Thursday Thoughts Utah

Thursday Thoughts: Utah Series

The first edition of 2021 Thursday Thoughts is all about surprises. Who doesn’t love a surprise… as long as it is a good one?

The surprising news came on Twitter when University of Utah pitcher Brett Brocoff, tweeted a reply to Kendall Roghers of D1Baseball regarding Utah’s series with UT San Antonio getting canceled.

That opened the flood gates and later in the day, Cal State Fullerton made the official announcement that Utah was indeed coming to Fullerton’s Goodwin Field to play a three-game series starting on Saturday, February 20th.

As you can imagine, Titan fans were ecstatic over the news even though they (most of them) knew they could not be in the stands due to strict State of California COVID-19 restrictions regarding sporting events. Regardless, the Titans would not have to sit idle the first weekend of college baseball in 2021.

Even though this weekend’s series came as a surprise, it was a welcomed surprise after 344 days without Titan Baseball. That said, you know we have some thoughts coming out of the Utah series. Some were good, some were bad and yes, some were ugly.

The Results

Saturday, February 20, 2021 vs. Utah: WIN – 1-3
Sunday, February 21, 2021 vs. Utah: WIN – 1-15
Monday, February 22, 2021 vs. Utah: LOSS – 6-5

Season to date stats

Record: 2-1

Offense

Runs Scored: 23
Hits: 32
Doubles: 3
Triples: 4
RBI: 18
Team Batting Avg: .327
On-Base %: .452
Slugging %: .439
Walks: 19
Extra base hits: 7
Total bases: 43
Hit by pitch: 5
Stolen Bases: 1
Home Runs: 0
Strikeouts: 18

Defense

Errors: 3
Fielding %: .971
Double Plays turned: 1
Passed Balls: 1
Stolen Bases allowed: 1

Pitching

Team ERA: 2.00
Batting average against: .182
Hits allowed: 18
Total Runs Allowed: 8
Walks Issued: 9
Strikeouts: 40
Ks per 9 innings: 13.33
Home runs allowed: 1

Titans of the Week

Jake Harvey Fullerton

Batter of the Week

Jake Harvey: 12 AB – .417/.533/.750 – 3 R – 5 H – 0 RBI – 3 BB – 2 SO

Also considered:
Jason Brandow: 8 AB – .500/.600/.750 – 4 R – 4 H – 3 RBI – 1 BB – 2 SO
Isaiah Garcia: 6 AB – .500/.571/.833 – 1 R – 3 H – 1 RBI – 0 BB – 1 SO
Caden Connor: 6 AB – .333/.556/.333 – 2 R – 2 H – 1 – RBI – 3 BB – 0 SO

Tanner Bibee Fullerton

Pitcher of the Week

Tanner Bibee: 6.0 IP – 1 H – 0 ER – 1 BB – 11 Ks

Also considered:
Landon Anderson: 1.2 IP – 1 H – 0 ER – 0 BB – 3 Ks
Michael Knorr: 3.0 IP – 1 H – 0 ER – 1 BB – 5 Ks
Ryan Hare: 2.1 IP – 1 H – 0 ER – 1 BB – 5Ks

The Good

Season opened a week early

We touched on this in the opening how this series with Utah was thrown together at the last minute but we are sure glad they did it. In an era when games get canceled because of a virus with a recovery rate between 97% and 99.75%, the Utah series came about due to inclement weather in Texas, not COVID-19.

Utah, originally scheduled to play UT San Antonio, suddenly became available because the polar vortex that gripped most of Texas made playing conditions unplayable. Frozen water pipes and electricity outages at UTSA forced the Roadrunners to cancel the series. That left the Utah Utes scrambling for a dance partner for the first week of the college baseball season.

Since Stanford chose not to play the opening weekend, Cal State Fullerton was also stuck without an opponent. The main reason to blame was other teams figured Stanford and Cal State Fullerton always play, so they scheduled elsewhere. Once Utah was freed up because of the weather in San Antonio, a few phone calls, plane flights and room reservations later, the Utes were at Goodwin Field and playing on Saturday.

The prospect of sitting on the sidelines while the majority of the country started playing college baseball after such a long layoff was a hard pill for Titan fans to swallow. Hats off to those behind the scenes that pulled this one off on such short notice.

Tanner Bibee
Tanner Bibee had a perfect game through 5 1/3rd innings vs. Utah on Saturday, February 20, 2021.
(Photo courtesy of Titans Athletics)

Bibee masterful on Saturday

Fourth year Junior Tanner Bibee was selected as the Big West Pitcher of the Week after his commanding performance on Saturday to open the 2021 season.

