hitting .321 going into the Fullerton series.  He does a good job of squaring up pitches and had one of the better BB/K ratios on the team in 2011 (18/25) and has been outstanding with his plate discipline this year with an 11/2 ratio and leads the team and is 3rd in the conf in BB.  Patron has been splitting time between 1B (9 games) and DH (6 games) and will be hitting cleanup.  He went 4-19 against Fullerton in 2011.

1B – Soph #5 Jeff Yamaguchi (RH – .167/.318/.167, 0-2-1.  '11 – .263/.320/.305, 0-12-2) was in the lineup on a regular basis early in 2011, splitting time with Patron at 1B/DH, but he had trouble making contact (39 K's in 118 AB's) and saw his playing time dwindle.  He has started six times at 1B but is still having trouble making contact (6 K's in 18 AB's).  Yamaguchi will usually hit 6th or 7th.

2B – Soph #1 Jeff McNeil (LH – .231/.333/.231, 0-2-3.  '11 – .271/.328/.307, 0-14-2) played some 2B in 2011 but was in LF most of the time.   He has hit in the top two spots in the lineup over the last two seasons and led the team with a .320 AVG in conf games in 2011.  McNeil is a very good bunter and was second in the conf with 15 SAC's last season and already has six SAC's.  McNeil does a good job of making contact and had 21K's in 2011 and has only struck out twice in 52 AB's.  He is not a patient hitter and only had 10 BB's last season and has walked three times thus far.  McNeil has been looking to run more after not running much last season.  He went 5-20 against Fullerton in 2011.

SS – JR #10 Matt Duffy (RH – .185/.290/.185, 0-5-1.  '11 – .266/.298/.290, 0-31-7.  '10 – .244/.261/.291; 0-7-2 in 86 AB's) started at 2B last season but has taken over for Kirk Singer at SS.  He was a part-time player most of his FR season before starting ten straight games down the stretch.  Duffy got off to a slow start in 2011 but hit better as the season went on and ended up leading the team in RBI and was 2nd team All-Big West.  He was one of the big surprises of the Cape Cod League during the summer when he finished third in the league in AVG but has gotten off to a frigid start this year.  Duffy was hitting in the middle of the lineup most of the time before being moved down to 7th and 8th last weekend.  He only walked ten times in 2011 but has been more patient this year and has a solid 6/8 BB/K ratio.  Duffy went 7-24 against Fullerton last season and is 10-38 in his career against the Titans.

3B/RF – JR #9 Juan Avila (RH – .304/.371/.357, 0-4-2.  '11 – .245/.350/.396, 2-7-0. '10 – .231 in 52 AB's) started mostly in RF or at DH his first two seasons but has been splitting time between 3B (8 games) and RF (7 games) this season.  He is one of the few players who has been hitting well and leads the regulars in AVG.  Avila has been one of the few threats in the lineup to get an extra base hit and led the team in SLG in 2011 and is again leading the team in SLG.  He was a part-time player early last season but started getting regular playing time during conf play and hit .300 in Big West games.  Avila has hit third in seven of the last eight games.  He went 2-11 against Fullerton last season.

Soph #23 Michael Hill (LH – .115/.148/.192, 0-0-0.  '11 – .200/.252/.253, 0-7-4) was injured and missed most of the first half of last season but started getting more playing time down the stretch when Marjama was catching.  He has started seven times at 3B.  Hill has usually hit 7th or 8th the last two years.  He had a poor 4/30 BB/K ratio in 2011 and it is only 1/8 this season.  Hill went 0-10 against Fullerton in 2011.

 

Outfield

Long Beach returned their CF and RF and has plugged their best recruit into the other OF spot and a couple of reserves from last season have been part of the rotation in the OF and at DH.

