The Titans came home from a series loss to UC San Diego this week and took out their frustrations on the UCLA Bruins, beating them 9-2. Although ending the week 2-2 did not improve their chances of finishing with an above .500 record, they still can win out and finish one game above that mark.
We’ll discuss the prospects of that later but let’s jump right into this week’s Thursday Thoughts recapping the weekend vs. UCSD and the mid-week game vs. UCLA. As you may have imagined, the past four games included some good, some bad and even some of the ugly.
Friday, May 6, 2022 vs. UC San Diego: LOSS – 4-8
Saturday, May 7, 2022 vs. UC San Diego: WIN – 19-7
Sunday, May 8, 2022 vs. UC San Diego: LOSS – 4-6 (10 innings)
Tuesday, May 10, 2022 vs. UCLA: WIN – 2-9
Season to date stats
Overall Record: 19-27
Conference Record: 11-10
Streak: WON 1
Last 10: 4-6
Runs Scored: 258
Home Runs: 28
Team Batting Avg: .284
On-Base %: .363
Slugging %: .401
Extra base hits: 120
Total bases: 647
Hit by pitch: 40
Stolen Bases: 30
Fielding %: .971
Double Plays turned: 28
Passed Balls: 6
Stolen Bases allowed: 33
Team ERA: 5.54
Batting average against: .275
Hits allowed: 438
Total Runs Allowed: 276
Walks Issued: 192
Ks per 9 innings: 8.28
Home runs allowed: 30
Titans of the Week
Winners chosen via Twitter poll
Pitcher of the Week
Fynn Chester: 4IP – 5H – 1ER – 1BB – 2K – 2.25 ERA
Gavin Meyer: 4IP – 8H – 2ER – 0BB – 6K – 4.50 ERA
Michael Weisberg: 4IP – 1H – 2ER – 4BB – 6K – 4.50 ERA
Vote on this week’s #CalStateOmaha Pitcher of the Week*:@FynnChester: 4IP – 5H – 1ER – 1BB – 2K – 2.25 ERA
Ryan Gil: 5IP – 4H – 1ER – 2BB – 6K – 1.80 ERA (W)
Gavin Meyer: 4IP – 8H – 2ER – 0BB – 6K – 4.50 ERA@mweisberg45: 4IP – 1H – 2ER – 4BB – 6K – 4.50 ERA#TusksUp
— Cal State Omaha (@CalStateOmaha) May 11, 2022
Batter of the Week
Jack Haley: 5\14 – .357 – 3R – 7RBI – 0BB – 4K
Zach Lew: 6\14 – .429 – 6R – 2RBI – 2BB – 1K
Austin Schell: 6\16 – .375 – 4R – 4RBI – 2BB – 1K
Vote on this week’s #CalStateOmaha Batter of the Week Nominees*:@jackhaley25: 5\14 – .357 – 3R – 7RBI – 0BB – 4K@zachlew20: 6\14 – .429 – 6R – 2RBI – 2BB – 1K@jacksonlyon22: 7\18 – .389 – 7R – 4RBI – 1BB – 4K – 2HR@SchellAustin: 6\16 – .375 – 4R – 4RBI – 2BB – 1K#TusksUp
— Cal State Omaha (@CalStateOmaha) May 11, 2022
— Titans Baseball (@FullertonBSB) May 11, 2022
Normally, you shouldn’t put too much stock in a mid-week win… win or lose. But in a rebuilding year, a win over a Power Five, Top-25 ranked opponent, whether on a Tuesday or not, should be celebrated.
The Titans jumped out to an early lead vs. UCLA and for a while, looked as though they would blank the Bruins. Not until the sixth inning did the Bruins plate their first run on a Cody Schrier single to score Kenny Oyama.
The 2-9 win may have given the Titans much needed momentum and confidence heading into the Weekend series vs. Cal Poly at Goodwin Field this weekend. Which leads us to our next point…
.500 Still a possibility
The win over UCLA on Tuesday kept the possibility of finishing the season with a .500 record still intact. After dropping the weekend series vs. UCSD 1-2, the Titans need to win out the remaining nine games on the schedule in order to finish one game above .500.
Is it a possibility? Sure. Is it likely? Probably not.
Until the Titans are mathematically eliminated from a .500 season, there’s a chance.
Although it may not translates into wins, the Titan Baseball offense is as potent as it has ever been. As a team, the Titans’ .284 batting average currently leads the Big West Conference.
Individually, five Titans rank in the Top 20 in batting average in the Big West Conference. Most notably, Austin Schell leads the conference, batting an even .400. That’s a full 26 points higher than Cal Poly’s Brooks Lee (.374) who is assuredly going to be named to numerous All-American teams.
The other Titans bats ranking in the current Big West Top 20 for batting average include:
4. Jackson Lyon – .360
12. Zach Lew – .320
16. Caden Connor – .311
19. Jason Brandow – .308
Hats off to Neil Walton who is the coach in charge of running the Titan offense and deserves the credit for its vast improvement from previous years. Many Titan fans have remarked that the immediate improvement on offense was what was needed despite the recent pitching woes. Many with the future in mind, hold the belief that if an aspect of the Titans’ game is lacking, let it be the pitching.