As expected, Bibee dominated the strike zone throwing six innings, allowing one hit, one walk, zero home runs, zero earned runs and racking up 11 strikeouts. He even had a perfect game going through 5 1/3 innings until he walked Kayler Yates with one out in the top of the sixth inning. The next batter, Tyler Thompson singled to right field that put Yates on third base. A strike out, a passed ball that allowed Yates to score and then another strikeout ended the inning. Michael Knorr came into the game in relief to start the seventh inning and ended up finishing the game with the save.

Bibee looks he has positioned himself to force MLB teams to draft him higher than the projected fifth round like he was projected in 2020. Bibee has returned to campus with a chip on his shoulder and looks like a player obsessed with winning, overpowering batters with his fast ball and confounding them with his off-speed stuff. The Titans will have a puncher’s chance every time Bibee picks up the ball this season.

New camera views… and Replay!

With no fans allowed to watch the Titans in-person, Titan Baseball fans can get their fix by watching the live stream directly through the Titans website or on Big West TV. In the past, the live stream was one camera set up in the press box behind home plate and hardly moved and did not have a score graphic.

That’s in the past because on Sunday, the Titans debuted a center field camera that followed the action, took a peek into the bullpen to see who was warming up, etc. The revamped streaming broadcast even featured a “score bug”; that graphic in the corner that shows the score, the inning, number of outs, runners on base, etc.

The stream on Sunday and Monday (We’ll touch on the lack of streaming on Saturday in “the ugly” segment) were much improved over the live streams as recently as last season. The score bug lagged at times and after a while, whoever was updating it just gave up on keeping track of balls and strikes and that area was left blank. We understand that this was the first weekend and an unexpected weekend and a new system will have their hiccups. Hopefully they will have worked out the kinks before hosting Pepperdine at Goodwin Field, Sunday, March 7th.

Caden Connor
Caden Connor gets ready to bat vs. Utah
(Photo courtesy of Titan Athletics)

Bats are back

23 to 55. That’s the number of runs the Titans have scored in the first three games compared to runs scored in the 16 game, COVID-19 shortened season in 2020. Sure, three games is a small sample size and that number is inflated by the 15 run bombing that occurred on Sunday. Regardless of all of that, it appears the boys have improved on their hitting over the last two years.

Newcomer Jake Harvey demonstrated why he earned the lead off role, going 5-for-12 and also earned three walks, ending the weekend on base over 50% of the time. We failed to mention he hit not one, but two triples in the series. That made us scramble for the Titan record book to see who holds the single season record for triples in a season. (Dante Powell had nine triples in 1992 for those wondering.)

Speaking of triples, Jackson Lyon and Isaiah Garcia also got three baggers off Utah pitchers this weekend. Garcia and Jason Brandow finished the three-game series batting .500. 12 Titans received four or more at-bats vs. Utah and seven finished the weekend batting .333 or higher.

Yes, we understand that hitting success in a three-game series vs. Utah, a team picked to finish last in the Pac-12, should not motivate Titan Baseball fans to start booking flights and hotel rooms to Omaha just yet. But after finishing the 2020 shortened season with a team batting average of .214, the Titans are off to a better start in 2021.

Michael Knorr
Michael Knorr
(Photo courtesy of Titan Athletics)

Bullpen looked strong

Tanner Bibee locked up the Pitcher of the Week honors but we also considered Landon Anderson, Michael Knorr and Ryan Hare. Let’s not forget freshman Christian Rodriquez and Junior College transfer Sam Gomez and their lights out performances on the mound.

Although Anderson only pitched 1 2/3rd innings, he entered the game in a high stress situation. With one out in the fourth, Kayler Yates doubled and then Timmy Josten proceeded to hit the next two batters, Jaylon McLauglin and Matt Richardson to load the bases. Apparently Pitching Coach Dan Ricabal had seen enough and called for the lanky lefty Anderson to come into the game. Anderson proceeded to strike out Jayden Kiernan and Trey Clarkson to end the inning and leave three Utes stranded on the base paths. In the fifth, Anderson returned garnering a fly out, a ground out, a single and a strikeout.

