It was a great season with a lot accomplished, but come next season that National Championship banner will still be missing from outfield at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Cal State Fullerton came from behind to end the Tigers hopes on Tuesday.
The Tigers were unable to tie the game in the ninth after Taylor Harbin led off with double and the Tigers trailing 7-6.
Herman Demmink did bounce back strong going 3-5 after being hitless in the first two games. The Tigers squandered scoring opportunities throughout the game that ultimately cost them in the end.
Jason Berken got the start over Josh Cribb, and he was pulled after giving 3 runs in only 1/3 of an inning. Berken did not make it out of the second inning in any of his three postseason starts. P.J. Zocchi was sensational in relief. He made every pitch he had to, but one. Zocchi left a pitch up over the middle of the plate against freshman David Cooper, and Cooper took the pitch deep over the right field fence. Zocchi will likely be a weekend starter next season, and he showed a lot of promise out of the pen.
The focus will immediately turn to next season. The Tigers are guaranteed to have a strong core in the field returning with Taylor Harbin, Stan Widmann, Brad Chalk, and DJ Mitchell. The Tigers are hopeful Marquez Smith will return. First baseman Andy D'Alessio has a decision to make. D'Alession was a 10th round pick by the Dodgers.
The pitching staff also has a strong nucleus returning. Zocchi, David Kopp, Ryan Hinson, and Daniel Moskos all will be back. Sean Clark could be back, if the Tigers are able to work out some scholarship money. Chris Fydrich will also be back on the mound next season after undergoing Tommy John surgery following a promising freshman season. Stephen Faris, like D'Alession, has a big decision to make. Faris was 12th round pick, and he could likely improve his stock by returning.
If Faris and D'Alession return, this team could be ranked in the top five to start next season, without those two, a top fifteen ranking is still very likely.