Wednesday Wisdom: Long Beach Sweep Part 2

Three games left and the Titans season will come to an end. No chance of winning the Big West. No chance of getting invited to the NCAA postseason tournament. No chance of reaching 30 wins.

The only benchmark remaining is to finish the season with a winning record above .500.

Let’s dive into this week’s wisdom.

outfielders celebrate
Outfielders Isaiah Garcia, Mitchell Berryhill and Jason Brandow celebrate a victory over Long Beach State at Blair Field earlier in the season.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Long Beach Sweep

Six wins and zero losses vs. Long Beach State in 2019. Despite the Titans struggling this season and undoubtedly will miss the NCAA postseason for the first time in 27 years, sweeping the season vs. the Dirtbags is always satisfying.

Long Beach State finished the weekend 5-16 and dead last in the Big West Conference standings. The Dirtbags, 11-41 overall record with three more games to go vs. Hawai’i, will finish with the worst record among conference teams no matter how they fare against Hawai’i.

The best the Dirtbags can finish this year will be 14-41 which will give them a .254 winning percentage. 2019 will mark the fifth season the Dirtbags finished below .300 winning percentage since joining Division 1 baseball.

1977: 11–43–1 – .209
1980: 16–50–2 – .250
1987: 16–41–1 – .284
1988: 14–45 – .237

Two years removed from the Super Regional between these two teams, the landscape couldn’t be any more different. Although the teams’ on-field success is very different this year, maintaining dominance in this series is always a feather in the Titans’ cap.

The six-game sweep now tightens the Titans’ stranglehold on the 152-77 all-time record vs. the Dirtbags. To put that into perspective, if the Titans and Dirtbags continue to play each other six times per year (post-season not included), Long Beach State would need to sweep Cal State Fullerton for 12 straight years and the Titans would still hold a three game advantage.

Mitchell Berryhill steals second base against San Diego State earlier in the season.
(Photo courtesy of Matt Brown)

.400 for Berryhill in sight

Mitch Berryhill‘s incredible senior season at the plate continued over the weekend vs. Long Beach State. Berryhill hit 3-for-9 over the weekend which took his batting average to .414 for the season.

Berryhill will probably not finish with the best batting average in the country this year but has a very good chance at finishing in the top 10.

1. Nick Gonzales – New Mexico St. – .438
2. Austin Martin – Vanderbilt – .432
3. Joey Ortiz – New Mexico St. – .430
4. Adley Rutschman – Oregon St. – .427
5. Dominic D’Alessandro – George Washington – .423
6. Mitchell Berryhill – Cal St. Fullerton – .414
7. Ben Carew – Kent St. – .414
8. Jake Holton – Creighton – .409
9. Luis Trevino – Abilene Christian – .408
10. Daniel Lingua – Prairie View – .406

Mitchell Berryhill batting
Mitchell Berryhill could finish the 2019 season batting above .400 if he gets 2 hits in the final weekend series.
(Photo courtesy Matt Brown)

Berryhill has 75 hits in 181 official at-bats after playing 50 games in 2019. That’s an average of about 3.5 at-bats per game. With three games left vs. Cal State Northridge, we expect Berryhill to register about 10 or 11 official at bats.

In order to end the season hitting over .400, Berryhill needs two hits if he maintains that 10 to 11 at-bat average for a weekend. If Berryhill can end the season batting over .400, he will join an exclusive club of Titan .400+ hitters.

1. .438 – Gary Brown – 2010
2. .431 – Steve Woodward – 2000
3. .422 – Mark Kotsay – 1995
4. .417 – Sam Favata – 1979
5. .413 – Kurt Suzuki – 2004
6. .408 – Chris Beck – 1999
7. .406 – Shane Turner – 1985
T8. .402 – Mark Kotsay – 1996
T8. .402 – Phil Nevin – 1992

If Berryhill can finish the season batting .400, he will make it 10 seasons when a Titan batter has hit that average. (Nine batters because Mark Kotsay batted over .400 for two seasons – 1995 & 1996) Josh Fellhauer, Reed Johnson and Jeremy Giambi would drop off the top 10 single season batting average list because they finished their seasons batting .396.

