The Titans won the first two games against Oral Roberts by scores of 7-1 and 5-3 before dropping the final game of the series 3-0.
Unlike when Long Beach scored first in all three games of last week's series, Fullerton got on the scoreboard first on Thursday when Carlos Lopez singled with two outs and Anthony Hutting tripled him in. The Titans stretched the lead in the third when Michael Lorenzen singled to lead off the inning, advanced to second on a SAC by Richy Pedroza and scored later in the inning on a wild pitch. Fullerton extended the lead to 3-0 in the fifth when Pedroza led off with a walk and scored later in the inning on a single by Anthony Trajano. After Oral Roberts broke up the shutout in the sixth, the Titans put the game away with a four run seventh. Lopez and Hutting singled with one out and Trajano was hit by a pitch. It looked like the inning would end on a two out grounder by Greg Velazquez to first but the ball went thru the 1B's legs for a two run error and Derek Legg followed that up with a two run single. All of those runs were more than enough for Dylan Floro, who scattered eight hits over eight innings in allowing only one run and struck out six batters in improving his record to 3-2. Lopez had three of the Titans nine hits on the night.
Oral Roberts got off to a 1-0 lead on Friday by getting the first three batters of the game on base and Fullerton starter Kenny Mathews almost got out of the inning before a two out squibber found a hole to score a run. The Titans tied the game in the third when Lopez singled, Velazquez singled him to third and Trajano's SAC bunt was successful to score Lopez. Fullerton took the lead in the fourth when Legg singled, advanced to second on a balk and was singled in by Lorenzen. The Titans increased the lead to 3-1 in the sixth when Ivory Thomas was hit by a pitch and eventually was singled in by Casey Watkins. Mathews was replaced in the sixth when the Golden Eagles had a rally going but Dimitri DeLaFuente struck out the first batter he faced to difuse the rally. Fullerton padded the lead in the seventh with two insurance runs when Velazquez singled with two outs, Trajano doubled, Velazquez scored on a wild pitch and Matt Chapman singled in Trajano. The Titans would need those insurance runs because Oral Roberts got the first two runners on base in the eighth against DeLaFuente and after a walk by Tyler Peitzmeier loaded the bases, Lorenzen was summoned in from CF. He allowed two of the runners he inherited to score but got out of further trouble and finished off the game with a scoreless ninth for his eighth save as Mathews improved his record to 3-0 after allowing one run on six hits and three walks in 5 2/3 IP with 11 K's. Lorenzen and Chapman led the eleven hit attack with three hits each.
Grahamm Wiest made his first start since the Florida series on Saturday and was outstanding except for one mistake that he made that ended up being the difference in the game. Jose Trevino hit a hanging breaking pitch for a two run homer and those would be all the runs that Oral Roberts would need because as good as Wiest was, Alex Gonzalez was even better in holding the Titans off of the scoreboard for 7 2/3 innings and allowed only five hits before the bullpen finished things off. The only rally that Fullerton had in the game came when they had two runners on base with two outs in the fifth and Lorenzen singled but the runner was held at third and Pedroza grounded out. Wiest allowed a leadoff single in the ninth before he was removed and the runner eventually came around to score as he took a hard luck loss after throwing 8+ innings and allowed three runs on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Lorenzen was the only Titan with two hits in the game and Lopez and had a hit in all seven games during the homestand.
After not having a midweek game last week, Fullerton played two of them this week when they renewed their annual midweek series with Arizona State and made a trip to Tempe. The Titans and Sun Devils have played a midweek series for five consecutive seasons and for the fourth time the teams split the two games with ASU shutting out Fullerton 1-0 on Tuesday, the second straight game that Fullerton was shut out and the first time that has happened since George Horton's inaugural season as head coach in 1997, and the Titans coming back on Wednesday to get the better of the Sun Devils by a score of 9-5.
Fullerton had hits in each of the first four innings on Tuesday but hit into double plays in the first two innings and had a runner caught stealing in the fourth to thwart any potential rallies. J.D. Davis doubled in the fifth and Trajano singled but Davis was held at third and another double play thwarted that rally. Koby Gauna held ASU off of the scoreboard for the first five innings, including getting out of bases loaded and no out jam in the fifth, before surrendering a leadoff double in the sixth. DeLaFuente came on in relief and All-American Joey DeMichele drove in the game's only run with a single. Zak Miller scattered seven hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Sun Devils and three relievers held the Titans hitless for the rest of the game as Gauna took the hard luck loss. Lopez and Trajano were the only players with two hits for Fullerton as Lopez extended his hitting streak to eight games.
