Baseball Preview: Hawaii

Cal State Fullerton has been doing a great job of finding ways to win games all season long and have had three separate ten game winning streaks.

The Titans looked to get a new streak started after losing the final game of the series against UCSB and won 8-4 at Pepperdine on Tuesday.  Fullerton played what was probably their most challenging series of the season last weekend at nationally ranked Cal Poly and after losing the opening game 2-1 came back to win 10-5 on Saturday and 6-4 on Sunday with two runs in the ninth inning to improve their record to 34-6 overall and 10-2 in the Big West.

Fullerton got this week started by bouncing back from the loss to UCSB by traveling up to Malibu and beating Pepperdine 8-4 on Tuesday afternoon.  The Titans got the scoring started with three runs in the second inning when J.D. Davis walked, Jake Jefferies singled, Greg Velazquez doubled in Davis, an error scored Jefferies and A.J. Kennedy's groundout scored Velazquez.  Fullerton went up 4-0 in the fourth when Velazquez hit his first HR of the season.  Pepperdine responded with a run in the bottom of the inning and Fullerton came right back with two runs in the fifth when Matt Chapman tripled and scored on Michael Lorenzen's SF, Davis was hit by a pitch, Jefferies reached on an error and Davis scored on a single by Velazquez, his third hit of the game.  The Waves cut into the lead with a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to make it 6-4 before the Titans put the game away with two runs in the seventh thanks to the help of more poor defense by Pepperdine.  Davis and Jefferies led off the inning with singles, Austin Kingsolver bunted them over and both runners scored on a wild pitch and a passed ball.  Bryan Conant picked up his first win as a Titan with two scoreless innings as one of seven pitchers who saw action on the day and Koby Gauna picked up his second save with 2 2/3 scoreless innings. 

Friday's game had all the earmarks of being a low scoring game with Thomas Eshelman squaring off against Joey Wagman and the pitchers didn't disappoint anybody.  Fullerton got out to a lead when Richy Pedroza led off the game with a hit, moved to second on a groundout and went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a SF by Lorenzen.  The Titans had chances to increase the lead because Wagman didn't have his best stuff and didn't strike anybody out but they couldn't push anybody else across in his seven innings of work and he allowed only that one run on six hits and two walks.  Cal Poly tied the game in the fourth when Jordan Ellis led off the inning with a triple and Jimmy Allen's groundout drove him in to tie the game.  The Mustangs took the lead for good in the sixth when Ellis singled with one out, Allen bunted him over and Nick Torres came up with the clutch two out hit on a full count to drive Ellis in.  Reed Reilly pitched the final two innings for Cal Poly and allowed only a walk to Davis to pick up his tenth save and Wagman improved to 8-2, including wins in all six of his starts at home, while Eshelman was the tough luck loser and his record fell to 7-2 after allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks with three strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.

It looked like Saturday's game had the potential to be another pitchers duel with Justin Garza and Matt Imhof going but neither of them were at their best, especially Imhof.  Matt Wallach doubled in the second but was stranded at third in the only threat for either team in the first two innings.  Fullerton jumped all over Imhof with four runs in the third when Carlos Lopez and Davis walked, Lorenzen doubled in Lopez, Wallach singled in Davis and Lorenzen, Jefferies reached on a fielder's choice and stole second and Chapman singled him in.  Cal Poly flexed their muscles when David Armendariz hit the first pitch of the bottom of the third out of the park and cut the lead to a run in the fourth when Torres walked and Brian Mundell hit his Big West leading eighth HR.  The Titans increased the lead to 6-3 and knocked Imhof out of the game in the sixth when Chapman doubled and Velazquez hit his second HR of the week.  The Mustangs scored to cut the lead to one in the bottom of the inning before Fullerton put the game away with three runs in the top of the seventh when Lopez led off the inning with a hit, Wallach reached on an error that kept the inning alive after a fly out and a foul out, Jefferies came up with a clutch two out RBI single and Chapman followed with a two run RBI double to salt the game away.  Wallach and Chapman each had three hits to lead the hitting attack and Garza improved his record to 8-0 after allowing four runs on four hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

