Thursday Thoughts: Pepperdine Series

Two weekends and two consecutive series wins for the Titans opens this week’s edition of Thursday Thoughts. The Titans swept the double header on Sunday vs. Pepperdine up in Malibu after losing the first game of the series on Saturday. (Friday’s game was moved to Saturday and Sunday made into a double header due to the heavy rains in California this past week.)

After the Pepperdine series and the Texas series, the Titans have won two out of three games on back-to-back weekends. Speaking of back-to-back weekends, with the weekend series vs. UC Irvine scheduled to start Friday, that will make it back-to-back weekends of playing on the road after opening the season with 10 straight home contests.

Unfortunately the Titans overall record stands below .500 (6-7) heading into conference play. Considering the level of opponents faced and the inclement weather lately, one game under .500 is not that bad. Prior to the season, many fans looked at the non-conference schedule and thought coming out of it .500 or better would be a huge boost heading into Big West Conference play. Had the weather not played such a large factor in washing out the final game of the Michigan series, canceling the Arizona game and moving the USC mid-week, those are three games the Titans could have played and potentially helped their win loss record.

What’s done is done and we can only take a quick look back at the past weekend and also look forward to the upcoming weekend vs. the Anteaters. Join us as we take a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly that was Titan Baseball this past week.

The Results

Saturday, March 11, 2023 @ Pepperdine: LOSS – 5-6
Sunday, March 12, 2023 (Game 1) @ Pepperdine: WIN – 10-8 (12 Innings)
Sunday, March 12, 2023 (Game 2) @ Pepperdine: WIN – 5-1

Season to date stats

Overall Record: 6-7
Conference Record: 0-0
Streak: WON 2
Last 10: 5-5


Runs Scored: 75
Hits: 122
Doubles: 36
Triples: 0
Home Runs: 6
RBI: 64
Team Batting Avg: .268
On-Base %: .378
Slugging %: .387
Walks: 67
Extra base hits: 42
Total bases: 176
Hit by pitch: 16
Stolen Bases: 7
Strikeouts: 117


Errors: 11
Fielding %: .969
Double Plays turned: 10
Passed Balls: 3
Stolen Bases allowed: 7


Team ERA: 5.47
Batting average against: .263
Hits allowed: 124
Total Runs Allowed: 81
Walks Issued: 63
Strikeouts: 131
Ks per 9 innings: 9.82
Home runs allowed: 18

Titans of the Week

Winners chosen via Twitter poll

Pitcher of the Week

Peyton Jones
Peyton Jones

Peyton Jones: 4IP – 0H – 0ER – 1BB – 6K – 0.00 ERA – 1 W

Also considered:
Jojo Ingrassia: 4.1IP – 4H – 0ER – 0BB – 7K – 0.00 ERA – 1 W
Evan Yates: 3IP – 4H – 1ER – 3BB – 1K – 3.00 ERA

Batter of the Week

Maddox Latta
Maddox Latta

Maddox Latta: 6/12 – .500 – 2R – 1RBI – 2BB – 2K

Also considered:
Brendan Bobo: 3/9 – .333 – 2R – 3RBI – 0BB – 3K – 1HR
Zach Lew: 5/11 – .450 – 2R – 2RBI – 3BB – 1K
Carter White: 5/14 – .360 – 3R – 3RBI – 2BB – 0K

The Good

Second Series Win

We hit on this a bit in the opening, but the Titans have now won two weekend series in as many weeks and still look to get their first weekend sweep of the season. To set realistic expectations, that elusive series sweep could be tough sledding this weekend. UC Irvine is one of the top teams in the Big West thus far.

The old adage says, “two out of three gets you to Omaha”, and that still bodes true today. Although we are not booking hotel rooms and flights to Omaha in middle June just yet, it’s nice to see the Titans headed in the positive direction.

By comparison, the 2022 Titans only won four weekend series for the season, which included sweeps over UC Davis and UC Riverside who finished last and next to last in the 2022 Big West Conference standings. The other two series wins came against Loyola Marymount who finished sixth out of 10 teams in the West Coast Conference and, UC Irvine to end the season.