Knorr, a previous weekend starter in 2019, was terrific in three innings of relief of Tanner Bibee. Knorr surrendered only one hit, one walk and struck out five in three innings of work to earn the save. Ryan Hare, despite pitching in what would eventually turn into a loss, showed why Hook is high on the graduate transfer from UNLV. Hare’s line was identical to Knorr’s (1 H / 1 BB / 5 Ks) only Hare racked up those numbers in 2 1/3rd innings.

Highly touted freshman Christian Rodriquez notched three scoreless innings surrendering two hits, one walk and striking out four Utes. Rodriquez’s change up already looks to be in mid-season form and he could position himself for one of the weekend starting spots once Big West Conference games start and the Titans play four-game series.

Samuel Gomez, a JUCO transfer from Citrus College, pitched only one inning, facing three batters and striking out two of them. Gomez looks like he is cut from the mold of previous Titan relievers who can come into the game in middle innings and keep the opponent at bay.

The Bad

Timmy Josten
Timmy Josten
(Photo courtesy Don Hudson)

Josten & Luckham struggles

After the performance Tanner Bibee put in on Saturday, many Titan fans were hoping to see another superb pitching performance out of the other two starters, Timmy Josten and Kyle Luckham. That didn’t happen.

We mentioned how Landon Anderson bailed out his fellow lefty Josten by stranding all three base runners he inherited. Despite Josten ending his day with a 0.00 ERA, the concerning part was he was only able to go 3 1/3rd innings before getting pulled. If the Titans are going to go far in 2021, the bullpen will need some help from the starters by going five to six innings, especially since conference series will be four games this season.

We have the same concern for Kyle Luckham. Luckham went five innings, faced 25 batters, surrendered six hits, walked two and gave up five runs, all earned. His only clean, one-two-three inning, came in the third with two ground outs and fly out. Luckham did finish the fifth inning by striking out Brock Rudy but that was after Tyler Thompson‘s 3-RBI double cleared the bases.

We keep reiterating that this weekend was a small sample size and we should not get too excited about the good things and not too low on the bad things. The Titans need starters not named Tanner Bibee to go deeper in games.

Don’t be surprised if Rick Vanderhook goes with Peyton Jones on Saturday and keeps the righty-lefty-righty rotation going. If Luckham struggles again, Christian Rodriguez could earn his first start the following weekend… that is if he does not get the start next Tuesday vs. UCLA.

Field conditions

With the surprise Utah series coming on a weekend when the Titans and weren’t even supposed to play, the field looked a bit worse for wear with brown spots all over the infield and outfield. We understand that this Utah series was scheduled quickly and the grounds crew probably expected to have more time to get the field in better shape before the originally scheduled home opener vs. Pepperdine on March 7th.

Admittedly, we’re not grounds keepers and not sure if two weeks of watering and grooming would make the field immaculate looking as we have come to expect over the years. Unfortunately, the way it looked over the weekend, there is a lot of work to be done.

Fans at Goodwin Field
Jake Pavletich pumps up the Goodwin Field fans during the 2018 Super Regionals. With COVID-19 safety protocols in place, Goodwin Field will not look like this full of fans for quite a long time.

No fans

After COVID-19 shut down the 2020 college baseball season, numerous college and pro sports have resumed with modifications in order to slow the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. Those measures prevent spectators at live sporting events in many states that have invoked the strictest safety protocols regarding the virus. California is one of those states and Cal State Fullerton made announcements to season ticket holders in emails and posted on social media that, to start the season, “all Titans Athletics events this spring will begin without spectators.”

We understand that Cal State Fullerton must comply with State of California and local ordinances and this issue is beyond their control. If anyone would like to have fans back, it’s Cal State Fullerton since Baseball and Softball generate revenue for the school through season tickets, concessions and corporate sponsors. It’s just a bad look when other states like Texas are playing college baseball in front of fans yet California stands are empty.

The confusing aspect for California sports fans to understand is how can Texas, a large state with a population similar to California, allow sports fans, albeit in limited capacity, but allow spectators none the less? As of today, the Texas average COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 residents is HIGHER than that of California. (15:100K California – 22:100K Texas)

Arizona, who will allow limited spectators into MLB Spring Training games has a 21:100K case rate today. Yet California is not allowing fans to attend games even by limited capacities, requiring masks, ensuring there is distancing between fans not in the same household, etc.

Again, this is not a problem that Cal State Fullerton nor the CSUF Athletic Department can fix. It goes well above their jurisdiction and the only people that can answer the “why questions” are those residing in Sacramento.

