What is going on at Cal-State Fullerton? They have a 2-4 overall record which is shocking as nearly everybody had them going to the CWS in their preseason picks. Fullerton finished last season with a .329 team batting average while they are struggling this year at .228. Most of the blame has to go to the offense right now as they have a team ERA of 4.50 this year when compared to 3.53 in 2009. The Titans lost a few of the clubhouse leaders from last year’s squad in Josh Fellhauer, Jared Clark, and catcher Dustin Garneau. Fullerton also lost two out of three to TCU last season but ran off 18 victories in their next 20 games. Both victories came under assistant coach Sergio Brown as Serrano was suspended for bumping an umpire last weekend. Mark Rafferty will have a full report on Fullerton this week when he is planning on seeing them against San Diego on Tuesday night.
The TCU Horned Frogs have started the season off well this year by going 5-1 and taking two out of three games against nationally ranked Cal-State Fullerton. The big story heading into the year was Matt Purke making it to campus for TCU but he has been slightly disappointing as he is now 1-0 with an ERA of 8.59 in his first two starts for a total of 7.1 innings. The Horned Frogs offense has been hitting at a .341 clip led by Josh Elander who is hitting at a .545 clip with a team high seven RBI. They are spreading out the offense as four different players have over five RBI.
How about Southeastern Louisiana going into Mississippi State and sweeping the Bulldogs? They are now 7-0 with victories over Eastern Illinois and Mississippi Valley State in addition to the MSU victories. Freshman catcher Chad Gough-Fortenberry has appeared in five of the team’s first seven games as he leads them with a .462 average.
Oregon State junior RHP Greg Peavey tossed a complete game shutout against Tennessee on Sunday allowing only three hits and striking out nine. Peavey’s ERA before the game was 3.60 but ended up getting lowered to 0.64 after the outstanding effort.
I think we have to look at some of the worst performers this weekend in North Carolina, Miami (FL), and Georgia Tech all dropping one game to weaker opponents. North Carolina dropped game 2 of their series against Maine 5-3, while Miami lost to Manhattan on Sunday by a score of 12-7 and Georgia Tech lost on Sunday to Xavier by a score of 7-6. I personally think that UNC and Miami are both highly overrated this early in the season. Both UNC and Miami have been up and down this season and it finally caught up to them this weekend. UNC struggled last week with a weak George Washington team that took them to extra innings on Friday and played them tough in the two other weekend games. The biggest question for me with the Hurricanes entering the season was who would take the ball on Sundays. Jason Santana has gotten the ball both weeks where he has been suspect. He gave up five runs in five inning against Rutgers last week and gave up six runs in 3.1 innings this week against Manhattan. Georgia Tech just needs to figure out who will take the ball on Sundays but they better hurry as the ACC slate kicks off on March 12th.
East Carolina bounced back nicely this weekend after losing two out of three last weekend to Virginia. They went 3-1 this week by defeating Old Dominion mid-week before winning the final two games of their series against South Carolina. The biggest difference this week was the fact that the Pirates pitching staff allowed 11 runs (six earned) compared to 19 to UVA in the opening series.
Interesting to see former MAAC conference member and current independent LeMoyne take two out of three games from Southern Miss but what are the chances of them getting an at-large berth this season? I say slim to none. It has been an impressive start to the Dolphins season as they are now 4-3 with two victories over 2009 CWS participant Southern Miss and picked up wins over Illinois-Chicago and Wright State on the opening weekend. Jeff Tardiff has been leading the pitching rotation with a 2-0 record and an ERA of 4.50. He was outstanding on Friday night against Southern Miss as he pitched seven innings allowing only four hits and one run. Freshman infielder Zach Wiley has been solid at the plate with a .462 average scoring a team high nine runs already.
My biggest surprise this weekend was the 14,588 fans that showed up for the Dodgertown Classic at Dodger stadium on Sunday which featured USC and UCLA facing off. In 2004, Houston and San Diego State opened Petco Park with a crowd of 40,106, and Georgetown and St. John’s opened Citi Field last year with a crowd of 22,397, so the Dodgertown Classic crowd of 14,588 is pretty respectable considering
1. It wasn’t opening a stadium
2. Was played during the same time as the Gold Medal Hockey game
3. Neither team was in the Top 50 for Division I Baseball attendance in 2009. It was a great event which you can read about during Mark Rafferty’s game recap by clicking here.
Special thanks to Assistant Editor Mark Rafferty for contributing to this report.