With the entire Big West schedule along with a weekend series vs. TCU in Fort Worth on the horizon, the Titans should improve on those series win numbers in 2023.

Maddox Latta Big West Player of the Week

Maddox Latta Player of the week
Photo courtesy of Titan Athletics

Maddox Latta has emerged as one of the top players on the 2023 Titan Baseball squad and his efforts were recognized by the Big West Conference, naming him the Field Player of the Week.

In four games including the mid-week contest vs. Utah, Latta batted .533 (8-for-15) with at least one hit in each contest (three multi-hit games), adding two runs, two RBI and three walks for an on-base percentage of .611. In Cal State Fullerton’s doubleheader sweep at Pepperdine on Sunday, Latta went 5-for-7 with two runs, one RBI and two walks.

This is Latta’s first time named Big West Field Player of the Week and is the first Titan to earn that honor since Jackson Lyon on April 18, 2022.

Of course, those that voted in the Twitter poll also agree with the Big West Conference opinion and voted Latta the Cal State Omaha Batter of the week. This is the second time Latta has been named the Cal State Omaha Batter of the week. The first came following the Stanford series. Latta’s 17 hits leads the Titans after 13 games his batting average (.347) ranks second behind another Titan who has been red hot as of late, Carter White.

Carter White 0 Ks in 2023

It’s hard to compete with a guy on your own team for the Cal State Omaha Batter of the Week title when the other guy gets named the Big West Field Player of the week. That’s saying something when you can go 5-for-14 (.360), score three runs, drive in three more, walk twice and fail to strike out and still come in second place.

Nationally, Carter White ranks 10th in batting average on the season, hitting .483 in 29 at-bats. Most impressive? White has yet to strike out this season. That’s zero Ks in 29 at-bats.

We do not have the time nor the patience to look through every D1 teams’ stats to see if there is a player with 25+ ABs without a strikeout thus far. Best we could find was the NCAA stats page for Toughest to Strike Out but that includes players with a minimum of one strikeout on the season.

Here’s hoping that Carter White continues to stay in the starting line-up this weekend vs. UC Irvine and continues to hit well and of course, not strike out.

Bobo Bombs again

After struggling at the plate the past two weekends vs. Michigan and Texas plus the Utah mid-week, going 1-for-15, (.070) with 9 Ks over that stretch, Brendan Bobo got his groove back against Pepperdine.

This weekend over the course of two games, Bobo went 3-for-9 (.333), scored two runs, drove in 3 and hit a home run; his third of the season. Bobo did strike out three times adding to his team leading 18 Ks on the season.

As a left handed hitter, Bobo sees more starts when the Titans face a right hander. If that holds true this weekend, look for Bobo to start on Friday when UC Irvine expects to start right hander David Vizcaino. Bobo could sit on Saturday with lefty Nick Pinto expected to get the ball. Sunday’s game is a toss up without an Anteater starter named yet.

Urman Joins HR Club

Speaking of home runs, Catcher Cole Urman joined the party and hit his first home run of the year on Saturday vs. Pepperdine. Despite the homer coming the 6-5 loss, it was nice to see Urman join the aforementioned Bobo, Zach Lew and Caden Connor as the Titans to have gone over the wall.

Bullpen Shines in Malibu

The bullpen arms of Jason Blood, Jojo Ingrassia, Peyton Jones and Fynn Chester combined to throw 12.1 innings, surrender nine hits, give up four earned runs, walked three while striking out 15 and gave up zero home runs in relief. Their combined 2.92 ERA for the weekend earned both Jones and Ingrassia the wins from the double header.

Keep an eye on the bullpen this weekend vs. UC Irvine. If they can keep the pace they set up in Malibu, the titans could have themselves a nice weekend to pen conference play.

Streaker Tracker

Frank the Tank Old School
“We’re going streaking!

