Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Titan connection - Feb 26 edition

Bryan Conant in action against Pepperdine
Cal State Fullerton maintained their perfect record over the past week with a win at Pepperdine and then a three game sweep at TCU to bring their record to 8-0. This bumped them up to #17 in the Baseball America rankings and has people talking about a deep postseason run already.

As for our HarbourCats, only Bryan Conant saw any action last week, as he pitched 1 and 2/3 (it's just mathematically WRONG to say 1.2...that is 1 and 1/5!) innings in the 6-3 win over Pepperdine. Conant entered the game in the 5th inning with a man on 3rd, two out and the Titans leading 5-1. He managed to get the strikeout and came back to pitch the 6th where he gave up his first extra base hit so far this season - a double that eventually scored later in the inning on a groundout. Conant started the 7th with a strikeout and then he issued a walk before being replaced.

Being a freshman, Conant will have to take every inning as an opportunity to show his stuff. It seems that both he and Joe Navilhon will be in a middle relief role and will be battling for precious innings with a host of other relief pitchers. Of the nine total relievers who have gotten any work this year, the biggest "workhorse" has pitched 5 and 1/3 innings. Conant has pitched a total of 2 and 2/3 so he is right around the middle of the usage graph.

The Titans play eight games in ten days starting on March 1st with a three game set against Oregon, so here's to hoping the HarbourCats get to flex their muscles in the next week and a half. There will be lots of innings in the coming days, so I'm thinking it looks good to see some friendly faces in the next few Cal Sate Fullerton box scores.

Matt Cooper
  • With the possible exception of Nick Pivetta’s complete-game shutout on February 16th, Matt Cooper’s outing on Friday was perhaps the most impressive performance by a HarbourCat so far this season. Cooper, who pitched the last two seasons at Bellevue Community College, entered a scoreless game for the University of Hawaii in the top of the eighth inning. He then proceeded to throw 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball against a tough Rice University squad. Cooper only gave up one hit, walked two and struck out eight in a very impressive relief appearance. Although the game was still scoreless when he was removed from the game in the top of the 15th inning, the University of Hawaii ended up losing the game 2-0 in 17 innings.
  • Cooper now has an ERA of 0.00 for the season in his 10 2/3 innings of relief. He also has a spectacular 0.66 WHIP. His University of Hawaii teammate, Scott Kuzminsky, will also be suiting up for the HarbourCats this summer. Kuzminsky has 5.40 ERA in his two brief relief appearances so far in 2013.
  • Four teams took part in the Kleberg Bank College Classic in Corpus Christi this weekend, including the University of Oklahoma and the University of New Mexico. The Sooners earned the tournament championship based on their three straight victories. The wins raised their season record to 9-0, and the Sooners remain the 18th-ranked team in the country according to Baseball America.
  • Two guys who will be a big part of the HarbourCats offense this summer, Anthony Hermelyn and Alex Real, faced off against one another on Sunday. Real hit his first home run of the season in the game, but Hermelyn’s Oklahoma Sooners knocked off Real’s UNM Lobos by a score of 10-8.
  • Alex Real had a solid tournament offensively, going 4-for-14 with a homer, two runs scored and an RBI. He raised his average on the season to a respectable .250.
  • Anthony Hermelyn struggled at the plate on the weekend and went 1-for-8 with an RBI. He’s now hitting .200 with five RBI on the season.
  • Hermelyn’s teammate and fellow HarbourCat Justin Burba is still waiting for an opportunity to show what he can do. Burba was used once on the weekend as a pinch runner and he scored a run. So far he is 0-for-3 in 2013.

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