Cal Poly scored first for the only time in the series on Sunday when Elliot Stewart tripled and scored on a wild pitch by Grahamm Wiest before Fullerton responded with four runs in the third to knock Cal Poly starter Bryan Granger out of the game.  Chapman led off the inning with an HR to tie the game, Kingsolver singled, Pedroza walked, Lopez's bunt single loaded the bases, Davis singled up the middle to drive in two runs and Lorenzen's single scored another run.  Mustangs reliever Michael Holback came into the game and retired the next eight batters that he faced before hitting Lorenzen and picking him off to end the fifth.  The Cal Poly bullpen continued to throttle the Titans offense when LHP Taylor Chris threw two shutout innings and after leaving the bases loaded in the fifth the Mustangs started coming back with a run in the sixth on a two out RBI double by Armendariz after Fullerton couldn't convert a DP ball to end the inning.  Koby Gauna came into the game in the seventh and Cal Poly made it a one run game when Ellis singled and stole second with two outs and Allen drove him in.  The Mustangs tied the game in the eighth when Mundell singled, Stewart bunted him over, Willie Kuhl came into the game for the third straight day and Armendariz roped the only pitch Kuhl threw for a single to put runners on first and third.  Lorenzen came into the game to try to preserve the lead and the Titans once again failed to convert a potential DP ball to tie the game.  Reilly came into the game in the eighth and retired Fullerton in order and after getting the first out of the ninth, the Titans rallied when Austin Diemer singled, Chapman singled him to third and Kingsolver beat out a potential DP ball on a close play at first to drive in the go ahead run.  Pedroza followed by reaching base on catcher's interference and Lopez gave Fullerton an insurance run when he smacked an RBI single to RF.  Lorenzen retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to improve his record to 2-0 and give the Titans their most important series win of the season up to this point.  Wiest was solid once again, going six innings and allowing two runs on seven hits and one walk with six strikeouts.  Chapman and Lopez each had two hits and Davis had two RBI.

Fullerton wasn't able to do much against All-Big West pitchers Wagman and Reilly in the opening game of the series but responded by scoring sixteen runs on twenty-one hits in the final two games of the series.  The Titans continued to be patient at the plate with eleven walks and also did a good job of putting the ball in play against Cal Poly, who entered the series in the top ten nationally in strikeouts, by only racking up twelve K's in the series.  There weren't many hitters who had a big weekend and Chapman led the offense by going 5-8 with an HR and four RBI in the final two games of the series, Kingsolver went 4-8 and was in the middle of some rallies and Lorenzen drove in a run in each game.  The pitching was solid with a 3.11 ERA for the weekend against the dangerous Cal Poly offense with quality starts by Eshelman and Wiest and Garza hung in there to pick up the only win among the starters.

Fullerton will look to carry the momentum from their series win in SLO into this weekend as they stay on the road for the second straight series with a trip to Hawaii.  These two teams aren't strangers to each other because they played series in 2010 and 2011 with Fullerton winning the series at home in 2010 before sweeping all four games on the islands in 2011 with a shortened roster due to having eight players suspended for that weekend.  The Titans and Rainbows were also supposed to play last season before the WAC changed Hawaii's schedule around and the series had to be cancelled.  As well as Fullerton has played to start this season, the Rainbows have played that poorly and after starting out 1-15 and righting things for a couple of weekends they have gone 1-10 over the last three weeks. 

 

Hawaii Rainbows (8-27, 3-9 – tied for 8th)

 
  • 2012 Overall Record – 30-25
  • 2012 Conference Record – 10-8 (4th in the WAC).
  • Post-Season – None.  Last regional appearance was in 2010.
  • 2013 RPI/ISR – 183/185.  2012 RPI/ISR – 95/78. 
  • Pre-season ranking – None.  Current ranking – None
  • Predicted conference finish – 6th by the Big West coaches and Baseball America, 7th by Easton College Baseball and 8th by Perfect Game.