With Jason Dietrich’s track record for improving pitchers, once he gets a full season under his belt and can bring in “his recruits”, the pitching should improve greatly. Until then, enjoy the improved bats for the rest of the season.
Have a Day Hollywood
Jack “Hollywood” Haley had himself quite a day on Saturday vs. UCSD. He drove in nearly 32% of the runs scored on Saturday.
During the offensive explosion in the sandwich game of the series, Hollywood went 3-for-4, scored two runs, drove in six runners and did not record a strike out.
With a Saturday win that included 19 total runs, Haley was not the only Titan with a multiple hit and multi-RBI game. Zach Lew went 2-for-5, Caden Connor 2-for-6 with three RBI, Jackson Lyon went 2-for-5 with two RBI and a home run and Austin Schell went 2-for-3 and touched home plate three times.
You can trust a Schardt
Jakob Schardt has received a bump in playing time lately and has shown why Head Coach Jason Dietrich has displayed more trust in the true freshman.
Prior to the UCSD series, Schardt had limited playing time getting few at-bats in reserve and pinch hit roles. His earlier appearances included single at-bats on the Sunday vs. Gonzaga, at USC on March 22 and vs. San Jose State. He did get a pinch hit a week ago vs. BYU which may have sparked his increased role this weekend. His playing time vs. UCSD and getting his first collegiate start vs. UCLA, shows he could fight for a starting outfield spot in 2023.
With veteran outfielders Jackson Lyon and Jason Brandow who joined the Titans in 2019, despite getting an added eligibility year due to COVID, could move on to greener pastures after this year. JC transfers Carter White could be out of eligibility along with Deylan Pigford paving the way for Schardt to take one of those outfield spots in the meadow.
His recent success in the past few games sure impressed us and has to make a good impression on the coaching staff as well.
Sweeps come vs. bottom feeders
The weekend series loss to UCSD marks the fifth time the Titans have lost a series in conference play.
Despite the Titans conference record sitting at 11-10, six of those wins came via sweeps vs. UC Davis and UC Riverside. Both UCR and UCD sit at the bottom of the Big West Conference standings and strike fear in no one.
Unfortunately, the Titans have not shown they can win a Big West series unless the teams they play are cellar dwellers. With Big West second place Cal Poly looming this weekend and Long Beach State and UC Irvine after that, the prospects of winning those series much less sweeping all three, look rather grim.
We mentioned earlier that the Titans still have a slim chance to finish above .500 on the season. How slim of a chance? Razor thin. As in, if the Titans lose one more game this season, it’s curtains for a winning season.
Based on the fact that all three upcoming opponents are not UC Davis or UC Riverside, shows how dire the situation remains. A 10 game winning streak (including Tuesday’s win over UCLA) to finish the season would rank among some of the greatest Titan winning streaks of all time. (Even if that happened, the Titans would still miss the NCAA post-season.)
Can the Titans do it? Of course. Anything is possible in college baseball. Is it likely? Not so much.
Considering the track record the Titans have this season with this current team, don’t bet on it. That’s why the margin of error standing at zero losses makes the prospects rather ugly.
The second to last homestand for the Titans at Goodwin Field welcomes in the Cal Poly Mustangs who carry a 28-20 overall record and sit in second place in the BWC with a conference record of 14-7.
Outside of the drama of if the Titans can avoid another losing season, all eyes should be on Cal Poly’s Brooks Lee. Lee, the son of Cal Poly Head Coach Larry Lee, is projected to be a first round draft pick in the MLB Draft. The most recent MLB Projections has Brooks Lee potentially selected within the top 10 overall draft picks.
Undoubtedly, Brooks Lee remains the top offensive weapon for the Mustangs hitting .274 which ranks second in the Big West. Lee ranks No. 1 in OPS (1.136), hits (71), doubles (21), RBI (42), total basses (124), slugging percentage (.653), walks (42) and on-base percentage (.483) in the Big West.
Enough with the Brooks Lee love, is there anyone else on the Mustang’s roster to be worried about? Ryan Stafford was named Big West position player of the week last week.
On the mound, Drew Thorpe starts on Friday nights and his 2.49 ERA leads all weekend starting pitchers in the Big West. His 83 innings pitched also tops the Big West meaning not only does he allow few runs, he also goes deep into his games. While he is going deep into games, he’s also striking out more batter than any other Big West pitcher with 114 Ks.
Friday, May 13: LHP – Tyler Stultz (4-3, 3.67 ERA) vs. RHP – Drew Thorpe (7-1, 2.49 ERA)
Saturday, May 14: RHP – Evan Yates (3-1, 4.63 ERA) vs. LHP – Travis Weston (4-3 4.69 ERA)
Sunday, May 15: RHP – Fynn Chester (1-1, 3.07 ERA) vs. RHP – Dillon Villalobos (0-2, 3.51 ERA)
Times listed are Pacific time:
May 13, 2022 (Friday) vs. Cal Poly – 7:00 PM
May 14, 2022 (Saturday) vs. Cal Poly – 6:00 PM
May 15, 2022 (Sunday) vs. Cal Poly – 1:00 PM