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. 26, 2004
Catching Up Behind the Dish
The bulk of our road schedule continued as we headed
into the Lone Star State to play a three game set with the University of Houston
this past weekend. I had been to UH once before in 2001, which happened to be
my first road trip as a Titan.
This would be our first road trip via plane this
season, so most of the guys were excited to take a break from the recent trend
of the never-ending bus rides.
Upon arrival in Houston, we quickly changed and
headed to UH’s superb facility for practice. Practice was a blast. Largely due
in part to a special challenge presented during batting practice.
This past week, the coaching staff has emphasized the
mentality to compete and not give in to a situation because it is difficult.
Well, a difficult situation was presented, and his name was pitching coach Dave
Serrano. Coach Serrano stepped behind the L-screen and came right after each
hitter. We tightened up our belts and accepted the challenge, which included
some taunting when succeeded against him. Due to a long day of travel, we were
all starved. After practice, we stopped at Sonic and devoured burgers and tater
tots. We washed it all down with some traditional cherry limeades.
Friday marked the first start of the year for Titans
All-American pitcher Jason Windsor. It started rocky for Jason as Cougars DH
Brett Cooley crushed a hanging changeup over the boards, giving the Cougars an
early 3-0 lead. Windsor would not allow another run as he pitched 5.1 strong
innings. The Titans’ offense failed to get the timely hits and lost another
road game 3-2.
I like to keep these journals team-related instead of
personal, but Saturday was a special day for me. If you don’t know, I have
switched positions this season from catcher to first base, due in large part to
the abundance of talent behind the plate. It was a hard transition at first,
but now I am making progress each and every day. I received a phone call from
Coach Horton in my hotel room about 2:30 p.m., and he said “Shake the rust off,
we’re gonna put you behind the plate tonight.”
I was overjoyed, especially because Ricky Romero –
one of my favorite Titan pitchers to catch – was on the hill. The night could
not have turned out any better. Ricky made it easy for me behind the dish, as
he was dialed in from pitch one through pitch 115, recording a complete-game
shutout. I felt like it was just he and I out there all night. No matter what
sign I gave him, he agreed and made numerous hitters look silly. Ricky
certainly put the icing on the cake for an already special night for me. Titans
Now, we had a chance to win our first road series of
the season. Sophomore lefty Ryan Schreppel, who has had a rather shaky start,
was on the bump for the Titans. Ryan turned in his best performance of the year
as he pitched a strong seven innings, allowing just three earned runs.
Schreppel’s outing gave the Titans’ offense a chance to do some damage.
Sophomore outfielder Danny Dorn fueled the offense with four hits en route to a
series ending 9-4 victory.
Finally a home series! The Titans return home this
weekend and host the annual Kia Bash that includes teams Oklahoma, Georgia Tech,
and Southern Cal.
On the Road Again (2/18/04)
Silence is Golden (2/10/04)
(photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton Media Relations Office)