2012 Summary and 2013 Preview

After finishing tied for the regular season championship with Fresno State in 2011, Hawaii expected to contend for the WAC title in their final season in the conference before moving on to the Big West.  The Rainbows were basically a .500 team against a fairly difficult non-conference schedule, going 14-14 in seven series with series wins against Wichita, USF and UC Davis, splits with St. Mary's and Central Michigan and series losses to Oregon and Gonzaga and a five game sweep against overmatched Wagner.  Hawaii continued to be inconsistent in conference games, going 7-2 at home and winning series against Fresno State, New Mexico State and Nevada and going 3-6 away from the islands against San Jose State, Louisiana Tech and Sacramento State to finish in fourth at 10-8.  The Rainbows were eliminated quickly in the WAC tournament with losses to Fresno State and Louisiana Tech.

Hawaii had their issues on offense in 2012 and finished in the bottom 25% nationally in AVG, R, SLG, 2B's, 3B's and HR's and they scored three runs or less 27 times.  The Rainbows walked at a decent rate but struck out too much for a team without much power.  Hawaii did attempt to play some little ball to manufacture runs with hit and run plays and by stealing bases and bunting runners over but probably should have done more to overcome their lack of pop at the plate.

Hawaii had a very good pitching staff in 2012 that was helped by playing in a ballpark that is very favorable to pitchers and was in the top forty nationally in ERA and #4 in the country among teams for the fewest walks allowed per game.  The Rainbows didn't have big arms and were in the bottom 40 nationally in strikeouts per game, relying on pitching to contact and letting their defense do the work and they held teams to three runs or less 29 times.

Hawaii knew they could be in for a rough season with a strong non-conference schedule while moving into a better conference in the Big West but nothing could have prepared them for what they have gone through.  The Rainbows got off to a terrible 1-15 start after being swept in four game series by Oregon and Rice, going 1-4 in a tournament at UNLV and losing the first three games against Gonzaga before winning the final game of the series.  After taking a week off, Hawaii rebounded by winning their series against Wichita State and their first conference series against UCSB before hitting the skids once again and going 1-10 after losing two non-conference games to UCSB and UCLA, getting swept at Irvine, losing the series at Cal Poly and getting swept by Northridge last weekend. 

Hawaii has been one of the worst offensive teams in the country and is in the bottom twenty nationally in AVG, R, HR, SLG and OBP.  The Rainbows only hit .218 in the first month of the season, hit better against Wichita State and UCSB to raise their average up by 25 points but have started to have issues hitting once again against some good pitching over the last three weeks and they are only hitting .234 in conference games.  Hawaii has been shutout or held to one run fourteen times and it would make sense for them to try playing more little ball to manufacture some runs but they rarely run and don't bunt much.

After having a good pitching staff last season, it has been a letdown how poorly Hawaii has pitched even with the injuries they have had to deal with.  The Rainbows have held teams to four runs or less only eleven times and are 1-18 when they have allowed five runs or more in a game due to their poor offense.  Hawaii's pitchers are still solid at throwing strikes and are in the top forty in the country in fewest walks per game but they are allowing teams to hit much better than they did in 2012 and their ERA has gone up by over 1 1/2 runs.

 

