College : : Story
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fullerton Regional preview

Kendall Rogers        


Team Conference Record Berth Last NCAA appearance
1. Cal State Fullerton Big West 48-8 Automatic 2012
2. Arizona State Pac-12 35-20 At-large 2011
3. New Mexico Mountain West 37-20 At-large 2012
4. Columbia Ivy League 27-19 Automatic 2008
Cal State Fullerton
1. CS Fullerton
2. Arizona St.  

3. New Mexico

4. Columbia
Cal State Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook has done a masterful job with his club this season and hopes to advance to an NCAA Super Regional this weekend. The Titans have one of the top rotations in America, amazingly with two freshmen right-handers in Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza. Eshelman has a has a masterful 1.63 ERA with 71 strikeouts and just two walks in 99 2/3 innings of work, while Garza has a 2.08 ERA with 80 strikeouts and 16 walks in 99 2/3 innings of work. Also worth noting, fellow weekend starter Grahamm Wiest isn't far behind with a 3.48 ERA in 95 2/3 innings. He, too, walks few betters with just 13 for the season. Bullpen-wise, the Titans have an outstanding closer in two-way star Michael Lorenzen, while Koby Gauna, Tyler Peitzmeier and Willie Kuhl are all solid arms. Offensively, the Titans have several players who can scare you. Lorenzen took a huge step offensively this spring and is hitting .335 with seven homers and 50 RBIs, while Carlos Lopez is having a great year, hitting .344 with four homers and 34 RBIs. Also worth noting, sophomore outfielder Austin Diemer is having a surprisingly solid campaign with a .333 average and 12 RBIs, while third baseman Matt Chapman is only hitting .284, but has good power potential. Fullerton is one of the nation's more balanced clubs.
Arizona State
The Sun Devils hope to get back to their old ways this weekend out at Fullerton. ASU got off to a hot start this spring, but has been much more beatable down the stretch. The big key to the weekend is getting off to a good start with imposing right-handed pitcher Trevor Williams. Williams has been hittable this spring, and has a 4.17 ERA in 103 2/3 innings of work, along with just 77 strikeouts and 23 walks. Freshman Ryan Kellogg has been solid this season and has a nice arm, along with a 3.26 ERA in 96 2/3 innings of work, while right-handed pitcher Zak Miller is in the rotation now and has a 4.56 ERA in 49 1/3 innings, along with 22 strikeouts and 23 walks. In essence, the weekend rotation must rise to the occasion, as the Sun Devils have a pair of solid relievers to turn things over to in crafty Matt Dunbar and power-armed Ryan Burr, who has a 2.18 ERA and 11 saves in 41 1/3 innings, and consistently sits in the mid-90s. Offensively, Michael Benjamin and Kasey Coffman are the leaders, Benjamin hitting .349 with eight homers and 44 RBIs, and Coffman hitting .335 with seven homers and 43 RBIs. From a power standpoint, I'd also keep an eye on Trever Allen, who's hitting .304 with nine homers and 48 RBIs. ASU has the potential to be very good this weekend, but it doesn't have a lot of room for error.
New Mexico
The Lobos certainly leave something to be desired at the plate at times, but they've got one of the nation's premier offensive lineups, and certainly one of the nation's premier hitters in DJ Peterson. Peterson will be a high first-round draft pick, and it's warranted when you consider he's hitting .411 with 24 doubles, four triples, 18 homers and 70 RBIs. He has a fabulous .525 on-base percentage. Also keep an eye on hard-hitting catcher Mitchell Garver, who's hitting .387 with 21 doubles, five triples, five homers and 65 RBIs, while Luke Campbell is hitting .382 with seven homers and 49 RBIs and Chase Harris and Jose Melendez have a combined eight homers and 89 RBIs. While there's no doubt this is a very good offensive club, the big key to the weekend is the pitching staff, which certainly can be very rocky at times. UNM has a staff earned-run average of 5.03, but does possess a premium arm in hard-throwing Sam Wolff. Wolff has a 3.05 ERA in 85 2/3 innings, along with 68 strikeouts and 37 walks. The rest of the rotation must rise to the occasion, while the UNM bullpen has some quality arms in Gabe Aguilar (2.55, 27 apps), Josh Walker (3.91, 28 apps) and Hobie McClain (4.44, 30 apps), among others. Again, the key to the weekend is the rotation.
Columbia isn't exactly a postseason mainstay, but it looks to make a significant statement this weekend out at Fullerton. The Lions bring a tough pitching staff into the weekend with starting pitchers David Speer, Tim Giel and Joey Donino leading the way. Speer has a 2.17 ERA in 66 1/3 innings of work, along with 63 strikeouts and 15 walks, Giel has a 2.73 ERA in 59 1/3 innings of work, along with 47 strikeouts and 13 walks and Donino has a 3.06 ERA in 50 innings, along with 61 strikeouts and 17 walks, obviously a strong rotation. Meanwhile, out of the bullpen, keep an eye on Kevin Roy, Alex Black, Mike Weisman and Thomas Crispi, who have all tallied impressive numbers this season. From an offensive standpoint, this club only is hitting .268 this season, but keep an eye on Alex Black and Aaron Silbar. Black is hitting a team-high .320 with eight doubles, seven homers and 29 RBIs, while Silbar is hitting .314 with 22 RBIs. Obviously, the Lions will need more offensive production to make a statement in the Fullerton Regional this weekend.
Cal State Fullerton has been very consistent this spring, and that makes a possible upset hard to fathom at this point, especially when you consider Arizona State and New Mexico haven't exactly been fantastic on the mound. With that said, both the Sun Devils and Lobos could pose a threat if they decide to pitch. Trevor Williams has big-time stuff, but is inconsistent, while the Lobos have a true ace in talented pitcher Sam Wolff. However, they'll need him against the Sun Devils in the opener. Again, that means someone in the Lobos rotation will need to step up, making it much more likely ASU can make a run in the tournament. Columbia has a nice trio of starting pitchers, but it's hard to see those guys making a run in this tournament against such an offensive field.


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