Titan Talk with Coach Horton: A Recap

<p>If there's one Cal State Fullerton player who knows the look of a champion, it's Jason Corapci. <p>A Titans bat boy when they won it all in 1995 and No. 3 hitter for Fullerton's College World Series squad in 2001, Corpaci said he believes this season's team is ticketed for Rosenblatt.

"You guys can book your reservations (for Omaha))!" Corpaci told Fullerton fans gathered for "Titan Talk with Coach Horton" Wednesday night at the Stadium Tavern. "I really believe we do (have the talent for Omaha)."

Corapci's enthusiasm belies what's been a frustrating calendar year for the senior utility man from Orange.

After a hitting .333 with 49 RBI in 2001, he slumped down to .259 with 38 RBI last year.

His 2002 season ended in a terrifying head beaning from Stanford All-American pitcher Jeremy Guthrie during the regionals. The scary blow knocked Corpaci out of Fullerton's final two games.

Now Corapci's been supplanted at second base by freshman Justin Turner, who has been the key cog in Fullerton's twin-killing machine. The Titans have turned 16 ground-ball double plays (while grounding into only 8), and Turner's yet to make an error in 42 chances.

Fullerton Coach George Horton said Corapci's handled the demotion with determination and dignity. Corpaci's had just 9 at-bats so far this young season.

"He's been a very instrumental Titan," Horton said. "I know his situation has been a very difficult one for him to accept. It's a tribute to the type of young man … that he's accepted it in a positive way."

Without verbally complaining, Corapci's been working as hard as ever to win back playing time, Horton said.

"He's saying in the right way … `screw you coach, you're making the wrong decision.' He's showing every day he belongs in the lineup," Horton added. "It's pretty hard for me not to put his name in the lineup."

The ever- graceful Corapci said he understands why Turner is getting all the starts.

" `Red' (Turner) … has been doing a good job. You can't ask for anything right now. Our whole is doing a good job," Corpaci said. "Offensively, defensively, it's a good mix we have in there."

For now, all Corapci can do is practice hard and offer his years of know-how to younger Titans.

"I try every day to … if I see him (Turner) doing something different, to use my four years of experience to help him out, help other guys out with something that's going wrong," Corapci said.

Some Titans baseball factoids of note:

  • Nevada comes into Goodwin Field on Friday at 4-6, after a 5-4 loss at Stanford on Monday. The Wolfpack have lost three one-run games and once lost by two runs.
  • "That's kind of been the story of our whole season - one-run losses," said Nevada Coach Gary Powers. "It's not just one thing … there are a series of situations that happen in every baseball game that if you take advantage of those opportunities, then you don't have to deal with that one-run loss."
  • The Wolfpack will be without first baseman Erick Streelman, a second-team all-WAC tight end who is scheduled to work out this weekend at the NFL scouting combines in Indianapolis.

On the diamond, he's been 11 for 27 (.407) with 6 walks (and a .543 on-base percentage). On the gridiron, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Streelman caught 30 passes for 345 yards last season.

The 22-year-old Streelman was a prep teammate of former Titans' great Kirk Saarloos at Valley Christian High School in Bellflower.

  • The Titans rained out game against UCLA is set to be made up on April 15, 7 p.m., at Goodwin Field. The Athletic Department is negotiating with the U.S. Postal Service in hopes of setting up mail drop at Goodwin Field for last-second taxpayers.
  • Start time for the USC-Fullerton game on March 15 at Edison International Field has been moved from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m. It'll now probably avoid conflict with the Big West Conference men's basketball title game, set for 9 p.m. on that Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Titans baseball game will, however, now confict with the 3 p.m. Pac-10 basketball title game at Staples Center.
  • Fullerton baseball alums Greg Jacobs, Jordan DeJong, David Bacani, Aaron Rowand and Steve Chatham all made appearances at UNLV last weekend to wish the Titans good luck. Rowand and Chatham, Vegas residents, even sat in Fullerton's dugout during Sunday's game.

It might have been a fun weekend for the Titans' extended family, but Horton said most of the kids were left behind.

"The family thing kind of goes out the door (in Vegas). I know for one, I enjoyed Vegas. I'm sure my entire staff did," a sheepish Horton said, hinting that he and his assistants had some good fortune off the field. "We had a lot of luck there."