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Titan Senior P.J. Pilittere on Jered Weaver: "...Every Guy In Our Lineup Thinks They Can Beat Him"


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Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at


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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Titan Senior P.J. Pilittere on Jered Weaver: "...Every Guy In Our Lineup Thinks They Can Beat Him"

From the Daily Titan (the full article is here):

"Think big.

Aunt Bertha is big, but not this big.

Cal State Fullerton versus Long Beach State in a three-game series this weekend at Blair Field for the Big West Conference that's big.

The Titans head into the series with a two-game lead over the No. 8 ranked team in the country.

"This is for the full bag of marbles," said first base coach Chad Baum. "We all thought it would come down to this weekend."

And it has.

"There were a lot of people when league started that thought this series coming up wouldn't mean anything because of [the team's poor start]," said head coach George Horton. "We worked awful hard to get back in this position and if anybody isn't looking forward to [this series] then there's something wrong with them."

Here's the Titans' scenario: win one game and their first conference title since 2001 is theirs. Simple, right?

Well, Fullerton will have to beat Jered Weaver, Cesar Ramos or Jason Vargas to do so.

The 49ers' big three have combined for a 31-8 record and a 2.24 ERA.

The toughest task for Titan hitters will come Friday night against Weaver, who is considered the best pitcher in college baseball.

He is 14-0 with a 1.27 ERA, 171 strikeouts and 14 walks in 113.1 innings pitched while allowing 16 earned runs and 55 hits. Weaver has held opponents to a paltry .142 batting average.

To put Weaver's season in perspective, compare it with Mark Prior's 2001 season, considered by many to be the best in college baseball history.

He went 15-1 with a 1.69 ERA, 202 strikeouts and 18 walks surrendered. Prior allowed a .201 batting average to opposing hitters.

"We're not intimidated at all [by Weaver]," said Titan senior P.J. Pilittere. "He has a good arm and we're going to have to be on our best game to win, but every guy in our lineup thinks they can beat him."

The 49ers will need Weaver's best performance to keep pace with the Titans.

"Our backs are to the wall and we have to sweep to win the conference," said Long Beach State first baseman Mike Hofius. "That was a big goal for us coming into the season. I like our chances. They feel that they can sweep us and we feel that we can sweep them also."

Hofius is one of the 49ers to look out for offensively. He leads the team with 42 RBIs and shares the team-high with four home runs.

The series should be a classic match-up between the teams' strengths. Fullerton comes into the weekend scoring 7.72 runs per game compared to Long Beach's 5.59, a difference of 2.13.

On the other hand, Long Beach boasts a 2.68 team ERA while the Titans own a 4.04 ERA.

"We're confident," said Ricky Romero, Fullerton's probable starting pitcher for Saturday night. "I'm positive we're going to bring the title back to CSUF."

That positive attitude may not last long amidst the negative atmosphere the Titans will be faced with this weekend at Blair Field. The crowds have been known to be raucous when Fullerton comes to town.
Comment: Awwwwwwwww. Like things are placid when the Dirtbags play at Fullerton!

"Any time these two teams come together the atmosphere should be great, but with the Big West title on the line and the potential No. 1 draft pick [Weaver] on the mound Friday night, it should be electric," said Chris Demaria, a former Long Beach State standout who is now in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league system.

Fullerton leads the all-time series 92-50 despite losing two of three to the 49ers earlier this season at Goodwin Field.

Everything seems to be leaning in the Titans' direction, but the team shouldn't start the celebration early.

"The biggest mistake we can make is assuming that it's over," Horton said.

Remember, it's not over until the fat lady sings."

posted on 5/20/2004 by Jeff Agnew

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