P.J. Pilittere is a fifth-year senior
catcher at Cal State Fullerton. He capped an outstanding 2003 season with a spot
on the College World Series all-tournament team by hitting .500 (6-12) with
three extra-base hits and three RBI in four games. A native of Walnut, Calif.,
Pilittere is a broadcast journalism major and hopes to pursue a career in
television broadcasting. He will provide weekly insight on the Titans' program.
Feb. 18, 2004
On the Road Again
Fresh off a sweep of UNLV,
we prepared for the Arizona Wildcats. I was especially excited because this
would be my first experience playing against Arizona.
When we travel, we are
forced to cut the roster down to 25 players, which is difficult because we are
very deep at each position, and every Titan deserves to go. Making the so-called
travel squad certainly lifted the intensity level of practice this past week.
On Thursday, we loaded the
bus for a grueling 7½-hour bus ride to Tucson. For a long ride such as this one,
a player must have the necessities: movies, music, magazines and lots of junk
food. As we inhaled our Philly cheese steak sandwiches, we watched Radio
and Bruce Almighty.
We had a little surprise
once we finally arrived in Tucson. It was cold! It was 43 degrees with stifling
winds. We thought to ourselves: “Aren’t we in the desert?” Most of the team was
tired after the long bus ride, so many turned in for bed rather early. Even
after all the snacks, juniors Joe Turgeon, Kurt Suzuki and I were still hungry.
We had an outstanding dinner at Macaroni Grill, which was followed by some
intense Tiger Woods Golf on Play Station 2 back at the hotel.
The excitement level was
mounting as we pulled into Frank Sancet Field Friday afternoon. The facility was
beautiful, but it was an extremely offensive ballpark. The wind blew out to all
fields, and the infield was the fastest I’d ever seen in my college career.
We picked up right where we
left off last weekend and built a 7-0 lead after 1½ innings. The Cats
exploited many free bases allowed from sophomore Ryan Schreppel and answered
back with a five-spot. Jason Windsor entered the game and silenced the
Wildcats’ offense for four innings, but was forced to come out due to a 50-pitch
count. Once Windsor was gone, the Arizona attack was re-awakened, and the
Wildcats held on for an 11-8 series opening win. This was the first time in my
career that we lost a game in which we were winning by seven runs.
Saturday did not fare much
better for the Titans, as the Wildcat bats came out swinging. Sophomore lefty
Ricky Romero pounded strikes, but got hit hard. The Cats took a 9-1 lead into
the eighth, the lone Titan run coming on a solo blast in the first by yours
truly. In the top of the eighth the Titan offensive attack was on the prowl as
we punched back with five runs, cutting the lead to 9-6. It was not enough to
overtake Arizona as it added an insurance run and took Game 2 10-6.
In my previous journal, I
stated that Sunday games are definite attitude days. Well this past Sunday was
even more magnified as such. The Titans were on the verge of getting swept in
their first two road series of 2004. This game could be classified as a
heavyweight title fight as both teams got up off the ground and punched back the
entire afternoon. Over the last four innings we began to find our team
personality, which was amazing to be a part of. Mike Martinez nailed down the
win as we salvaged the third game 12-10.
I was really proud of the
way my teammates battled while staring adversity in the face on Sunday. If we
can carry the mentality from the last four innings of Sunday’s ballgame to the
rest of our games, it will be a very special season.
This weekend, we hit the
road again as we travel to the University of Houston for a three-game set. We
are looking to improve on our 1-5 record on the road.
Silence is Golden (2/10/04)
(photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton Media Relations Office)