Aaron Fitt reports via Twitter that Cal State Fullerton ace sophomore Noe Ramirez will miss this weekend's series against UC Santa Barbara after being injured in practice Wednesday. Ramirez was hit in the face by a line drive and also broke his left hand when he fell.
According to a Fullerton press release, Ramirez was doing his conditioning during batting practice on the warning track at Goodwin Field when a batted ball headed his way. Ramirez looked up to find it and was struck in the face, and while he wasn't injured by the ball, the resulting fall to the ground caused the small fracture to the pitcher's glove hand/wrist area.
Coach Dave Serrano told Aaron, "We will overcome." That starts with Kyle Mertins, who has been a revelation on Sundays as the team's third starter, moving into the Friday slot. Mertins, a senior whose older brother Kurt is an infielder in the Royals system, leads the team in ERA and is 3-1, 2.15 overall.
However, it's hard to underestimate Ramirez's value to the Titans, as he leads the team in innings pitched and strikeouts while going 5-1, 3.24 with 66 whiffs in 58 innings. Serrano did say in the press release that Ramirez could be available out of Fullerton's bullpen this weekend.
On a lighter note, Jim Rome's alma mater, the Gauchos, will have a Gunnar Terhune "Gunnar Shades" promotion on Saturday, and this video sums up the atmosphere around UCSB baseball.
Wrapping up some midweek action:
• Virginia Military Institute made its biggest statement of the season, beating No. 2 Virginia 12-3 in front of a program-record 1,463 fans. "I was really impressed with the atmosphere," VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry said in a press release. "I didn’t realize how big of a crowd it was until after the first inning, when we put a three-spot, and ran off the field. With two nationally-ranked teams playing each other in the mid-week, it was really a nice atmosphere to play in."
• Georgia's nightmare season took another turn for the worse as Georgia Tech thumped the Bulldogs 25-6. It's the 13th time this year Georgia has given up 10 or more runs, but it was a season-worst performance for the pitching staff, which already had a 8.02 ERA coming into the game. "We are so inconsistent with our pitching this late in the year and that's frustrating," said Georgia coach David Perno. "I'm very disappointed. We have to throw strikes and that's where it starts."
• Miami's David Gutierrez humbled host Florida Gulf Coast, which moved its showdown with the Hurricanes off campus to the home of the high Class A Fort Myers Miracle. The 3,627 fans saw Gutierrez pitch seven perfect innings as Miami won 9-0 on a combined one-hitter.
• Baylor stayed hot, sweeping a two-game midweek series from Texas-Arlington. The Bears won 18-8 on Wednesday after a 5-4, 10-inning win in Arlington on Tuesday. Baylor has now won 17 of its last 22 games.
• Speaking of hot teams, Washington State maintained the momentum of its weekend series victory against then-No. 1 Arizona State. The Cougars beat Seattle on Tuesday, then held off Gonzaga 5-4 Wednesday to move to 19-11 overall heading into a crucial road series at Arizona.
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