LF – Soph #2 Johnny Bekakis (RH – .214/.371/.214, 0-1-2.  '11 – .241/.302/.276, 0-7-2 in 58 AB's) didn't get much playing time as a FR until late in the year and started off well before cooling off the last couple of weeks.  He has started seven times in LF and has been the leadoff hitter the last six times he has been in the lineup.  Bekakis went 0-5 against Fullerton in 2011.

LF/RF – FR #29 Richard Prigatano (RH – .227/.314./250, 0-1-1) was drafted in the 16th round but decided to go to school.  He has good size and is one of the few power threats in the lineup, although that power hasn't come through yet and he only has one extra-base hit.  Prigatano got off to a slow start by going 1-19 but has been hitting better lately by going 9-25.  He has been splitting time in LF (six games) with Bekakis and RF (seven games) with Avila.  Prigatano has usually been hitting sixth or seventh.

CF – SR #12 Brennan Metzger (RH – .265/.403/.286, 0-4-5.  '11 – .279/.385/.390, 1-13-8; '10 – .308/.409/.453, 2-22-9) has good speed and was the leadoff hitter most of the last three seasons but because of the teamwide hitting slump he has split time between hitting at the top of the lineup and in the middle of the order as Long Beach tries to find anybody to drive in runs.  He is a scrappy player who will do whatever he can to get on base and led the team with 11 HBP in 2011 after leading the Big West with 20 HBP in 2010 and is second on the school's career list in HBP's.  Metzger had a very good BB/K ratio (22/29) last season and has an outstanding 7/4 ratio thus far.  He is a good bunter and had nine SAC's in 2011 and has four SAC's this season.  Metzger went 5-19 in 2011 against Fullerton and is 6-29 in his career against the Titans.

DH – Soph #26 Brennan Fulkerson (LH – .333/.368/.389, 0-3-0.  '11 – .250 in 24 AB's) has been one of the few players to get off to a decent start and has been playing DH more recently and splitting time with Patron in the DH spot.  JC transfer #35 Robert Vickers (LH – .211/.286/.316, 0-2-0) got five starts earlier in the year at DH but hasn't started in the last six games and has mostly been a PH off of the bench the last two weeks.

 

Defense 

Fielding % – .972 (2nd) with 17 errors.  .965 (9th) with 75 errors in 2011. 

Patron and Yamaguchi are solid at 1B.  McNeil and Duffy have good range up the middle but are prone to making the occasional error (each has made three errors).  Hill and Avila are poor at 3B and have already combined to make six errors so Fullerton will be testing them with the bunting game.  Metzger has very good range in CF, the other OF's are average.  Long Beach's defense is better but they have made errors at key times and have allowed 15 unearned runs.

Stolen Base Attempts – 14-22 (4th).  59-83 (4th) in 2011.
 

2012 – Murai (3-7), Hoime (10-13).  2011 – Murai (29-38).  2010 – Hoime (32-46).  Both are solid against the running game.

WP's/PB's Allowed – 11 (5th).  2011 – 48 (5th). 

Murai and Hoime are average at blocking pitches.

 

Pitching

  • ERA – 3.14 (2nd in the Big West).  3.55 in 2011 (4th). 
  • BA – .269 (7th).  .259 in 2011 (5th).
  • Walks – 49 (6th).  175 (6th) in 2011.
  • HBP – 18 (3rd).  67 (2nd) in 2011.
  • Strikeouts – 108 (3rd).  403 (4th) in 2011.
  • HR – 1 (1st).  13 HR in 2011 (3rd).

 

Starters

Long Beach lost their Friday SP, 2nd team All-Big West selection Andrew Gagnon, and returns two of the other three SP's from 2011.  The weekend rotation has gone 4-2 with a 2.94 ERA and kept the Dirtbags in most games despite their paltry offense.

