Even bad news doesn't seem to darken doorways for Cal State Fullerton’s baseball team.
The Titans will be without standout center fielder Gary Brown for this weekend’s regional. But the outlook still seems rosy to Coach Dave Serrano.
"If we continue to play Titan baseball, like we have the last 40 games, we can be a pitfall for opponents playing us," said Serrano, whose team opens against Minnesota at Goodwin Field in Fullerton on Friday. "I’m confident in this team and confident that our players are confident with the way they are playing."
Stanford plays New Mexico in the regional's other game Friday.
Fullerton (41-15), which has reached the College World Series 11 times in the last 20 seasons, enters the tournament on a roll, having won 22 of its last 24 games. The Titans have won seven of eight since Brown broke the middle finger on his left hand while sliding into second base against Long beach State on May 16.
Brown, a junior, is hitting .438 with six home runs and 41 runs batted in this season. He will be re-evaluated on June 7 and could be cleared to play in the Super Regional, if the Titans advance.
“We’ve already anticipated that we are going to have to win the first regional without him,” Serrano said.
Left fielder Joey Siddons has replaced Brown in center field. Austin Kingsolver and Anthony Hutting have shared time in left field. The Titans have a wealth of experienced talent, including shortstop Christian Colon, first baseman Nick Ramirez and second baseman Corey Jones.
Serrano said the final decision on a starting pitcher for Friday’s opener would be made Tuesday, but “ I think I already exposed that card over the weekend.“ The Titans used freshman Dylan Floro (7-0, 2.84 ERA) on Friday, followed by Noe Ramirez (10-1, 2.50) on Saturday.
-- Chris Foster