Offense

  • Park Factor according to Boyd's World – 66 (decreases offense by 34%).  Les Murakami Stadium isn't a big ballpark (325 in the corners, 375 to the alleys, 385 to CF) but plays big due to the wind usually blowing in and the humid air keeps balls from carrying.  There is also lots of foul territory that will turn foul pop-ups into outs.
  • Batting Average – .232 (10th in the Big West, 282nd nationally).  .257 in 2012 (247th nationally).
  • Scoring – 109 (10/289), 3.1 runs per game.  239 (240), 4.3 runs per game in 2011.
  • Home Runs – 2 (10/292).  14 in 2012 (239). 
  • Slugging Percentage – .293 (10/285).  .328 in 2012 (273).
  • On Base Percentage – .299 (10/289).  .348 in 2012 (214)
  • Walks – 99 (6/269), 2.8 per game.  204 in 2012 (126), 3.7 per game.
  • HBP's – 14 (10/294).  55 in 2012 (153).
  • Strikeouts – 216 (5/xx), 6.1 per game.  399 in 2012 (xx), 7.3 per game.
  • Stolen Bases – 13-28 (9/293).  48-66 in 2012 (168). 
  • Sac Bunts – 23 (9/186).  49 in 2012 (153).

 

Infield

Hawaii returned three of their infielders from 2012 at 1B, 2B and SS but the only one who is starting in the same position is at 2B with the SS shifting over to 3B and newcomers taking over at 1B and SS.

C – Soph #39 Trevor Podratz (RH – .237/.312/.278, 0-12-0.  '12 – .250/.351/.388, 5-27-0) was the DH last season and had more power while also being able to focus only on his hitting but he was generating that power by swinging for the fences and striking out about 1/3 of the time with 52 strikeouts.  He has cut down on his strikeouts but still has a below average 7/22 BB/K ratio.  Podratz will usually hit 6th and is third on the team in RBI.  He is only hitting .200 in conference games.  JC transfer Tyler Young (RH – .194 in 31 AB's) is the backup and started the final two games last weekend against Northidge with Podratz nursing a leg injury but he was able to get a couple of AB's in the final game of the series so he should be able to play this weekend.

1B/DH – JC transfer #19 Marc Flores (LH – .234/.311/.346, 1-10-1) beat out returning starter SR #29 Max Duval (RH – .182 in 22 AB's. '12 – .186/.255/.271, 1-18-0), who hit poorly last season.  Flores got off to a poor start and only hit .200 in his first twelve games, got on a hot streak when he hit .385 over the next ten games but has cooled off again and only hit .147 over the last ten games.  Flores has been starting at 1B most of the time and moving over to DH when Duval starts about once every 4-5 games.  He has some pop in his bat and leads the team with nine doubles and will usually be the cleanup hitter.

2B/DH – Soph #5 Stephen Ventimilia (LH – .230/.313/.297, 0-6-5.  '12 – .293/.399/.317, 0-14-14) did a good job of getting on base as a FR and led the team with 37 walks and was second in OBP but was only able to start once in the first twelve games due to injuries.  He hasn't gotten going and his average has been hovering around .200 all season and he was only hitting .185 in conference games before getting three hits in the final game of the Northridge series.  Ventimilia led the team in SB's as a FR and is just about the only threat in the lineup to run and will hit leadoff when he is in the lineup.

2B/DH – FR #7 Andre Real (RH – .238/.284/.297, 0-5-1) has usually been getting some playing time at 2B and DH once a weekend in each spot.  He was playing 2B while Ventimilia was out and went 7-20 in his first five games but has only hit .210 since then.

SS – JC transfer #18 FR Austin Wobrock (LH – .221/.289/.250, 0-3-0) moved right into the lineup due to his defense but his hitting took a while to catch up to D1 pitching and he only hit .169 in the first 22 games.  He started hitting when the schedule turned to conference games and he is hitting .297 against Big West pitching.  Wobrock has very little power with only two extra base hits and will often be asked to bunt and leads the conference with eight SAC's.  He doesn't have much speed and will usually hit the ball on the ground and leads the Big West by hitting into seven DP's.  Wobrock will usually hit ninth.

3B – SR #9 Pi'kea Kitamura (RH – .258/.312/.305, 0-19-2.  '12 – .311/.375/.364, 0-29-4) is one of the few players on the roster who has been around longer than one season and has been getting regular playing time since he was a FR.  He split time between SS and 3B earlier in his career and was the SS in 2012 but has moved back to 3B to make room for Wobrock on defense.  Kitamura hit much better last season and led the team in RBI when he was 1st team All-WAC but has still been able to be productive despite the drop in AVG and is second on the team in RBI.  He only hit .197 in the first sixteen games but has been hitting .313 since then and has 14 RBI in his last 14 games.  Kitamura will be hitting second.