Fullerton came out determined to put their offensive miseries behind them and scored in the first inning on a single by Pedroza, a groundout and a single by Lorenzen. After ASU tied the game in the second, the Titans took the lead for good in the fourth by scoring three runs. Chapman and Davis hit singles with one out, which led to a pitching change for the Sun Devils. A single by Austin Kingsolver scored a run, a groundout by Chad Wallach scored another run and Pedroza's single up the middle drove in the third run of the inning. ASU scored in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 4-2 before Fullerton responded with two more runs in the seventh when Lopez walked, Clay Williamson pinch-hit for Velazquez and singled for his first hit as a Titan, Chapman singled in a run and Davis' ground out scored another run. ASU scored two runs in the eighth to cut the lead to 6-4 before Lorenzen was called in from CF to end the rally. Fullerton piled on three more runs in the ninth to put the game away when Lopez led off the inning with a single, Austin Diemer singled, an errant throw on Chapman's SAC bunt scored a run, a wild pitch scored the second run and a single by Thomas scored the third run. Lorenzen allowed his first run of the season in the ninth on a single by All-American Deven Marrero and a double by slugger Abe Ruiz but that would end the scoring for the night as Lorenzen notched his Big West leading ninth save. The Titans had a season high with eighteen hits, all of them singles, with each spot in the lineup either scoring and/or driving in a run. Pedroza and Kingsolver each had three hits and Lorenzen, Lopez, Chapman and Davis each had two hits with Lopez's hitting streak going to nine games. Tyler Peitzmeier got the start and the win for Fullerton on a designated staff day after throwing 3 1/3 innings and allowing one run on four hits. Willie Kuhl followed him on the mound and also allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings with five strikeouts.
Fullerton will return to Goodwin Field this weekend as they start their defense of their Big West conference championship with a series against Cal State Northridge. The Titans will be trying to get off to a fast start in the conference race and they will be looking to do so against a team they have gone 27-4 against in winning the last ten series the teams have played since 2003.
Cal State Northridge Matadors
- Overall Record – 11-13
- Overall Record in 2011 – 23-33
- Conference Record in 2011 – 6-18 in 2011 (9th)
- 2011 Post-Season – None
- 2012 RPI/ISR – 146/133. 2011 RPI/ISR – 218/163
- Current ranking – None
- Predicted conference finish – 9th by the Big West coaches, 8th by Baseball America and Perfect Game, 6th by Easton College Baseball
2011 Summary and 2012 Preview
Cal State Northridge went 29-27 in 2010 for their first winning record in Steve Rousey's eight year tenure as head coach but they only finished tied for 7th in the Big West at 9-15 and the results ultimately weren't enough to save Rousey's job. He was replaced after the season by Fresno State assistant coach Matt Curtis, who started making his imprint on the roster by bringing in thirteen newcomers with quite a few of them seeing playing time right away. The Matadors got off to a decent start at 14-11 but many of those games were played against mediocre competition and Northridge wasn't really prepared for what hit them in Big West play and they started out 1-11. The Matadors started to pitch better down the stretch and went 5-7 in their last four conference series, including a series win against UCSB.
Northridge's offensive attack was impacted by the new BBCOR bats more than most of the other Big West teams because they play in the best hitters ballpark in the conference. The Matadors still led the Big West with 22 HR's (down from 46 in 2010) but had trouble scoring runs and were held to four runs or less in 22 of the 30 games they played over the last final ten weekends of the season. Northridge played more little ball than they did in 2010 with 52 SB's and 45 SAC's but their two best stolen base threats moved on after the season.
Northridge expected to have an improved pitching staff in 2011 with most of their starting pitching returning but they didn't have any consistency from their pitchers until late in the season. The Matadors were shuffling pitchers back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen all season until the last four weekends of the conference schedule. Northridge ranked near the bottom of the Big West in almost every pitching category and allowed at least six runs in just over half of their games.
Northridge has continued to reshape their roster with another large recruiting class and has fourteen FR and four JC transfers on the roster. The Matadors got off to a fast start by winning their first two series at Sacramento State and at home against Northwestern before the schedule toughened up and they have only won one game in three of their last four weekend tournaments/series after going 1-3 at San Diego State's tournament and losing two out of three games in series at Portland and St. Mary's.