Guango, Adolphus, Miggy & Repetti MIA

Kameron Guangorena, apparently poised to have a breakout year we’ve all been waiting for, will have to wait a few more weeks to get on the field. Guango apparently came down with an injury during practices but should be good to go in a few weeks. That prognostication leads us to believe it might be something minor like a pulled hamstring and nothing too severe. Same thing goes for Miguel Ortiz who played in 13 of the 16 games in 2020 and hit .281. You would have expected to see him in the line-up at some point during the weekend but he was mysteriously absent. Ortiz also has an apparent injury that may keep him sidelined for the upcoming USD series and hopefully not longer.

Evan Adolphus showed up on the live stream feed behind the plate during the Utah series but did not play. One might think he was in the stands for social distancing reasons because there can only be so many players in the dugout and in the bullpen at one time. The fact that he was not in any of the Utah games is puzzling. In the practices we were able to attend, it appeared his velocity was down and that might have played a role in him not getting opportunities this weekend.

Cameron Repetti not playing was also a mystery until we did some snooping on the message boards. Apparently Repetti’s absence from the Utah series was because of an off the field issue that was non-COVID related. The poster assured message board readers that Repetti should be good to go for this weekend vs. USD.

Any time you hear “off the field issue” pertaining to a student athlete, you immediately think the worst like a PED positive test, breaking team rules, i.e. breaking curfew, getting into a fight, etc. If the reason he was out of the line-up was any of those, he would probably not be good to go for the following weekend. Our suspicion is that it may have been something minor like an academic mix up that will be resolved prior to this weekend. We fully expect to see Repetti at third base this weekend vs. USD.

Outfield Sprinklers Goodwin Field
In the top of the 6th inning vs. Utah on Monday, February 22, 2021, the outfield sprinklers came on, delaying the game for about two minutes.

Outfield Sprinklers Delay

During the top of the 6th inning with Utah leading 6-2 with 1 out, the outfield sprinklers popped up and start watering the field. If you are morbidly curious, check the video from the game around the 1:45 mark to catch the free water show.

We understand that the Titans typically do not play nor practice on Mondays and the sprinklers were probably set on a timer to go off at 2 pm that day. This raises two questions:

1) It didn’t dawn on anyone to check the watering schedule and make sure this wouldn’t happen?

2) Why is the outfield scheduled to get watered in the middle of the day when the sun is out?

On the first question, we can give the grounds keepers a pass because this series was put together so last minute that in the melee of getting everything together, it must have been overlooked. That’s understandable.

The second question is a bit more puzzling. Anyone that has ever tried to grow a blade of grass or a backyard garden knows that you don’t water plants in the middle of the day. The ideal time to water is before sunrise when it is cooler and less water is lost to evaporation. In a state where water restrictions are enforced, you would think the timers would be set to go off in the mornings.

Not sure if anyone from the grounds keeping crew reads our stuff but a quick internet search yielded this.

Based on the lawn competition going on between RHP Kyle Luckham, Bullpen Catcher Zach Taylor, Associate Head Coach Sergio Brown and Head Coach Rick Vanderhook this past spring, those four might be able to offer up some lawn care advice.

The good news is that the “rain delay” lasted about two minutes and didn’t adversely impact the game. It’s just a bit embarrassing for an Athletic Department that really needed to put a better foot forward after the streaming debacle that was Saturday night… which leads us to our next section.

The Ugly

Saturday Broadcasting SNAFU

The nature of scheduling an opponent and beginning to play within 48 hours will create chaos in any University Athletic Department. Add in COVID and all the extra hoops people need to jump through and specifically for Fullerton, after furloughing staff because of the pandemic and working shorthanded, hiccups were bound to happen. What happened on Saturday night regarding the audio and the video stream were beyond the pale of just small hiccups.

When news broke regarding Utah coming to Goodwin Field Saturday through Monday, many fans asked if they could watch the games in person. (Apparently these fans forgot the Titans play in California where you need to file lawsuits naming Governor Gavin Newsom in order to reverse draconian lock downs and restrictions…) Titan Athletics was quick to respond via Twitter as we addressed in “the Bad” section regarding there being no fans.

