Titans Baseball Looks Toward 2007

The Cal State Fullerton baseball team just finished their fall workouts with a Blue-Orange intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday.

Titan Head Coach George Horton explained that even though his team is young, he has high aspirations for this season. During one of the first meetings with the team, the coaches discussed what it takes to get to the College World Series.

Horton said there are a lot of questions heading into the season, due to the large turnover in their roster, particularly among the team's position players.

The Titans essentially lost their whole infield from last year, with the exception of senior third baseman Evan McArthur. Two of the three outfielders were lost as well.

This leaves a lot of positions wide open with several candidates, Horton said.

Horton said he is elated to have returning ace right-handed pitcher Wes Roemer back on the mound.

"At this point today, I feel more confident that we're going to be able to develop a quality pitching staff. My concern is the lack of team speed, and where the offensive production is going to come from," Horton said.

Horton said the baseball team had a confident recruiting year, but the experience factor will be an issue. Also some of the uncertainties with a young team include the experience factor, motivational level, and the ability to perform in the clutch at the Divisional I level, Horton said.

This year's recruiting class has been recognized on a national level by two well-known national baseball publications; Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. The recruiting class was ranked 8th in the nation by Collegiate Baseball and 9th by Baseball America.

Although the Titans are young, they are optimistic about the upcoming season.

Freshman outfielder Khris Davis is ready for this upcoming season. Davis was recently named one of the Titans' top recruits for 2007 by Baseball America.

Davis said it has been a big transition to learn the system, and he has been overwhelmed by the information that he has received from the coaches.

He said he does not feel this is going to affect him in a bad way, and he believes once he makes the necessary adjustments, he will be OK.

"There are a lot of new guys, but we aren't looking at that as an excuse, we expect to win a national championship, that is what we are going after, and that is our number one goal," Davis said.

Horton said the Titans lost six starters including designated hitter, David Cooper who starred for the Titans in the College World Series, but transferred to UC Berkeley to be closer to his family.

One of the key returning players that Horton said will play an integral part in this season is McArthur.

"Having him back is huge for us," Horton said. "Evan is a spectacular defender, and he had a solid offensive year."

Horton said he looks to McArthur for more offensive production and leadership in 2007.

Another key player for the Titans is senior catcher John Curtis, who has caught for the Titans the past two years. Horton said Curtis will help the young pitching staff this season.

"Having Johnny back gives us some continuity to the catching position, which is a critically defensive position," Horton said.

A key player Horton believes will play an important role this season will be outfielder Clark Hardman, who was a freshman All-American two years ago, but has had a series of injuries and surgeries that have kept him out.

"Clark is a spectacular center fielder," Horton said. "Hopefully, he will bounce back and have the type of offensive year he had as a freshman."

Shortstop Joe Scott is a player Horton said may be a key player this season. Despite suffering a knuckle injury, Horton said a lot of positives come from Scott because he is a hard worker and a leader.

Catcher Dustin Garneau said that the Titans have connected as a team early in fall practices.

"We're pretty young, but we looked to have a good season," Garneau said.

Titan pitcher Cory Arbiso said he feels confident about the team.

"We have a lot of new guys, since we are young it will take a while to get the new guys into the system," Arbiso said. "We will eventually bring it together, but we have a lot of good players, so it will just take sometime."