The offense for Northridge has been about the same as it was in 2011 and they have had trouble producing runs against the better pitching they have seen and scored three runs or less in seven of their nine weekend losses and haven't scored more than three runs in any game the last two weekends, including only getting ten hits in the three game series at St. Mary's. The Matadors don't run much or run well when they attempt to steal (8-21) but they will bunt often and have seven players with at least three SAC's. Northridge has been showing better plate discipline this season and will see lots of pitches because they are second in walks but they are also second in strikeouts.
Northridge had major pitching issues in 2011 without much stability in their rotation but this year has been a different story. The Matadors have had the same starting rotation for the last five weekends and those three starters have been pretty consistent with a 3.51 ERA. However, Northridge doesn't have much pitching depth and outside of their weekend rotation and their closer, the rest of the assortment of midweek starters and middle relievers on the pitching staff has an astronomical 8.40 ERA.
- Park Factor according to Boyd's World – 111 (increases offense by 11%). Northridge has short dimensions – 325 in the corners and 375 in the power alleys – and the ball carries well there.
- Batting Average – .262 (7th in the Big West). .262 in 2011 (7th).
- Runs Per Game – 121 (3rd), 5.0 runs per game. 254 in 2011 (4th), 4.6 per game.
- Home Runs – 9 (1st). 22 in 2011 (1st).
- Slugging Percentage – .342 (6th). .358 in 2011 (7th).
- Walks – 96 (2nd), 4.0 per game. 172 in 2011 (5th), 3.1 per game.
- HBP's – 32 (4th). 59 in 2011 (5th).
- Strikeouts – 139 (2nd most), 5.8 per game. 346 in 2011 (5th), 6.2 per game.
- Stolen Bases – 8-21 (9th). 52-72 in 2011 (5th).
- Sac Bunts – 31 (2nd). 45 in 2011 (5th).
Northridge returned most of the players around the infield but there has been some shuffling with newcomers taking advantage of injuries and/or beating out returning players and there are newcomers playing at three positions.
C – FR #21 Alexis Mercado (RH – .192/.421/.269 in 26 AB's, 0-4-0) has started in half of the 24 games despite struggling as a hitter because he is one of the two best defensive catchers on the roster. He has beaten out other experienced catchers to earn his playing time. One thing that Mercado will do is take lots of pitches because he is second on the team with 11 walks in only 41 plate appearances. He will usually hit 7th or 8th.
1B/C – JR #14 Marty Bowen (RH – .253/.358/.316, 1-7-0. '11 – .320/.360/.366, 1-23-0; '10 – .271 in 59 AB's) caught 24 of the last 25 games in 2011 and led the team in AVG but has moved over to 1B this season to keep him more rested and productive offensively and he has only started five games behind the plate despite being solid defensively. It was expected that he would provide more offense not having to catch but after getting off to a solid start he has been in a slump and has only gone 5-29 the last couple of weeks. Bowen has been much more patient at the plate this season and is among the conference leaders with 13 BB after only walking 11 times in 2011 and has an outstanding 13/8 BB/K ratio. He will also bunt when called upon and leads the team with 5 SAC's (5th in the conf). Bowen was usually hitting third earlier in the season but has hit fifth in his last ten starts. He went 4-10 with two RBI last season against Fullerton.
SR #11 Steven Keller (Both – '11 – .259/.356/.351, 3-29-2) was starting most of the time at catcher for the first half of 2011 but settled into the DH spot when Bowen was moved to the full-time catching spot and was tied for 2nd on the team in RBI while usually hitting cleanup with very good plate discipline (22/26 BB/K ratio) but has only started three times this season.
2B – FR #2 Ryan Raslowsky (RH – .275/.370/.300, 0-7-2) didn't start once in the first thirteen games but has taken advantage of an injury to get into the lineup and has been a sparkplug as the leadoff hitter over the last six games. He does a good job of handling the bat and has only struck out four times in 40 AB's and is one of several players with four SAC's. Raslowsky doesn't have much power and only has one extra base hit. He is one of the few threats to run in the lineup and is 2-5 on SB attempts.
JR #5 Tommy Simis (RH – .304/.375/.321, 0-6-0. '11 – .258/.335/.399, 4-29-5) started most of 2011 at 3B before shifting over to SS the last month of the season and took over at 2B for four year starter TS Reed. He led the team in HR and was tied for 2nd in RBI in 2011 and got off to a good start this season before injuring his elbow a couple of weeks ago and he could be out for the year. Simis went 3-10 with two RBI against Fullerton last season.
