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New Titan Pitcher Has Heavenly Start

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was supposed to be just a fun game for Cal State Fullerton Monday against the Angels, and it turned out to be that for the Titans--and maybe a lot more.

The Titans might have made an important pitching discovery along the way.

Ruben Jurado, who didn’t join the Titans until January as a transfer from Arizona State, made his first appearance of the season and held the big leaguers scoreless through five innings, giving up only three hits.

The Angels ended up winning the game, 8-4.

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“Jurado definitely put himself in our picture today,” Titan Coach George Horton said. “And what he did wasn’t against their B team. He did it against their top players. It shows you that when you throw quality pitches, you can get anyone out.”

Jurado, a junior right-hander, struck out three regulars: Darin Erstad in the third, Tim Salmon in the fourth and Noberto Martin in the fifth. Jurado gave up a two-out single in the first to Dave Hollins, a two-out double to former Titan Phil Nevin in the second and a two-out single to Jim Edmonds in the third. Only one other runner reached base against Jurado. He gave up a walk to Garret Anderson in the fourth.

“Edmonds popped off at me from the dugout, and dared me to challenge someone,” Jurado said, smiling. “I threw him a fastball on the first pitch the next time up, though, and he hit it hard.”

But when Jurado left the game at the end of five innings, Fullerton led, 3-0. All the Angel regulars were out of the game by the start of the sixth inning.

Jurado decided to leave Arizona State after the fall semester, and transferred to Fullerton, somewhat at the suggestion of his former community college coach at Riverside, Dennis Rogers. Jurado said Arizona State had offered him a scholarship when he was at Riverside, but he lost it when he had to sit out the 1996 season because of back surgery.

Horton said Fullerton was fairly set in its pitching rotation when Jurado arrived. “It’s unfortunate he didn’t have a chance to prove himself earlier,” Horton said.

Jurado ended up starting Monday’s game primarily because the Titans were saving their front-line pitching for Wednesday’s game at USC and a weekend series at Pacific.

But Titan pitching coach Dave Serrano said Jurado moved up significantly with the performance.

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“He opened my eyes,” Serrano said. “He was down in the zone the whole time and he threw strikes. He proved a point that I’ve been trying to make to our pitchers. Throw quality pitches and you’ll get people out.”


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