Monday, February 18, 2013

Titan connection

This blog post is the first of our regular updates on the three Victoria HarbourCats who are currently playing for the Cal State Fullerton (CSF) Titans. Although the Titans’ goal is to play in the College World Series (June 15-26), only eight teams will succeed in that quest. No matter how the CSF season ends, our intrepid blogger Darth will be keeping us up-to-date on the contributions made by our players along the way. We hope that our series of CSF blog posts will give you an interesting look at our HarbourCats before you come out to see them play at Royal Athletic Park this summer.

Due to the nature of the WCL, there are a lot of future players who are just now kicking off the US college baseball season. One of these teams - the #19 ranked Cal State Fullerton Titans - has 3.5 HarbourCats playing for them this year. Three of these recruits are freshmen - LHP Bryan Conant, RHP Joe Navilhon and INF David Olmedo-Barrera - and the .5 is a senior...for Woodrow Wilson HS in Long Beach, CA (SS Timmy Richards) who has committed to CSF for next year.

In this opening weekend of NCAA action, CSF went a clean 3-0 at home, defeating USC 3-2 in their season opener and then sweeping Nebraska in a doubleheader 10-5 and 9-0. On Sunday, they travelled to CSU Bakersfield and grabbed an 8-2 win, preserving their perfect 4-0 record. As for the "BabyCats", they will most likely see limited action given they are freshmen on a very strong team. Both pitchers did, however, get into the 2nd game against Nebraska, each pitching a scoreless inning. Navilhon pitched a perfect 7th getting a strikeout in the 3 batters he faced, while Conant allowed 1 hit and struck out 2 to close it down.

RHP Joe Navilhon
LHP Bryan Conant

It will be interesting to see how they use these 2 pitchers in relief but I suspect it will be spot duty in these back to back games to start. Hopefully, they will keep up the solid work and earn some more meaningful innings as the season progresses but with such a strong CSF staff, this will be tough. In fact, the opening day winner - Thomas Eshelman (who played for Klamath Falls last summer) - was ranked the #10 Top prospect in the WCL by Baseball America, and is himself a freshman. He will be entertaining to watch at RAP, given CSF gave him the ball on opening day which was, by the way, the first time a freshman pitched on the first game of the season at CSF since 1987.

David Olmedo-Barrera did not get a plate appearance in any of these 4 games and as with the pitchers, I expect he will see very limited playing time unless CSF gets hit with a serious injury bug. Even then, they are a pretty deep team so cracking this line-up on a regular basis will be tough this year. On the bright side, here's to hoping that David comes to Victoria this summer all fired up and ready to show CSF how he can light it up for the hometown 'Cats.

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