SS – JR #6 Kyle Attl (RH – .233/.323/.326, 1-9-0. '11 – .241/.310/.319, 1-15-0) started most of the season at SS in 2011 but was benched for the last few weeks after Simis moved over from 3B. He is back in the lineup at SS because his defense has helped solidify the middle infield. Attl has a little pop in his bat and is tied for the team lead with five 2B's. He will usually hit 8th.
3B – JC transfer #17 Brett Balkan (RH – .205/.359/.219, 0-11-1) has started every game at the hot corner after the position was a game of musical chairs in 2011 and done a good job defensively. He doesn't have much power with only one extra base hit but he does a good job of making contact with only six strikeouts. Balkan will crowd the plate and leads the Big West with 12 HBP's. He will usually hit 9th.
Two of Northridge's best players in 2011 were outfielders but they have moved on with newcomers or little used players taking over in two spots and a part-time player manning the other position.
DH – JR #22 Adam Barry (LH – .288/.339/.350, 0-14-8) split time between 1B and LF in 2011 but has usually been the DH this season after being in and out of the lineup the first couple of weeks with an injury. He did a good job of making contact in 2011 with only 16 K's but rarely walked with only 6 BB. Barry gained some confidence during the summer when he hit .400 and has developed a better eye with an 8/7 BB/K ratio. After getting off to a very hot start he has cooled off and only gone 6-29 over the last nine games. Barry will usually hit third. He went 3-8 with 3 SB's against Fullerton last season.
LF – There has been a platoon of several players attempting to take over for Ridge Carpenter, who was among the Big West leaders in SB's in 2010-2011, with nobody getting more than six starts. SR #21 Todd Eskelin (RH – .293/.400/.431, 1-7-0) has started six times in LF and has been one of the few hitters doing much (5-18) over the last nine games. Eskelin was the DH in nine games while Barry was in and out of the lineup or starting four games in LF. JR #7 Nate Ring (RH – .250/.351/.292, 0-6-2) is another player who has started four times in LF. He got off to a fast start like most of the team but has cooled off lately and only gone 3-19 the last two weeks. Ring is one of the few threats to run and is 2-5 on SB attempts. FR #24 Chester Pak (RH – .235/.350/.265, 0-4-1) started five games early in the season while things were being sorted out in LF but has only started once in the last two weeks.
CF – JC transfer #3 Cal Vogelsang (RH – .269/.278/.346, 1-8-0) has started 12 of the last 13 games and has helped to solidify things while Northridge sorted out who would take over for 2nd team All-Big West OF Drew Muren, who was drafted after last season. He has been the hottest hitter on the team over the past two weeks and has gone 14-36 after getting only seven hits in his first 42 AB's. Vogelsang has poor plate discipline with a 0/15 BB/K ratio. He will usually hit 2nd. Ring started seven games in CF before Vogelsang took control of the position.
RF – Soph #13 Miles Williams (RH – .294/.396/.447, 3-14-1. '11 – .262 in 65 AB's) moved into the lineup late in 2011 and has been the regular RF this season. He is the main power threat in the lineup and is tied for third in the conference with 3 HR's. Making contact was a major issue for Williams in 2011 because he struck out 37 times in 65 AB's and he leads the Big West this season with 29 K's. He has been more patient at the plate and is in the top ten in the Big West with 12 BB's. Williams was hitting sixth earlier in the year but has hit cleanup the last ten games. He went 1-6 with four K's against Fullerton last season.
Fielding % – .965 (6th) with 32 errors. 23 unearned runs. .968 (6th) with 68 errors in 2011. 46 unearned runs.
Northridge's defense has improved from 2010 when they made 90 errors and has gone from poor to below average. Bowen is below average at 1B, Raslowsky has been solid at 2B since taking over for Simis, Attl and Balkan have very good range on the left side of the infield but they have combined to make nine errors. Their best OF defense is when Ring is in LF and Vogelsang is in CF along with Williams in RF and all three have solid range.
Stolen Base Attempts – 30-40 (9th). 63-84 (7th) in 2011.
Runners are 11-17 against Mercado and 19-23 against the other catchers.
WP's/PB's Allowed – 32 (9th). 48 (5th) in 2011.
Mercado has struggled with keeping balls in front of him.
- ERA – 5.55 (8th in the Big West). 5.27 in 2011 (8th).
- BA – .284 (8th). .312 in 2011 (8th).
