Opening Weekend Preview: Friday vs. Oregon

It's time for another year of Titan Baseball with the potential for a return visit to Omaha in the last year of venerable Rosenblatt Stadium. Fullerton is ranked in the top five in every major poll on the strength of a pitching staff that returns all three weekend starters and several position players that are pre-season All Americans. Here is a preview for each of Fullerton's opponents.

Oregon Ducks

  • Overall Record – 14-42
  • Conference Record – 4-23 (10th place)
  • RPI/ISR – 235/186
  • Predicted conf finish – 10th place

 

2009 Summary and 2010 Preview

Oregon fielded their first baseball team in 28 years in 2009 and they chose a very familiar face to Fullerton fans to lead the effort with former Titan head coach George Horton. They rode the wave of emotion of having a new program to a solid 9-9 start but once the Pac 10 season started things headed south for the Ducks and they only went 5-33 the rest of the way and ended the year with a thirteen game losing streak. Oregon had a solid Fri SP (7th round pick Erik Stavert) and a solid closer (Drew Gagnier, brother of former Fullerton pitcher Lauren Gagnier) but didn’t have much pitching depth after those two and had a staff ERA of 5.07 and struggled in conference games with a 5.95 ERA. To say the Ducks struggled offensively would be an understatement because they were the lowest scoring team in the country at 2.8 RPG. Oregon hit .227 as a team, which was the 2nd worst batting average in the country, and hit .201 in Pac 10 games. Oregon returns most of their starters except for Stavert and OF Caleb Tomassini so there should be improvement due to the experience they have, another recruiting class with some talented players and the coaching of George Horton.

 

Offense

  • Batting Average – .227 (NCAA ranking – 287 out of 288)
  • Runs Per Game – 2.8 (288)
  • Home Runs – 16 (280)
  • Stolen Bases – 60 (132)
  • Slugging Percentage – .304 (286)
  • Walks – 134 (277)
  • HBP’s – 45 (215)
  • Sac Bunts – 49 (26)

 

Lineup

C – JR Mitch Karraker (LH – .216 BA/.275 OBP/.281 SLG, 1 HR-18 RBI-1 SB) and Soph Paul Eshelman (.247 in 77 AB’s) were the catchers last season and figure to share time again this year.

1B/DH – Soph Darrell Hunter (RH – .175 in 63 AB’s) and JR Andrew Schmidt (Both – .212 in 85 AB’s) got most of the starts at 1B last season. JC transfer Stephen Kaupang (6’5”, 235 lbs) is expected to be in this mix to provide some power to a lineup that desperately needs it.

2B/3B – Soph Danny Pulfer (RH – .240/.340/.257, 0-15-4) and FR Jack Marder (RH) will be the starters at these two spots. Pulfer is a scrappy player but it shows how poor Oregon’s offense was that he usually hit in the middle of the lineup despite having only two extra base hits all season. Pulfer led team with 11 SAC bunts. Marder was the leading hitter in the California Collegiate League last summer. SR Josh Hogan (RH - .219/.270/.234, 0-5-3) is the backup infielder.

SS – Soph KC Serna (RH – .228/.281/.317, 3-19-9) led the team in HR and RBI.

CF – SR Curtis Raulinaitis (LH – .291/.354/.369, 0-12-9) was the only player who hit above .260 last season.

LF/RF – SR Jett Hart (RH – .207/.248/.333, 2-10-10) and Soph Antony Kreitz (LH – .258/.327/.461, 2-10-0) are the other two OF’s with the most experience. Hart was 2nd on the team in SB’s. FR Steven Packard and FR Darryl Jones (both are LH hitters) look likely to also get playing time in the OF.

 

Defense

Fielding % .961 (159) – 85 errors. Oregon fielded an inexperienced team and defense was another area in which they struggled. Serna has potential at SS and should cut down on his errors as should Pulfer. Raulinaitis has good range in CF.

Stolen Base Attempts – 44-69. Baserunners were 32-46 against Karraker.

WP’s/PB’s Allowed – 65. Oregon was below average at blocking pitches.

 

Pitching

  • ERA – 5.07 (74)
  • BA – .271
  • HR – 46
  • H’s/9 IP – 9.28 (31)
  • BB’s/9 IP – 4.45 (210)
  • K’s/9 IP – 6.7 (162)

 

Starting Pitchers

FRI – Soph Tyler Anderson (LHP – 2-9, 6.26 ERA, 15 starts, 82 IP, 98 H, 39 BB, 66 K, .296 BA, 9 HR, 7 HBP, 8 WP). Sat SP last season. “Crafty lefty”. Started out well in non-conf when he didn’t allow any HR’s but struggled in Pac 10 games and went 1-7 with a 7.77 ERA and allowed 9 HR’s. 9-13 SB’s. Picked off four runners so runners will have to be careful.

SAT – SR Justin LaTempa (RHP – 1 IP). Hard thrower with a fastball that gets into the mid 90’s when healthy, which has been an issue. He has had an interesting journey thru college, starting out in 2006 pitching at Irvine for Dave Serrano before transferring to Golden West College, undergoing arm surgery and ending up at Oregon. He has a chance to be drafted in the first 10 rounds with a good SR season.

SUN – FR Christian Jones (LHP). One of the better FR in the country and was expected to be drafted in the first 5-6 rounds last June but had a strong commitment to Oregon and ended up not being drafted. Fastball sits in the upper 80’s.

Midweek – Soph Madison Boer (RHP – 1-8, 6.97 ERA, 17 apps, 10 starts, 62 IP, 67 H, 31 BB, 37 K, .289 BA, 4 HR, 6 HBP, 5 WP). Sunday SP most of last season. Ground ball pitcher who struggled putting hitters away.

 

Relief Pitchers

Closer – JR Drew Gagnier (RHP – 1-0, 2.70 ERA, 23 apps, 7 saves, 30 IP, 14 H, 25 BB, 30 K, .137 BA, 1 HR, 3 HBP, 5 WP). Hard thrower with a fastball that gets into the mid 90’s who had control issues last season. 14th round draft pick last June who returned to school and should be drafted in the first 10 rounds this year.

Soph Chris Garrison (RHP – 0-3, 4.45 ERA, 12 apps, 3 starts, 32 IP, 32 H, 19 BB, 15 K, .274 BA, 4 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP).

Soph Alex Keudell (RHP – 0-6, 5.15 ERA, 15 apps, 6 starts, 44 IP, 40 H, 18 BB, 24 K, .252 BA, 6 HR, 6 HBP, 2 WP).

Soph Scott McGough (RHP – 1-0, 5.21 ERA, 18 apps, 19 IP, 24 H, 5 BB, 15 K, .312 BA, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 4 WP).

SR Ryan Fleckenstein (LHP – 1-1, 5.40 ERA, 28 apps, 22 IP, 22 H, 14 BB, 11 K, .272 BA, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP).

SR Zach Thornton (RHP – 0-1, 6.17 ERA, 15 apps, 23 IP, 25 H, 15 BB, 16 K, .287 BA, 2 HR, 3 HBP, 3 WP).

SR Geoff Nicholls (RHP – 1-2, 6.63 ERA, 20 apps, 19 IP, 28 H, 10 BB, 18 K, .322 BA, 2 HR, 3 HBP, 3 WP).