Baseball Brings out their Brooms

No matter how you slice it, No. 13 Cal State Fullerton's season-opening, three-game sweep of No. 3 Stanford could be summed up in two words: total domination.

In sweeping the Cardinal for the first time since 1983, the Titans shook off the ghosts of Stanford's recent domination in this series. The Cardinal had won 13 of the last 15 from the Titans before this sudden turn of fortune.

"This is a very special way to start the season," Fullerton Coach George Horton said.

Consider these weekend factoids:

  • The Titans turned a remarkable seven double plays. How impressive is that? Seven DPs equals 14 rally-killing outs, the equivalent of 4 2/3 shutout innings. Freshman 2B Justin Turner started or was in the middle of all but one of those twin killings.

  • Fullerton batters were 13 for 37 (.351) with runners in scoring position while Titans pitchers held the Cardinal to 5 for 25 (.200) in RISP chances.

  • And when the Titans weren't hitting, they were running, swiping 9 bases in 11 tries. Fullerton pitchers and catchers limited Stanford to just two stolen bases.

  • Fullerton's sweep was truly out of left field, with platooning Danny Dorn and Joe Turgeon supplying most of the big hits. Dorn's bases- loaded triple broke the tie Friday night, and he slammed a three- run homer on Sunday. Turgeon went 4-for-4 on Saturday.

  • The three winning pitchers - starters Dustin Miller and Ryan Schreppel and reliever John Tucker - are all new Titans. That's a particularly encouraging development since weekend starter Darric Merrell and reliever Travis Ingle are still on the mend.

The fresh- faced Titans stood in stark contrast to the veteran Cardinal, who returned key members of the 2002 College World Series team like CF Sam Fuld, C Ryan Garko, RF Carlos Quentin.

The Titans beat three Cardinal pitchers who were big contributors last season. Ryan McCally recorded a team- high 7 saves in 2002, while Tim Cunningham and John Hudgins each won 10 games.

This all-around on-slaught left the Cardinal in awe.

"Cal State Fullerton just outplayed us in every phase of the game during this series," said Stanford Coach Mark Marquess. "We felt coming into this series that Cal State Fullerton was definitely one of the top 10 teams in the country and they showed it this weekend."

The Titans have the mid-week off, and travel to Fresno State for a three-game non-conference series beginning on Friday night. The Bulldogs open their season Tuesday night against UC Irvine.

Surprisingly, the Titans' three Team USA members - Shane Costa, Wes Littleton and Chad Cordero - all played solidly, but weren't the key figures in any of the victories.