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.
May 7, 2004
Welcome Back: Pilittere, Titans
It’s no secret that I have not posted a
journal in a while, and it’s no secret that the Titans struggled to a mediocre
record out of the gates, but the tides have turned. "I’m Back," and the "Titans
It’s time to put graduation on the back burner and talk about some Big West
Conference baseball. Since my last entry, the Titans have played about 25 games,
but in this journal I will only focus on the Big West Conference matchups.
Easter weekend featured the Titans’ conference opener against the University of
The mindset of our club was very focused on this 21-game conference "world
series." We were anxious to rid ourselves of our mediocrity throughout the
preseason. If we perform in conference play, nobody will even remember what
happened in the preseason.
The Tigers are a new-look ball club managed by former big leaguer and world
champion Ed Sprague. Also, the boys were excited to get the opportunity to play
in a minor league facility. The Tigers’ home field is also home to the Class-A
affiliate of the Texas Rangers - the Stockton Ports.
We quickly tamed the Tigers with a convincing series sweep, in which we scored
at least 13 runs in all three games. The Titans were once again led by stellar
and consistent pitching performances by senior Jason Windsor and sophomore Ricky
Romero. The offensive attack was fueled by freshman Clark Hardman, who notched
10 hits on the weekend.
BIG WEST: (3-0)
The second conference series pitted the Titans at home against the 2002 Big West
champs - the Cal State Northridge Matadors. The Matadors arrived with the most
glimmering of overall records, but nonetheless, this is conference play, and we
had a clear motive for each game no matter the opponent.
This series sweep would be no cakewalk, as the Titans pulled out two late-inning
victories. In Game 1, Jason Windsor remained dominant, hurling a nine-inning,
two-run gem. Junior DH Felipe Garcia was the offensive hero, with four hits
including the game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth.
The very "caliente" Ricky Romero took the hill in Game 2 for the Titans. Romero
at best had his "B game," but his "B game" is still good enough to beat anyone
in the country.
The Titans cruised to 10-3 victory with sophomore second baseman Justin Turner
headlining the offensive attack.
In conference play, Game 3 is the biggest - it determines whether you take a
three-game lead or a one-game lead. A three-game setback or a one-game setback.
The Titans used a different style of baseball to beat the Matadors in the third
game. We captured the sweep on home runs by sophomore Sergio Pedroza, junior
Kurt Suzuki and myself.
BIG WEST: (6-0)
We found ourselves in a tie with rival Long Beach State atop the conference
standings heading into a big road series against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.
Santa Barbara presented a solid lefty-loaded lineup and also featured one of the
best fielding percentages in the country. We knew that we could not overlook the
Gauchos, especially with former Titan and current Santa Barbara pitching coach
Dan Ricabal leading the staff.
In Game 1, it was the Jason Windsor show. I have never seen him pitch better,
as he fired a complete-game shutout in a very hitter-friendly ballpark.
Saturday starter Ricky Romero has a certain superstition that he performs before
every start. He must eat pancakes for breakfast. If our hotel does not serve
them, he or the coaching staff will find them for him.
Well, oddly enough, the hotel served pancakes before Game 2, so we knew we were
in good shape. Romero kept the Gauchos silent, allowing only one run over eight
Sophomore Danny Dorn and junior Felipe Garcia led the offensive attack with
three hits and a homer apiece.
The third game was one to be forgotten. With only 21 conference games scheduled,
it is extremely important that a team not get complacent or give anything away.
We took a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the eighth, only to see our bullpen
implode. The Gauchos put the game and the Titans away with an eight-run eighth. Losing on Sunday is not a fun experience, especially on the road. It makes for
an extremely tense ride home.
BIG WEST: (8-1)
April 30- May 2
With Long Beach recording yet another series sweep, we found ourselves one game
back in the conference race. Heading into Fullerton was a solid Cal Poly San
Luis Obispo club.
The Mustangs of Cal Poly are loaded with many experienced players. As a group,
the Titans are very aware that our last four series pits us against the upper
echelon teams of the Big West.
Game 1 was a classic battle, with Jason Windsor still standing as he recorded
his third consecutive complete-game victory.
Junior Kurt Suzuki iced the Mustangs with a bottom of the ninth two-out single
to win the contest for the Titans.
Ricky Romero. Need I say more?
We seem to hit on all cylinders when this hard-throwing southpaw takes the hill.
Game 2 was a barn-burner as the Titans put up 27 runs on 25 hits to take the
Senior Mike Martinez got his fourth start of the year in Game 3 and tried to
nail down a series sweep. He struggled early, but became untouchable from the
fifth inning on. The Titans’ offense was paced by Kurt Suzuki who went 3 for 3
and finished the weekend 11 for 13. Titans sweep the Mustangs.
BIG WEST (11-1)
Oh yeah, did I mention that the ol’ Dirtbags were swept by those pesky Gauchos
from Santa Barbara?
This weekend, the Titans will welcome the Highlanders of UC Riverside. The
Titans will look to settle the score, as they were swept by the Highlanders just
one year ago. Now, with a two-game lead in the conference race, the Titans
remain focused on one goal: the Big West crown.
Team Meeting Sets Tone for Week (3/15/04)
Texas, Here We Come (3/8/04)
Catching Up Behind the Dish (2/26/04)
On the Road Again (2/18/04)
Silence is Golden (2/10/04)
(photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton Media Relations Office)