- Walks – 94 (8th), 4.1 BB/9 IP. 200 (8th) in 2011, 3.7 BB/9 IP.
- Strikeouts – 111 (9th), 4.8 BB/9 IP. 329 (7th) in 2011, 6.1 K/9 IP.
- Extra Base Hits – 72 (9th), 3.0 per game. 159 (9th) in 2011, 2.8 per game.
- HR – 13 (9th). 35 (9th) in 2011.
Northridge lost two of their three leaders in games started but returned the starter who ended up being their Friday SP. One of the middle relievers was moved into the rotation and along with a freshman who has been very good and what was a weakness for the Matadors has turned into one of their strengths. Their SP's don't throw hard and have been prone to having bouts of wildness and only have a 41/56 BB/K ratio but they have been tough to hit with all three of them keeping hitters under a .250 average.
FRI – SR #27 Vincent Roberts (RHP – 0-3, 5.04 ERA, 6 GS, 25 IP, 24 H, 14 BB, 15 K, .247 AVG, 1 HR, 3 HBP, 7 WP, 5-5 SB. '11 – 3-6, 3.44 ERA, 16 apps, 11 GS, 1 SHO, 1 save, 81 IP, 67 H, 32 BB, 55 K, .232 BA, 5 HR, 8 HBP, 10 WP, 12-17 SB) struggled early in 2011 as he adjusted to D1 ball and was moved between the rotation and the bullpen. He started to gain some confidence in a six inning relief appearance at Irvine when he allowed only one run and was effective in Big West games with a 2.28 ERA and ended up being honorable mention all-conference. Roberts was on strict pitch counts early, throwing only nine innings in his first three starts despite allowing only three runs (2 ER). He has struggled in his three recent starts and allowed 15 R (12 ER) on 17 H and 9 BB in 16 IP to lose each start and he leads the Big West in losses and wild pitches. Roberts is at his best when he has his sinking fastball working and getting batters to pound the ball into the ground and when he doesn't and has control issues and starts getting the ball up is when he runs into trouble. He was on his game against Fullerton in his start against the Titans last season when he held them to one run (0 ER) on two hits in 6 2/3 IP in Northridge's only win against Fullerton in the last eight meetings between the teams. Roberts doesn't do a good job of holding runners and Fullerton stole three bases against him.
SAT – JR #15 Alex Muren (RHP – 5-1, 3.46 ERA, 6 GS, 42 IP, 33 H, 14 BB, 22 K, .220 BA, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 5 WP, 8-8 SB. '11 – 2-1, 4.69 ERA, 13 apps, 5 GS, 40 IP, 42 H, 22 BB, 22 K, .276 BA, 3 HR, 4 HBP, 1 WP, 5-7 SB) was a middle reliever and occasional midweek SP in 2011 but was moved into the rotation this season and has had five quality starts when he allowed three runs or less and won all of them to lead the Big West in wins. He is among the conference leaders in IP and AVG and has gone at least seven innings in four of his six starts. The only poor start Muren had was at San Diego when he allowed 9 R (7 ER) in 5 IP. He is the hardest thrower of the three SP's and has a fastball that touches 90. Muren has had good control in most of his recent starts and didn't walk any hitters in a CG win last weekend at St. Mary's (9 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 6 K). He also tends to be a ground ball pitcher like Roberts and tries to get batters to hit the ball into the ground. Muren doesn't do a good job of holding runners so look for Fullerton to try to exploit that.
SUN – FR #40 Jerry Keel (LHP – 1-1, 1.62 ERA, 7 apps, 5 GS, 33 IP, 30 H, 11 BB, 19 K, .238 BA, 1 HR, 5 HBP, 0 WP, 4-5 SB) is huge at 6'6", 280 lbs but he's not really a hard throwing strikeout pitcher. He relies more on changing speeds and working inside (4th in the conf in HBP) to get hitters out and works up in the zone more than the other two SP's and will try to get hitters to pop up or hit weak fly outs. Keel pitched out of the bullpen opening weekend when he threw six innings at Sac State and allowed one run on nine hits and has been in the rotation since. He has only gone past six innings once when he threw seven shutout innings against Indiana in his only win. Keel had control issues in his first two starts when he walked seven batters in 9 1/3 IP but has only walked four hitters over 17 2/3 IP in his last three starts and allowed only three runs (one ER) in those starts. He is fourth in the Big West in ERA and 9th in AVG.
