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Fullerton suspends 8 for UH series

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Cal State Fullerton has suspended eight baseball players, including four starters, for its weekend series against Hawaii at Les Murakami Stadium.

Titans’ coach Dave Serrano announced the suspension of the players for a violation of team rules in a press release late Monday.

Fullerton will be without pitchers Colin O’Connell and Ryan Ackland, designated hitter Carlos Lopez, utility players Walker Moore and Casey Watkins, shortstop Richy Pedroza, catcher Zach Tanida and third baseman Joe Terry.

Terry and Pedroza are two of only three Titans who have started the first 18 games this season. Pedroza is the team’s leading hitter, with a .392 average and 17 runs scored.

Lopez is third on the team with a .315 average and has started 14 games. O’Connell is the team’s No. 3 starter, posting a 2-1 record with a team-best ERA of 1.42 among the starters.

The Titans, ranked No. 13 in this week’s Baseball America Top 25, are 12-7 after a 7-3 win over No. 6 Arizona State last night. The suspended players will be reinstated for next Tuesday’s game against UCLA.

Hawaii (11-9) finished off a four-game sweep of Centenary College on Monday and is riding a five-game winning streak heading into the weekend series.

Fullerton is expected to start first-team preseason All-American Noe Ramirez on Friday. Ramirez, who is the No. 28 overall prospect in the country according to Baseball America, is 3-2 with a 2.91 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 34 innings.

Ramirez tossed a five-hit shutout in a 3-0 win over Hawaii last season, striking out 14.

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