FRI –  #22 Shawn Stuart (RHP – 1-0, 3.42 ERA, 4 GS, 24 IP, 17 H, 13 BB, 18 K, .202 BA, 1 HR, 3 HBP, 2 WP, 2-3 SB.  '11 – 4-4, 3.16 ERA, 2 saves, 18 apps, 13 GS, 74 IP, 71 H, 31 BB, 70 K, .261 BA, 0 HR, 7 HBP, 4 WP, 6-9 SB) pitched out of the bullpen early in 2011, was moved into rotation and allowed two runs or less in four of his first six starts, missed the better part of a month before returning and threw well down the stretch.  He threw well against VCU (5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K) before struggling with his control against Cal (5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 3 K) and Oregon (4 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K) but threw very well against ASU last week in a ND (9 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K).  Stuart has one of the better arms on the staff with a good sinking fastball and slider and can be tough to hit when he has good control, which is an issue for him.  He picked up a save in the first series of 2011 against Fullerton with 1 2/3 scoreless innings and lost his start in the second series (5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K).

SAT – JC transfer #27 Matt Anderson (RHP – 1-0, 2.59 ERA, 4 GS, 24 IP, 22 H, 5 BB, 22 K, .237 BA, 0 HR, 3 HBP, 2 WP, 2-3 SB) didn't pitch much until his Soph season in JC ball after being converted from being an infielder due to his strong arm.  He has thrown well in all four starts against VCU (5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K), Cal (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K), Oregon (6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K) and ASU (6 1/3 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K).  His fastball sits around 90 and he has a good slider and good control.

SUN – Soph #24 Ryan Strufing (LHP – 2-1, 2.82 ERA, 22 IP, 21 H, 7 BB, 17 K, .253 BA, 0 HR, 5 HBP, 0 WP, 6-7 SB. '11 – 3-2, 4.70 ERA, 17 apps, 9 GS, 54 IP, 53 H, 28 BB, 33 K, .272 BA, 3 HR, 8 HBP, 4 WP, 5-6 SB) was a middle reliever and midweek starter most of the season before moving into the weekend rotation for the last six weeks but struggled in last four starts when his ERA went up by a run.  He threw well in his first three starts against VCU (6 2/3 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K), Cal (8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K) when he was Big West pitcher of the week and Oregon (5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 5 K) before getting knocked out early against ASU (2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K).  Strufing is tough when he has control of his breaking ball and curve ball but if he's not throwing them for strikes hitters can wait him out and get his pitch count up.  He allowed 2 R in 2 1/3 IP and took the loss in a relief appearance against Fullerton in the first series of 2011 and struggled in his start in the second series with the Titans when he allowed nine runs in 5 2/3 IP.

 

Relievers

Long Beach's bullpen was a strong area in 2011 and a big reason why they won 20 of 28 games decided by one or two runs with six pitchers making at least fifteen relief appearances.  It was expected to be a strength against this season with most of those guys returning but the midweek SP's and relievers have combined to go 1-9.

JR #33 Eddie Magallon (RHP – 0-2, 7.11 ERA, 6 apps, 6 IP, 13 H, 1 BB, 4 K, .464 BA, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 0 WP, 0-0 SB. '11 – 2-1, 3.62 ERA, 9 saves, 23 apps, 32 IP, 32 H, 6 BB, 19 K, .252 BA, 0 HR, 6 HBP, 2 WP, 1-1 SB) was the closer in 2011 and was third in the Big West in saves but got off to a bad start when he blew the save in the opener against VCU (1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R) and has been pitching in middle relief since then.  He doesn't throw hard but is a strike thrower with good control who usually does a good job of mixing his pitches.  Magallon allowed 2 R on 7 H in 4 2/3 IP in two appearances against Fullerton in 2011.