Now fans start asking how they can keep up with the game. Will it be live streamed? Titans Baseball responds with this tweet:

At this point, Titan Baseball fans and Utah Baseball fans are equally outraged with the lack of explanation as to why, “unfortunately there will be no stream for tonight’s game against Utah.” Brian Brocoff, assuming either the father or uncle to Utah pitcher Brett Brocoff, tweeted this reply:

Apparently someone within the Utah Baseball organization thought that a good idea and did just that. We here at Cal State Omaha started getting tweets and direct messages from player parents and fans directing us to a Facebook Live feed that Utah had rigged up. They got what appeared to be a tablet hooked up behind home plate up by the press box and streamed video live without any commentary. Nine minutes before first pitch, Titan Baseball tweets:

Now with the video stream provided by Utah Baseball’s fast action and ingenuity, we chose to turn down the volume on the Facebook Live video (nobody needs to hear press box chit chat) and turn up the audio broadcast that was tweeted out earlier and promised. There’s only one problem. No audio broadcast at the start of the game. Fans tuning in saw this:

Audio Error message
Titan Baseball fans were greeting with this error message when trying to listen to the first game vs. Utah.

For people not technically savvy enough to find the Facebook Live feed courtesy of Utah, they missed out on the first few innings of the season opener. Nearly a half hour after the first pitch, this tweet comes out

No explanation as to what caused the issue. No apologies to parents and fans trying to keep track of the game. Nothing. Just business as usual.

Sure, technical difficulties arise and anything that does not go absolutely perfectly does not go unnoticed. The lack of media was magnified because Titan Baseball fans were denied a complete season in 2020 and had been chomping at the bit for over 10 months to see some baseball. Add to it that the games were played at Goodwin Field and fans were told under no circumstances could they attend and watch in person. They were also promised an audio feed and that showed up late.

The bigger issue was the lack of communication as to why there was no video feed. Why was the audio late? Why did Utah figure out a way to get some sort of a live stream up and Fullerton couldn’t? From what we gathered, here’s why there was no stream and the audio was late.

The equipment and staff allotment on the Fullerton campus was in place for the Basketball game in Titan Gym and the Softball game at Anderson Family Field. Mike Martinez, the long time voice of Titan Baseball, has been doing basketball this season and was already on campus for that game which started at 5 pm. We assume that Ryan Osborne, the voice of Titan Softball, was going to start the baseball game on the audio broadcast and once the basketball game was over, Martinez would sprint across campus and take over. Problem is, the softball game vs. UCLA went three hours and Osborne was late arriving to the Goodwin Field Press Box.

But why are you learning all of this from us? It’s our opinion that if the CSUF Athletic Communications Department was able to explain as to why there were so many problems, many fans would have probably cut them some slack. Let the people know that the live stream broadcast equipment was already allotted to basketball and softball and the late addition of the Utah series prevents doing a live stream. Let the people know that the softball game went long and the fill-in announcer was not available for first pitch of the Titan Baseball game.

Someone was tweeting out end of inning results on the official Titan Baseball twitter account. Why couldn’t they make their announcer debut while fans waited for Martinez to arrive? Even a bad broadcast with an inexperienced announcer is better than dead air and radio silence.

We’re not intentionally trying to be obtuse but a little explanation could have gone a long way and would have helped to not alienate fans. Steve Thomas tweeted at Titan Baseball this…

Harsh but we can’t disagree. With a fan base getting older and less and less younger fans, most notably students, not coming to the games, the lack of communication is not helping matters.

It’s just a bad look for a storied program that after two years of struggling on the field looks like their support staff is scuffling as well. If the dearth of communication out of the Sports Communications Department is spawned by trying to cover up the lack of budget and resources, it has the opposite effect. Just be open and honest with the fans and you will be surprised how much leniency they will give you.

Fans know Cal State Fullerton does not have the budget that Power-5 conference schools have. Fans know that the Athletics Department was gutted by COVID and there were massive furloughs across the board. But for those that survived the furloughs, let the fans know what is going on.

The series was thrown together last minute and the staff and resources weren’t laying around waiting to be used. Tell the fans that. Cal State Fullerton just doesn’t have extra live-stream equipment sitting and waiting for an opportunity like this to come up at the last minute. Tell the fans that. Mike Martinez was originally scheduled to broadcast the basketball game and the softball game went long. Tell the fans that.

Don’t look at it as making excuses. They are actual reasons why there was no video feed provided by CSUF and the audio stream was late. Again, communicate with your fan base and you will be surprised how much slack they will cut you.

Carter White final out vs Utah
Carter White appears to be safe at first but was called out by Mike Lusky to end the game.

Final out on Monday

Umpires are going to make bad calls. Bad calls are magnified at the end of games compared to if they happen in the third inning. That’s what appears to have happened in the final out of the third game. (If you want to watch the final out for yourself, you can view it on BigWest.TV. Fast forward to the 3:41 mark to get the final at-bat.)