If Berryhill can manage two hits this weekend, he will join a very elite group of batters to have worn the Fullerton blue and orange.

Daniel Cope
Daniel Cope shows off the number of wins the Titans will need in order to finish the season with a winning record.
(Photo courtesy of Matt Brown)

2-1 for .500+

Speaking of the number two, that is the number of wins the Titans need this weekend vs. Cal State Northridge to secure a winning season. Two wins would give the Titans 27 wins on the season, securing a winning record (.509).

A number of streaks are coming to an end once the 2019 Titan Baseball season finishes up on Saturday.

  • Winning a national championship in every decade (1979, 1984, 1995, 2004) since the program joined Division 1 in 1975.
  • 27 consecutive years playing in a regional since 1992.
  • Cal State Fullerton has never won less than 30 games in a single season.

If the Titans lose two games or more to CSUN, then the streak of never having a losing season will also come to an end.

It has been a tough year for the Titans but at least they can salvage one record with a series win up in Northridge this weekend.

Titans 2019 Seniors
L-R; Jairus Richards, Nick Ciandro, Mitch Berryhill, Hank LoForte, Jordan Hernandez
(Photo courtesy @FullertonBSB Twitter)

Senior Day Sunday

On Sunday, the Titan Baseball program said thank you and saluted five seniors on the 2019 squad. Jairus Richards, Nick Ciandro, Mitch Berryhill and Jordan Hernandez are all seniors after transferring from junior college to finish up their final two years at Fullerton.

Hank LoForte is the only player in this group of 2019 seniors to have worn the Fullerton F for all four years.

Jake Pavletich did not participate in senior day this year because he was a senior last season. Since Pav redshirted earlier in his Fullerton career, he had one year of eligibility left and chose to return to play in 2019.

Congratulations to those Fullerton seniors for their service and efforts over the years. Best of luck to all no matter if their future includes professional baseball or entering the business world.

LoForte Report

Hank LoForte batting
If Hank LoForte can hit one more triple, he will join Dante Powell for first place in career triples. (Photo courtesy of matt Brown)

We told you about the special season Mitch Berryhill is having at the plate. Fellow senior Hank LoForte is on the verge of etching his name in the Titan career record books as well.

LoForte’s seven triples last season ranks him tied for fourth in three-baggers for a single season with four other Titans. (Gary Brown – 2009, Spencer Oborn – 1999, Jose Mota – 1985, Matt Vejar – 1980)

Hank LoForte enters the Northridge series with 17 career triples in his career which ranks tied for second (Gary Brown, 2008 – 2010) for most triples in a career at Fullerton.

If LoForte can touch third base on a single swing of the bat, he will join Dante Powell (1992-1994) on top of the Titan career triples list.

Two triples in three games may be a tall order but if LoForte can pull it off, he will be the all-time triples king in Titan Baseball history.

No replacement game

The Titans will finish the 2019 season having played 53 games total. Unfortunately the program was unable to find a non-conference team to play to replace the rescheduled Washington game that was canceled.

The small window of local teams that could travel to Fullerton for a mid-week game must have been too small and the canceled game slot was never filled. With the Titans traveling to Northridge on Thursday, it appears no last minute game will be secured.

Matador Field

Looking ahead

As mentioned, the Titans end the season on the road with a trip to the San Fernando Valley to take on Cal State Northridge.

Hate to say it but Northridge is having their typical sub .500 season. The Matadors are 22-30 on the season and 8-13 in the Big West. Even if CSUN swept the Titans, they still end the 2019 season with a losing record in both the conference and the overall record.

Please note that this is not your typical Friday through Sunday series. All games are day games at Matador Field.

Thu. May 23 @ Cal State Northridge – 3:00 PM
Fri. May 24 @ Cal State Northridge – 1:00 PM
Sat. May 25 @ Cal State Northridge – 1:00 PM

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