Jake Harvey

Jake Harvey, seen here on March 21, is batting .273 for Cal State Fullerton this season. (CSUF Athletics)

Cal State Fullerton began the 2021 season on a rather slow start to the year, enduring an eight-game losing streak through March. 

Since putting that rough stretch behind them, the Titans have stacked six wins over their last eight contests heading into their weekend homestand against California Baptist University. 

Fullerton sits at 10-14 on the year, including a 5-3 record in conference play, while Cal Baptist is currently 18-7 on the year with an 11-1 conference record. The three-game series will start on Friday, with the final game on Sunday.

The Titans recent hot streak will be tested against the Lancers coming to town. Cal Baptist sits atop the Western Athletic Conference, having won seven of their last eight games. 

Of the Titans last eight contests, the team averaged 7.75 runs per game. However, Fullerton will be tasked with facing a Cal Baptist pitching staff that has compiled a 3.45 ERA over 216.2 innings. 

Offensively, Fullerton’s hitting will be led by Caden Connor, Jason Brandow and Carter White, as the three outfielders all possess an average of .330 or better. Connor, a freshman, leads the Titans with 25 hits. 

On the mound, Fullerton will showcase their Friday night starter Tanner Bibee, who holds a 2.74 ERA to combine with his 6.85 K/9 over 46 innings. Bibee will look to build on his most recent outing in which he tossed seven innings of four-hit ball en route to a win over the University of San Diego.

The Titans have also made use of pitchers Kyle Luckham and Michael Knorr in starting roles this season, so they will presumably round out the final two games of the series as starters. 

The Lancers, however, carry a team batting average of .251, but that doesn’t undermine the efforts from outfielder Damon Keith, who owns a .352 average — ranking top 10 in the Western Athletic Conference. Damon’s four home runs and .549 slugging percentage also leads Cal Baptist among qualified batters. 

A series win for the Titans won’t move them up the Big West standings as a result of playing an out of conference opponent, but nonetheless, it would push their hot streak forward before heading to UC Davis for a four-game slate. 

First pitch of the series against the Lancers is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m at Goodwin Field.

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