Carter White was batting with two out and Tristan Gomes, the tying run on third. White hits a bouncer to third base and the throw across to first appeared that White had beat the throw by a step to those players in the stands and those watching on the live stream. The Titans broadcast used the new found replay and slo-mo and replayed it at the end along with some freeze frame to show that White was safe. Regardless, the first base umpire called White out and the game was over.

The fact that the bad call came in the bottom of the ninth inning and ended the game amplified the severity of the bad call. A safe call would have extended the game at least for another batter and had the Titans not converted for another run, we would have had extra innings.

At the end of a long game, umpires can “steal an out” if they want the game to end and get to their dinner reservations or just head home. If the ball was dropped or off line and the runner was clearly safe, the game would have continued. But since it was close, the ump can get away from making a close safe call into a close out call and nobody can do anything about it. Since the Big West Conference has not approved instant replay for umpire use like the SEC and the ACC has already done, the call stands and the umpires can beat the Orange County traffic.

We’ll never know if the Titans could have walked it off with the next batter or would have lost eventually in extra innings. Will that one loss in the non-conference adversely affect the Titans RPI rankings and ultimately leave them out of the postseason? We’ll also never know that. We’re hoping a postseason berth will not hinge on a lousy call made by an umpire that, we assume, wanted to leave and go home.

Fowler Park USD
Fowler Park on the campus of University of San Diego

Looking Ahead

This weekend was originally supposed to be the start of the 2021 Titan Baseball season before the Utah series was scheduled. Now that the Titans got the unexpected warm-up vs. the Utes, they head down south to Fowler Park on the campus of the University of San Diego. Before you ask, no tickets are available for sale which means no fans will be admitted. The good news is all three games vs. USD will be streamed via WCCSports.com. Make sure to visit the USD Baseball page and select the game you want to watch.

There’s good news and bad news for the Titans when facing USD this weekend. The good news is that in their opening series vs. San Diego State, the Toreros were lit up for 45 runs by the Aztecs. Good news for the Titan batters indeed. The bad news? USD Scored 41 runs in that same series vs. the Aztecs.

We’re not sure if the USD bats are that hot and their pitching is not that good because three games makes it difficult to get a read on how an opponent is shaping up. The three starters for USD, sophomore Jake Miller (Friday), freshman Carter Rustad (Saturday) and senior Grady Miller (Sunday) are all expected to start again.

Jake Miller was able to muster three innings of work this past weekend giving up eight hits, five runs (all earned), no walks and three strikeouts and has a 15.00 ERA. Miller’s ERA is the lowest of the three USD weekend starters. Don’t be fooled by the inflated numbers for Jake Miller to start 2021. This is the same guy that in 2020, threw a complete game no-hitter and led USD with 29 total strikeouts in the pandemic-shortened campaign.

The Saturday night starter, Carter Rustad, was roughed up early by the Aztecs and went only 1 1/3rd innings giving up five hits, nine runs (6 earned), three walks and a strikeout. He also hit two batters and enters the weekend vs. Cal State Fullerton with a 40.50 ERA. Rustad is also a pitcher looking to reclaim his 2020 form when he was named a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American while leading USD with a minuscule 0.84 ERA, five total hits allowed and four wins on the season.

Sunday, the Titans should expect to face Grady Miller, who went 3 1/3rd innings vs. the Aztecs, surrendering eight hits, six runs (all earned) no walks and no strikeouts. Miller had four wild pitches on the day and ended his day with a 16.20 ERA. Grady Miller made five starts for San Diego last year, collecting 23 strikeouts in 23.0 innings of work before he finished with a 3.13 ERA and a 2-0 record.

Offensively for USD, Titan pitchers will need to pay special attention to Thomas Luevano, Caleb Ricketts, Kevin Sim, Tora Otsuka, Shane McGuire, Cody Jefferis, and Adam Lopez. Of the Toreros with 10+ at-bats in 2021, Jefferis is hitting .500 while Luevano is batting .462 and has two stolen bases.

This should be a good test for the Titans vs. USD, a team projected to finish third in the West Coast Conference. For comparison, Utah was projected to finish last in the Pac-12.

Times listed are Pacific time:

February 26, 2021 (Friday) @ USD – 3 PM
February 27, 2021 (Saturday) @ USD – 2 PM
February 28, 2021 (Sunday) @ USD – 1 PM

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