There are probably a number of you out there that have been reading about this series against Cal State Fullerton and do not understand the magnitude of it, if only because the Titans are a non-factor in just about every other sport. But think of the football team playing LSU at Amon G. Carter or the basketball team playing Kentucky at Daniel-Meyer: Fullerton is that big a powerhouse in college baseball. They've won 4 national titles, been to the College World Series 16 times and have missed the NCAA Tournament just twice since 1987.
The Titans come to Fort Worth for this weekend's series with a 2-2 record and a #12 national ranking. They'll send their All-America pitcher, junior Noe Ramirez, to the mound tonight. Ramirez was 12-1 with a 2.54 ERA and 119 K's last season, and struck out 5 in 7 innings giving up just one run to pick up a win in his first and only start so far this year. The much antcipated Friday night showdown between he and Matt Purke won't happen, though- as David Peterson of HornedFrogSports.com explains, Purke will start Sunday instead and Kyle Winkler will pitch tonight.
On offense, Fullerton is led by outfielder/DH Carlos Lopez, who hit .354 with 7 HR and 51 RBI a year ago. He's off to a good start to 2011, too, having gone 8-for-17 over the first weekend of the season. Other key contributors to the Titan lineup are junior first baseman/pitcher Nick Ramirez and junior outfielder/pitcher Tyler Pill, who will be looking to shake off a slow start much like some key members of the Frog lineup.
Speaking of the TCU batting order, they will be without sophomore catcher/outfielder/DH Josh Elander this weekend, as Baseball America confirms in their preview of the series that he is still recovering from the deep hip bruise he suffered diving for a foul ball last Saturday.
Last weekend, as I'm sure you know by now, saw new single-game and single-series attendance records at Lupton Stadium. Both of those records are in jeopardy of falling again this weekend, so be prepared for parking to be tough and long lines at the concession stands.