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June 7, 2007

Fullerton: Who has the edge?

After the many miles traveled by some teams last week, the Road to Omaha either continues or comes to abrupt halt for 16 teams this weekend.

With the Super Regionals around the corner, we take an in-depth look at how each team stacks up against the other.

We bring the Rivals.com Super Regional Edge.

RIVALS.COM ALL-AMERICA TEAMS: First and second team | National Player and Pitcher of the Year
WHO HAS THE EDGE? Chapel Hill | Corvallis | Houston | Louisville | Starkville | Tempe | Wichita

Fullerton Super Regional: Who has the edge?

When it comes to pitching, a George Horton coached team usually has the edge. While the Bruins have one of the top front-line aces in the country with veteran right-hander Tyson Brummett, the Titans have an impressive one-two punch with right-hander Wes Roemer and Jeff Kaplan leading the charge. Roemer hasn't been as effective as he was last season, but is still having a memorable year. Kaplan's strikeout-to-walk ratio isn't great, but his overall numbers are impressive. Justin Klipp is another reliable arm for the Titans, while Adam Jorgenson is a guy that must rise to the occasion is called on by the Titans. With George Horton running the staff, Fullerton is always in good shape.

The Bruins aren't a great offensive team, but they can put up runs when they need to. The red-hot Bruins enter the Fullerton Super Regional with a .297 team batting average. Infielder Alden Carrithers leads the way with a .351 batting average, while talented freshman Gabe Cohen enters the weekend hitting an impressive .348 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs. Designated hitter Cody Decker is one of the top power producers on the West Coast, while shortstop Brandon Crawford continues to tally impressive numbers. The sophomore enters the series with a .338 batting average. The key to the UCLA offense is third baseman Jermaine Curtis, who's hitting .333.

The Bruins and Titans are similar in this department, but we're giving the edge to the Bruins. While neither team has overly impressive fielding numbers, the Bruins do have one of the nation's top shortstops with sophomore Brandon Crawford. Crawford has good range and enters the weekend with a .950 fielding percentage. Third baseman Jermaine Curtis has a .956 fielding percentage, while second baseman Alden Carrithers is sitting at .963 entering the weekend. With both teams failing to possess great offensive numbers, this series could come down to which team has better command of its infield. If the Bruins avoid costly errors, they should win this series.

UCLA head coach John Savage has done a phenomenal job with the Bruins, but this is definitely a statement series. Cal State Fullerton head coach George Horton has staked his claim as the most dominant coach on the West Coast. But a Savage series victory over Horton this weekend could help turn the tide. With Horton's postseason prowess, obtaining that goal is easier said than done. While the Bruins played great baseball last week, the Titans still have more experience when it comes to postseason play. That could play a big part in this series as the weekend progresses. In addition, the Titans will have the home field advantage. Even with that, I'm taking UCLA in this series.