 

Outfield

Hawaii lost two veteran starters in CF and RF from 2012 and shifted their LF over to CF with newcomers and reserves from 2012 taking their turns in the corner OF spots. 

LF – JC transfers #12 Adam Hurley (LH – .212/.264/.282, 1-6-0), #3 Kalei Hanawahine (LH – .269/.310/.358, 0-7-1) and #8 Jerry Kleman (RH – .164 in 55 AB's) have all been taking turns in LF with Hurley starting six times and Kleman and Hanawahine starting three times each since conference play started with whoever is in the lineup usually hitting seventh.  None of them have much power but Hanawahine was the hot hitter in the final two games against Northridge when he went 5-7 to increase his average by 50 points so he will probably start a couple of games this weekend.

CF – Soph #2 Kaeo Aliviado (LH – .237/.331/.314, 0-7-2.  '12 – .239/.298/.289, 1-15-2) started in LF as a FR but has moved over to CF as the only returner in the OF.  He is the leadoff hitter and leads the team in walks and has an excellent 16/11 BB/K ratio.  Aliviado was only hitting in the .230's in the first seventeen games, got on a hot streak when he hit .476 over the next six games but cooled off again and has only hit .122 over the last twelve games.

RF – JR #4 Conner George (RH – .298/.356/.383, 0-14-0.  '12 – .161 in 31 AB's) rarely played in 2012 but has been one of the players having a decent season and is the only player hitting over .270 and is second on the team in RBI.  Like most of the team, he got off to a terrible start and was only hitting in the .220's in the first sixteen games but went on a nine game hitting streak and batted .424 before cooling off on Hawaii's seven game trip to the mainland when he went 3-23 at Irvine, UCLA and Cal Poly but heated up again last weekend when he went 5-11.  George will usually hit fifth. 

DH – Flores, Real, Ventimilia and Kleman have been splitting time at DH with Real's four starts leading the team over the last fourteen games.

 

Defense

Fielding % – .979 (2/12) with 29 errors.  2012 – .972 (62) with 61 errors.  Hawaii's defense is helped by playing on a turf surface so there aren't too many bad hops to deal with.  Wobrock is one of the best defensive players in the conference, has yet to make an error and the Rainbows are second in DP's and along with Kitamura gives Hawaii one of the best left sides of the infield in the Big West.  Ventimilia and Real have been solid at 2B.  Flores is a big guy with limited range at 1B.  The OF defense is average at best.

Stolen Base Attempts – 43-52 (7/xx).  2012 – 48-66 (xx).  The catching platoon for Hawaii was average last season but hasn't been as good with runners going 28-32 against Podratz.  Young has been a little better (13-18) but isn't nearly the hitter that Podratz is.

WP's/PB's Allowed – 29 (5/xx).  2012 – 41 (3/xx).  The catchers for Hawaii have been decent at blocking pitches.

 

Pitching

  • ERA – 4.90 (7/208).  3.29 in 2012 (37).
  • AVG – .276 (6/164).  .259 in 2012 (69).
  • HR – 12 (5/xx).  21 HR in 2012 (xx).
  • Walks – 104 (3/38), 2.9 BB/9 IP.  155 (4), 2.2 BB/9 IP in 2012.
  • HBP – 39 (4/xx).  57 in 2012 (xx).
  • OBP – .343 (5/xx).  .348 in 2012 (xx).
  • SLG – .378 (6/xx).  .328 in 2012 (xx).
  • WHIP – 1.35 (5/109). 1.22 in 2012 (27).
  • Strikeouts – 210 (7/215), 5.9 K/9 IP.  290 (269), 5.3 K/9 IP in 2012.

