To get is up to speed on this weekend's opening round game with the Titans of Cal State Fullerton, lets bring in David Wright from the CSF message board TitanCentral.com.
Here's the questions I asked David-- his responses are below:
What kind of team is Fullerton this year? Power hitting? Pitching-oriented?
Fullerton has taken care of business in both the Regionals and Super Regionals. You haven't racked up very many close wins (12-2 vs. UCLA) (13-2, 11-6, 6-2, 7-1 in Regionals) although there have been some narrow games like the 2-1 victory over UCLA. How does your team fare in low scoring games, where you have to manufacture runs, and when you know that one run will win it?
How is the lineup? Any holes?
We know you have a great pitching staff. Are we going to see Romer on Sunday, or are the Titans going throw someone else in the opener?
Fullerton has struggled offensively this year due to injuries depleting the talent level of a team that wasn't that deep to begin with due to not having that many experienced players returning from last year. Fullerton has had to scratch and claw to manufacture runs without much team speed (in terms of stealing bases) or power. Fullerton usually hit well against average pitching but struggled against higher caliber pitching before they started hitting the cover off of the ball in the last eight games (Long Beach series and the post-season) after struggling for the first 53 games. Fullerton hit .275 with 25 HR's prior to the Long Beach series and has hit .312 with 13 HR's in the last eight games.
Roemer and Kaplan will start the first two games in Omaha. Their pitching on Fridays and Saturdays is what has carried the team along with usually solid relief work from Jorgenson, Klipp and recently Harris. The Sunday SP spot has been a disaster since Urena imploded in the middle of the season after his one-hitter against Rice. That was the primary reason why Fullerton lost so many conference series (along with the offensive struggles against the solid pitching staffs that most Big West teams have). Fullerton's #3 SP (there have been SIX of them) has not pitched more than five innings in 11 of the past 12 starts. Harris and Klipp were solid in the last two starts (against Long Beach and Fresno State), they just didn't go deep into those games. The shuffling of guys in and out of the #3 SP spot resulted in the bullpen being thrown out of whack in the UCSB and Long Beach series, where the bullpen gave up leads in the last two games of both series, but things have become more stabilized in the post-season.
Fullerton has been average in close games (14-11 in one run and two run games). With Fullerton, it usually boils down to keeping the other team off of the scoreboard and scratching out enough runs to win. When Fullerton allows under 5 runs, they are 29-7. When they allow 5 or more runs, they are 9-16. Fullerton tends to be ok when they are in a low scoring game where they have to manufacture a run or two to win unless they are going against an elite pitcher like Gorgen from Irvine or Simmons from Riverside. The team has been a pretty good situational hitting team all year, hitting .314 with runners in scoring position compared to .280 overall.
The lineup is balanced between LH and RH hitters. As mentioned earlier, there isn't much power in the lineup although that has changed over the last three weekends. Curtis and McArthur are SR's and they have started to hit for power the last three weeks. Hardman has easily been the best and most consistent hitter on the team all season. The middle infielders (Corey Jones and Scott) hit in the #8 and #9 spots and are in there for their defense and any offense they provide would be a bonus.