SR #16 Matt Johnson (RHP –  0-1, 3.24 ERA, 5 apps, 2 GS, 17 IP, 17 H, 5 BB, 13 K, .237 BA, 0 HR, 3 HBP, 2 WP, 1-2 SB.  '11 – 5-1, 4.31 ERA, 19 apps, 2 GS, 48 IP, 64 H, 8 BB, 45 K, .332 BA, 2 HR, 7 HBP, 3 WP, 3-7 SB) was a workhorse out of the bullpen in 2011 and led the team in wins.  He has started two midweek games this season (L at UCLA – 1/3 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 1 BB and ND vs. San Diego State – 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K) and will be available this weekend because Long Beach didn't have a midweek game.  Johnson has a good changeup and has to keep the ball down to succeed.  He started one of the games against Fullerton in the first series and was knocked out early (2 2/3 IP, 4 R, 1 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 2 K) and made two relief appearances in the second series (2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K).

Other relievers who would be likely to come into the game:

Soph #37 Kyle Friedrichs (RHP – 0-2, 2.45 ERA, 8 apps, 11 IP, 10 H, 5 BB, 13 K, .244 BA, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 0-2 SB.  '11 – 4-2, 3.99 ERA, 1 save, 20 apps, 47 IP, 46 H, 7 BB, 34 K, .254 BA, 2 HR, 9 HBP, 2 WP, 4-5 SB)

Soph #46 Jon Maciel (RHP – 0-1, 1.35 ERA, 1 save, 7 apps, 6 2/3 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K, .308 BA, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 WP, 0-1 HBP.  '11 – 0-1, 1.25 ERA, 1 save, 17 apps, 22 IP, 16 H, 6 BB, 21 K, .211 BA, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 3 WP, 2-2 SB)

Soph #19 Josh Frye (RHP – 1-1, 1.17 ERA, 6 apps, 7 2/3 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 8 K, .300 BA, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 0 WP, 1-1 SB.  '11 – 0-0, 1.72 ERA, 1 save, 15 apps, 16 IP, 22 H, 5 BB, 10 K, .328 BA, 0 HR, 2 HBP, 1 WP, 3-3 SB)

Soph #32 Jake Stassi (LHP – 0-0, 6.35 ERA, 1 save, 7 apps, 5 2/3 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K, .348 BA, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 2 WP, 1-2 SB.  '11 – 0-1, 3.50 ERA, 10 apps, 3 GS, 18 IP, 16 H, 10 BB, 10 K, .246 BA, 1 HR, 2 HBP, 0 WP, 2-3 SB)

FR #49 Nick Sabo (LHP – 0-2, 4.32 ERA, 4 apps, 1 GS, 8 1/3 IP, 16 H, 3 BB, 6 K, .390 BA, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 WP, 0-0 SB).

JC transfer #14 Landon Hunt (LHP – 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 apps, 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 1 K, .222 BA, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 WP, 0-0 SB).

 

Outlook           

Fullerton won all seven games against Long Beach in 2009-2010 by a cumulative score of 60-14.  The Dirtbags were more competitive in the first series when they finally broke their losing streak to the Titans, whose two wins were each by one run.  Fullerton reverted back to dominating the series when they swept Long Beach in the conference series in May on their way to winning the Big West championship.  There isn't much doubt that the Dirtbags have a large mental block to overcome if they are going to turn things around and win this series.

Long Beach has been getting good pitching most of the season, especially from their starters, but it has often gone for naught due to an offense that has struggled most of the time.  A common theme in most games for the Dirtbags has been that they will be in a tight game late and their bullpen will give up a run for a one run loss.  Long Beach would like to jump out to early leads in this series to take some pressure off of their pitching staff so look for them to try to bunt runners over and get runners moving early in games when they get runners on.

Fullerton has also had their share of struggles on offense this season, especially at night, although the offense has started to wake up with eighteen runs over the last three games.  The Titans have also had some issues on defense after playing errorless ball in the opening series.  This looks like it could be a close series because Long Beach has been competitive with three straight nationally ranked Pac 12 teams.  If Fullerton makes errors on defense and isn't efficient on offense the Dirtbags have the potential to pull off an upset.  If the Titans continue to show some competitive fire like they did at Texas A&M and start to play more efficiently they will win this series.