 

Starters 

Hawaii figured their starting rotation could be strong with the expected return of two of their weekend starters but one of them, Jarrett Arakawa, was lost for the season due to an arm injury.  The rotation has been decent but has started to have issues recently against Irvine, Cal Poly and Northridge with the staff ERA going up by about half a run over the last ten games. 

Soph #31 Scott Squier (LHP – 0-6, 3.49 ERA, 1 save, 10 apps, 8 GS, 49 IP, 38 H, 18 BB, 41 K, .217 AVG, 2 HR, 13 HBP, 0 WP, 11-11 SB.  '12 – 3-4, 3.50 ERA, 15 apps, 14 GS, 64 IP, 64 H, 30 BB, 55 K, .261 AVG, 1 HR, 13 HBP, 5 WP, 18-22 SB) is 6'6" and was a 19th round draft pick out of HS and is ranked among the top prospects for the 2014 draft in the conference.  He is long and lanky and still working on his mechanics with his low 90's fastball, curveball and changeup, resulting in having control issues and also having trouble with keeping runners close after he has walked them or hit them (he leads the Big West in HBP's) because he is tough to hit and is second in the conference in AVG.  Squier pitched well early in the season as a FR but wore down as the season went on, seeing his ERA go up by a run and WAC batters hitting .330 against him.  He has been very inconsistent, throwing seven scoreless innings against Rice, allowing one run in nine innings against Gonzaga and holding UCLA to three runs (2 ER) on two hits in seven innings.  Squier pitched his way out of the rotation with poor starts against Wichita State and UCSB (six runs in 7 2/3 IP) before pitching his way back into it at UCLA and with a strong two inning save at Cal Poly.  He reverted back to struggling against Northridge when he allowed three runs on six hits in 4 IP.  Squier has pitched in some tough luck with Hawaii's poor offense and leads the Big West in losses.

JC transfer #33 Matt Cooper (RHP – 2-5, 3.38 ERA, 11 apps, 7 GS, 59 IP, 52 H, 11 BB, 53 K, .235 AVG, 3 HR, 2 HBP, 4 WP, 3-5 SB) in lots of ways is the exact opposite of Squier.  He isn't tall, isn't a hard thrower, has excellent control and does a good job of holding runners on.  Cooper started the season working out of the bullpen and pitched his way into the rotation with a 6 1/3 inning relief appearance against Rice when he allowed no runs on one hit with eight strikeouts.  Cooper had two excellent starts heading into conference play when he picked up both of his wins with a CG SHO against Gonzaga and 7 2/3 scoreless innings against Wichita State.  He has had issues in most of his Big West starts, going 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA in four starts, allowing four runs in seven innings to UCSB, six runs (3 ER) in three innings at Irvine, throwing well in a CG loss at Cal Poly (8 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) before getting roughed up by Northridge when he allowed seven runs in 5 1/3 IP.  When teams have had success against Cooper, they have gotten to him early but when he gets in a groove he is tough to hit (seventh in the Big West in AVG) and will put hitters away (seventh in the conference in strikeouts).

SR #13 Corey MacDonald (RHP – 4-4, 4.11 ERA, 9 GS, 66 IP, 64 H, 19 BB, 38 K, .267 AVG, 1 HR, 4 HBP, 8 WP, 4-5 SB.  '12 – 1-0, 6.23 ERA, 8 2/3 IP) barely pitched as a JC transfer in 2012 but is the only pitcher to make a start every weekend and has been a workhorse who is sixth in the conference in innings and has pitched into the seventh inning in his last eight starts.  He doesn't have the stuff that the first two starters do and relies on keeping the ball and getting hitters to pound the ball into the ground with a sinking fastball and slider and is fourth in the Big West in wild pitches.  MacDonald pitches to contact and allows the defense behind him to do the work and allowed two runs in two of his starts, three runs twice and four runs three times before struggling the last two weeks at Cal Poly (six runs in seven innings) and against Northridge last weekend (nine runs, 7 ER, in eight innings).

