June 11, 2007

Fullerton: Unlikely Titans in Familiar Territory

UCLA needed a career performance from freshman pitcher Gavin Brooks tonight to have a chance against Fullerton. They got it.

But the Fullerton pitching staff was just a little bit better as CSUF didn't allow any earned runs in a thrilling 2-1 Super Regional clinching victory over UCLA.

"That was as good of a baseball game as I've been involved in in a long long time," Fullerton Coach George Horton said. "This is about as sweet as it gets for me."

The sweetness he was referring to was the fact that of 15 Fullerton teams to earn a trip to Omaha, this was one of least likely to make it. The Titans struggled in conference play and finished the regular season with a 6-11 run. They finished fifth in the Big West. They have two hitters in the starting lineup hitting better than .300. But now they're one of the last eight teams in the country that will play for the CWS title starting next week.

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Fullerton: Titans Fans Get Final Cheer

Tonight's game provided plenty of excitement on its own, but a little help from Tommy Lasorda and a fully-charged crowd made for an electric atmosphere at Goodwin Field.

The Titans fans, sensing the impending trip to Omaha, showed up in full force; and Fullerton needed every bit of help they got in pulling of the 2-1 clinching win. Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda even showed up to sign autographs and show some support.

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Fullerton: Titans Edge UCLA for Trip to Omaha

After a 12-2 snoozer in Fullerton's favor on Saturday, we were treated to a thriller tonight as the Titans pulled out a 2-1 win over UCLA to complete the 2-0 Super Regional sweep and punch their ticket to Omaha.

Both teams got outstanding pitching performances as Jeff Kaplan earned the win with 6.2 innings of one-run work followed by shutout ball from the CSUF bullpen. UCLA freshman Gavin Brooks looked about as good as somebody can in a loss with 12 strikeouts, no walks and two earned runs in eight innings of work.

UCLA went into the ninth with the 2-1 deficit and it looked like it would tie it up when Justin Uribe led off with a double and reached third base with one out. But he was thrown out at the plate when third baseman Evan McArthur fielded a groundball and threw a perfect strike for the fielder's choice out at home.

I'm off to get the scoop from the press conferences and will be back to wrap things up.

June 10, 2007

Fullerton: Got Any Extra Tickets?

I love walking through the parking lot at a sporting event with a computer strapped over my shoulder and my media credential in full view and having somebody ask me if I have any extra tickets. No; I don't have any extra tickets.

It happens at pretty much every sold-out event that I cover and it never ceases to amaze me when people don't put two and two together. Anyhow, the point is that Fullerton fans are sensing a clincher tonight and the demand appears high for what could be the last home game of the season before a trip to Omaha.

They sense a win tonight with good reason. Nothing from UCLA's performance on Saturday prompted me to believe that they're going to put up a fight tonight, even if Bruins Coach John Savage doesn't think it will be tough to bounce back from a 12-2 drubbing (he said so in the press conference). Maybe he knows something that I don't.

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Fullerton: Dominant CSF Win Makes Statement

Something has gotten into this Fullerton team. Evidently they woke up recently and realized that yes; they are one of college baseball's elite programs. They're expected win big and make deep runs into the postseason. They're not expected to finish the season 6-11 and limp into the NCAAs.

But whatever ailed the struggling bats and ace Wes Roemer, who had a subpar season (by his standards) after a stellar 2006 campaign, is not an issue right now. Fullerton shelled Tyson Brummett for eight hits and nine runs in just 4.1 innings. This is the same guy who pitched a complete game against them earlier this season.

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June 09, 2007

Fullerton: Rowdy Fans Glad to Have Titans Home

After having to watch their Titans travel for Regionals, the Fullerton fans were more than ready to make up for missed time in today's 12-2 win over UCLA. They were numerous, loud and sometimes obnoxious in cheering the Titans on.

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Fullerton: Titans Cruise Past UCLA

Ok. After a hectic start to the day and adjustment to our new NCAA-imposed ban on providing actual live updates, I've gotten into a rhythm here in Fullerton. And so has the home team.

UCLA may have had a fighting chance against Fullerton if innings lasted two outs instead of three. But that's clearly not the case, and a pair of two-out rallies in the first two innings set the tone for the Titans' 12-2 drubbing in the first game of their best-of-three Super Regional series.

Tyson Brummett, who pitched a two-run complete game victory against Fullerton earlier in the season, managed to get the first two batters out of each of the fist two stanzas. But it was disaster from there on, as the Titans racked up five consecutive base runners and three runs in the first and four straight base runners and two runs in the second to put the Bruins away early.

UCLA looked ready to respond with three hits to start the first against Wes Roemer, but only managed one run and didn't score again until Fullerton already held an 8-1 lead. Roemer went on to log a complete game victory.
I'm off to the press conferences to search for some juicy quotes; I'll be back with a complete rundown of the game and everything else here at Goodwin field.

Fullerton: Titans, Bruins Square Off

Fullerton knows Super Regional baseball. I didn't even have to get past the parking lot to realize that the ante has been upped this week with UCLA and Cal State Fullerton squaring off for the right to go to Omaha.

The parking lot at Goodwin Field is filled with tents and tailgaters and people were searching for extra tickets on the sidewalk for this sold out Fullerton Super Regional. The Titans have four national championships and plenty of experience in postseason play. It shows.

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June 07, 2007

Fullerton: Surprise Matchup in Southern California

UCLA (33-26) at Cal State Fullerton (36-23)

The fact that there's an all Southern California affair in this weekend's Super Regionals is not a surprise. The fact that San Diego or Long Beach are not among those teams is. But that's the case as Cal State Fullerton pulled off the upset in San Diego's Regional round last weekend and is rewarded by hosting UCLA starting on Saturday.

Four-time NCAA Champion Fullerton is obviously no stranger to the Super Regionals, having been here the previous four years, but wasn't expected to make it this far this season. The Titans stumbled down the stretch to close the regular season 6-11 and weren't even a lock to make the NCAA field. They did earn a No. 2 seed and took advantage when top seed and No. 8 national seed San Diego lost its first two games last weekend. The Titans went 3-0, defeating Fresno State and Minnesota to advance to the next round.

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