A number Titans have streaks going this early portion of the season. We’ve already focused on Carter White’s streak of at-bats without a strike out, but what about some other Titans?

  • Maddox Latta has a 13 game on-base streak going into the UC Irvine series. That on-base streak includes hit and walks because Latta has not been hit by a pitch yet this season.
  • Zach Lew currently sits on a six game hit streak that started with the second game vs. Texas on March 4th.
  • Carter White holds an eight-game hit streak and an 11 game on-base streak dating back to the second game vs. Stanford. White has reached safely either via hit, walk or hit-by-pitch in every game he has played in this season.

The Bad

Trevor Hinkle
Trevor Hinkle
Photo courtesy of Don Hudson

Hinkle Continues to Struggle

We were hoping Trevor Hinkle‘s outing vs. his old team at Pepperdine would be the springboard for him getting his season on track. Hinkle was cruising in the first game of Sunday’s double header but ended up giving up five hits, five earned runs, walking two and striking out three. The Titans would end up winning the game with Hinkle getting a no decision and still in search of his first win as a Titan.

Hinkle leads the Titans in a number of pitching categories, some good but mostly bad. He leads in total innings pitched (19.2), hits (27), earned runs (18) and home runs allowed (6). His 8.24 ERA sits the highest among Titan pitchers who have thrown 5+ innings this season.

In his most recent start vs. Pepperdine, Hinkle looked to have the game on lock until the sixth inning. Up to that point, he had recorded three innings with three up and three down. (2nd,3rd & 5th inning) But to open the sixth inning, Hinkle let up a single and then a double to put runners on second and third.

Jack Basseer’s single to right field tied the game at 4 which prompted a mound visit by Jason Dietrich. Two fly outs looked like Hinkle would get out of the inning with little damage, but Devon Walczykowski homered to center field to bring the game within one run at 7-6. Hinkle would get Jack Goodman to line out to end the inning but he would eventually get replaced in the 7th by Fynn Chester.

Hinkle ended his day throwing 82 pitches, 61 of them for strikes but apparently the third time through the line-up was too much. Something to look for in the upcoming days when opposing batters come up for the third time vs. Hinkle.

Couldn’t get the Sweep

On the heels of two consecutive series wins, the Titans still seek that elusive series sweep. If you have watched this team closely, you understand that losses this month have been by one or two runs.

The Titans came out of the opening weekend with Stanford with a chance to have won all three games. Despite winning two of three vs. Texas, the loss ended a 4-2 game with the Titans punching back in the seventh inning but it came up short. The same goes for the Saturday game vs. Pepperdine. The Titans trailed 6-4 headed into the 9th inning but could only muster one run across.

This team is close to getting a sweep which would do wonders for this team’s confidence and momentum down the stretch. Could that tricky sweep come this weekend vs. UC Irvine? There’s no better time to get it than to open up Big West Conference play against a quality and highly regarded opponent.

The Ugly

Rain at CSUF
Rain storms throughout the past few weeks have played havoc with college baseball scheduling across California.

Weather Woes

Simply put, the wet weather across California and in Southern California has been ugly and caused havoc for Titan Baseball. The constant canceling and moving of game dates and then moving game times due to rain or wet field conditions has been trying.

Thankfully the weather for this weekend looks dry but the Tuesday mid-week game in at Loyola Marymount could be affected. The Forecast calls for an 86% chance of rain in Westchester on Tuesday and that game could get canceled or rescheduled much like the USC game due to close proximity.
No matter, we’re confident that all Titans fans and Southern California resident have had about enough of the rain.

Looking Ahead

UC Irvine Anteaters
Photo courtesy of UCI Athletics

The Titans hit the road for their second straight series away from Goodwin Field after playing the first 10 games of the season at home, taking on the UC Irvine Anteaters this weekend. The term road trip is used loosely because the distance between Cal State Fullerton to UC Irvine is roughly 20 miles traveling south on the 57 to the I-5 and down the 55 freeways. The proximity between the two schools could see a number of Titan Baseball fans showing up at Cicerone Field at Anteater Park, especially those Titan fans living in south Orange County.