Northridge had lots of guys bouncing back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen in 2011 and eight pitchers threw at least 35 innings so they had a fairly deep bullpen. Only three of those pitchers returned so their bullpen isn't nearly as deep and they have been relying on several freshmen to try to get outs late in games or to take the ball in midweek games and the results have often not been good. Northridge allowed 52 runs in their first four midweek games before holding LMU to one run last Tuesday. The Matadors are 10-2 in games where they are tied or leading after seven innings so games usually haven't been getting away from them when they have the lead but games have tended to get away from them when the starters haven't gone deep into games.
Closer – FR #10 Louis Cohen (RHP – 2-1, 3.68 ERA, 13 apps, 2 saves, 22 IP, 17 H, 10 BB, 15 K, .218 BA, 0 HR, 3 HBP, 4 WP, 2-4 SB) has been a workhorse out of the bullpen and has easily been the most reliable option and leads the Big West in appearances. He will usually be the first reliever brought into the game and go 1-2 innings, which is why he only has two of the staff's six saves because if he's brought into the game in the middle innings they will have somebody else try to finish off the game late. Cohen is another pitcher who tries to get batters to hit the ball into the ground and he can get in trouble when his control is off.
SR #36 Justen Gorski (RHP – 1-0, 6.43 ERA, 7 apps, 1 GS, 14 IP, 15 H, 2 BB, 2 K, .273 AVG, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 2 WP, 1-1 SB. '11 – 3-5, 6.10 ERA, 16 apps, 9 GS, 1 save, 49 IP, 66 H, 19 BB, 34 K, .324 BA, 4 HR, 2 HBP, 4 WP, 10-11 SB) is the most experienced pitcher on the staff and has pitched there all four years and has been a swingman between the rotation and the bullpen during his career. Gorski has allowed 12 R in 12 IP in three appearances (2 GS) against Fullerton.
FR #32 Brandon Warner (RHP – 1-1, 4.95 ERA, 8 apps, 3 GS, 20 IP, 25 H, 9 BB, 6 K, .321 BA, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 0 WP, 3-3 SB) was struggling before making a solid start at LMU last Tuesday (5 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 1 K) and figures to be one of the main options in relief along with Cohen and Gorski.
Other relievers who will be available this weekend:
JR #26 Jacob Petersen (LHP – 1-1, 9.35 ERA, 2 GS, 9 IP, 16 H, 2 BB, 6 K, .421 AVG, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 2 WP, 3-5 SB. '11 – 3-0, 7.17 ERA, 20 apps, 2 GS, 38 IP, 59 H, 15 BB, 31 K, .366 BA, 4 HR, 5 HBP, 5 WP, 4-5 SB) is the only other LHP on the roster who has appeared in a game.
FR #33 Cole Hallum (RHP – 0-1, 7.30 ERA, 7 apps, 2 saves, 12 IP, 19 H, 8 BB, 7 K, .365 BA, 2 HR, 4 HBP, 1 WP, 0-0 SB)
Soph #8 Harley Holt (RHP – 0-2, 7.00 ERA, 1 save, 7 apps, 9 IP, 13 H, 3 BB, 5 K, .333 BA, 1 HR, 2 HBP, 1 WP, 2-2 SB)
FR #23 Jacob Leyba (RHP – 0-0, 13.50 ERA, 7 apps, 1 save, 9 IP, 17 H, 8 BB, 3 K, .425 BA, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 0-2 SB)
Fullerton has struggled offensively for most of the non-conference schedule against what most of the time have been solid pitching staffs. The Titans started to shake out of their doldrums on Wednesday night at Arizona State and will be looking to continue to build confidence on offense this weekend. Northridge was a team that hit well early against the softer part of their non-conference schedule but once things toughened up and they started facing better pitching the Matador bats cooled off considerably and they only averaged two runs per game the last two weekends.
Fullerton has been getting very good starting pitching, especially at home, and their pitchers figure to offer up a strong challenge for Northridge. The Matadors starters have usually been solid and kept their games close but they don't have lights out stuff that has often thwarted the Titan hitters when they have struggled to bring runs across the plate. If any of the games turns into a battle of the bullpens that figures to favor Fullerton, who has built up some solid pitching depth while Northridge's bullpen has struggled to develop any consistency.
Fullerton is the better team and should win this series. The only way that Northridge is going to be competitive is if their starters are able to go deep into games and their bats wake up. If the Titans continue to pitch like they have at home and the hitters have a disciplined approach at the plate, Fullerton should have a successful weekend and win at least two games and possibly sweep the Matadors.