SR #15 Connor Little (RHP – 1-5, 4.37 ERA, 9 apps, 8 GS, 60 IP, 67 H, 12 BB, 35 K, .294 AVG, 3 HR, 7 HBP, 3 WP, 8-10 SB.  '12 – Medical redshirt.  '11 – 4-4, 5.18 ERA, 12 apps, 10 GS, 49 IP) threw at least 35 innings in each of his first three seasons before missing 2012 with an ankle injury.  He was in the weekend rotation for each of the first eight series before pitching out of the bullpen last weekend when he had as strong relief outing, allowing one run in five innings.  Little isn't a hard thrower and relies on good control and pitching to contact to allow his defense to do the work.  He had strong starts against Rice (7 1/3 IP, 2 R, 1 ER) and Wichita State (8 IP, 1 R) but allowed at least four runs in his other six starts and was taken out of the rotation after allowing six runs in six innings at Cal Poly.

 

Relievers

Hawaii had four solid options out of the bullpen in 2012 who combined for fourteen saves, including the closer who had eight saves and an ERA of 1.14 but three of those pitchers have moved on.  The Rainbows have been searching for answers and haven't been finding any with the relievers combining for a 7.23 ERA.  Needless to say, Hawaii is hoping that their starters can pitch deep into games and whichever one of the starters isn't in the rotation this weekend will likely be the first one into the game.

SR #34 John Flinn (RHP – 1-3, 8.84 ERA, 1 save, 16 apps, 19 IP, 26 H, 10 BB, 7 K, .325 AVG, 1 HR, 3 HBP, 3 WP, 4-4 SB.  '12 – 2-1, 4.26 ERA, 11 apps, 3 GS, 32 IP, 32 H, 11 BB, 19 K, .271 AVG, 2 HR, 8 HBP, 6 WP, 2-3 SB) is among the conference leaders in appearances despite usually being ineffective. 

Soph #41 Lawrence Chew (LHP – 0-1, 7.45 ERA, 14 apps, 19 IP, 23 H, 10 BB, 10 K, .295 AVG, 0 HR, 3 HBP, 1 WP, 3-5 SB.  '12 – 2-3, 2.40 ERA, 22 apps, 3 GS, 45 IP, 34 H, 6 BB, 28 K, .214 AVG, 3 HR, 4 HBP, 1 WP, 1-2 SB) was much more effective as a FR but has struggled with his command this season. 

JC transfer #24 Scott Kuzminsky (RHP – 0-0, 4.85 ERA, 9 apps, 13 IP, 16 H, 6 BB, 8 K, .327 AVG, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 0 WP, 3-3 SB).

RHP's Max Duval and Bryan Burgher have each made four appearances and have combined for a 6.75 ERA in 9 1/3 IP.

 

Outlook

Fullerton has been one of the more consistent teams on the west coast and has yet to lose a series in ten weeks with six sweeps.  The Titans sometimes have issues scoring in a game but they have continued to stay disciplined at the plate and with the good defense and excellent that they have they have run off three ten game winning streaks and lead the nation with nineteen road wins. 

Hawaii is usually a tough place to play for visitors due to the long trip to get there, the turf playing surface, the very favorable conditions for pitchers and the tendency for teams to sometimes mix in vacation and games.  The Rainbows haven't been nearly as good at home as they usually are and are only 6-17 this season and have been swept three times.

Fullerton has been feasting on pitchers who aren't effective, which Hawaii's haven't been lately, and they have been bringing down the hammer when the opportunity presents itself.  Conversely, this looks like a mismatch when Hawaii is at the plate because they have one of the worst offenses in the country while the Titans have one of the better pitching staffs.

As long as Fullerton approaches this as a business trip and not a chance to have some fun in the sun, this series has sweep written all over it.  The Titans would have to have an off game while Hawaii would have to play better than they have at any time this season for the Rainbows to win a game this weekend.

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