The Titans could not have drawn a tougher opponent to open up Big West Conference play unless the schedulers gave them UC Santa Barbara. UC Irvine has come out the gate early red hot, posting a 11-3 record thus far. UC Irvine ranks 67th in the College Baseball RPI while Cal State Fullerton ranks 172. A series win or even a sweep by the Titans could really help pump up their RPI ranking and give them a leg up on the conference standings.

The Anteaters started the season off with a bang sweeping Tulane to open the season and won two out of three in the Tony Gwynn Classic. UCI beat Washington State and University of San Diego while their only loss that weekend came against UNLV. After beating Michigan in a mid-week contest, the Anteaters swept Arizona State in Phoenix to run their record to 10-1. A loss to Loyola Marymount in a mid-week and splitting evenly 1-1 their series in Spokane vs. Gonzaga (Game 1 canceled due to snow), the Anteaters will be well rested when facing the Titans. Much like Cal State Fullerton, the Anteaters’ Tuesday mid-week game vs. San Diego State was canceled giving the Titans and the Anteaters plenty of time to rest up and focus on their opponent.

The strength of UC Irvine comes at the plate, with UCI’s offense averaging over eight runs per game. The Anteaters have topped 10 runs in six of their 14 games in 2023. If the Titans can avoid letting up crooked numbers, this series could be very close. That’s a tall task seeing how UCI recorded 22 innings scoring multiple runs, 13 innings with at least four runs scored, and six innings plating six or more. Most recently, UCI scored seven runs in the 11th inning in Saturday’s win over Gonzaga.

Although Big West Conference play has not started yet, UCI tops the conference members in runs (115) and runs a game (8.2) in addition to slugging (.471), walks (77), and sacrifice flies (11). UCI’s defense ranks second at .979 fielding percentage, just 0.1 behind UC Davis.

Touching up the UC Irvine starters early appears the best recipe for success. The Irvine bullpen leads the conference with an 8-2 record, 3.97 ERA, and 86 strikeouts in 79.2 innings. Overall, the Anteaters pitching staff enters conference play with a 4.46 ERA, ranked fifth in the Big West.

Individually, keep an eye on Freshman First Baseman Anthony Martinez who leads the team batting .362. Martinez ranks eighth in the country with eight doubles and is tied for the Big West lead. He also sits third in hits and seventh in slugging and on-base percentage among conference players. Martinez can hit for power, belting four homers on the year, just one behind Chase Call who has hit five over the fence thus far.

Expect David Vizcaino to start on Friday who leads the Anteaters with 21.2 innings pitched. Vizcaino brings a 5.40 ERA and 1.38 WHIP into Friday’s contest. Projected Saturday Starter Nick Pinto has a better ERA (2.08) and WHIP (0.80) but has only gone 13 total innings in three games. Jacob King appears to have locked down the closer role for UCI. Opponents are batting .120 vs. King while striking out 12 times in his 7.2 innings of work.

Cal State Fullerton returns to UC Irvine for the first time since 2021 when the Anteaters finally won their first series against the Titans at home. To add salt to the wound, UCI claimed a sweep and locked up its second Big West title in the process. Fullerton evened the score in 2022 with a series win at Goodwin Field and still holds a 95-47 edge in the all-time series.

Weekend Probables

Friday, March 17: LHP – Tyler Stultz (1-1, 5.79 ERA) vs. RHP – David Vizcaino (2-0, 5.40 ERA)
Saturday, March 18: RHP – Trevor Hinkle (0-2, 8.24 ERA) vs. LHP – Nick Pinto (1-0, 2.08 ERA)
Sunday, March 19: RHP – Evan Yates (0-0, 4.22 ERA) vs. TBD

Times listed are Pacific time:
March 17, 2023 (Friday) at UC Irvine – 11:00 AM
March 18, 2023 (Saturday) at UC Irvine – 2:00 PM
March 19, 2023 (Sunday) at UC Irvine – 1:00 PM

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