TURLOCK -- Everything about CSU Stanislaus baseball this season screams of old-school, from the throwback uniforms with their striped, high-water stirrups, to the surplus-green manual scoreboard that dominates the right field fence.
And even the way the Warriors play the game harkens to the long-past days of young men barnstorming from city to city, eschewing flash for substance as they go around tending to the business of winning games.
"We want the old-time feel," said Warriors' coach Kenny Leonesio. "We want guys sprinting on and off the field and we want them playing hard. We know we're not going to be the most talented team, but that doesn't mean we can't win games."
The national publication Collegiate Baseball currently ranks Stanislaus as the No. 12 team in Division II. It's the program's highest ranking since it moved up from Division III in 1990.
The Warriors improved to 18-5 overall and 11-2 in California Collegiate Athletic Association action on Friday with a 5-0 victory over CSU Monterey Bay. By Leonesio's definition, it was a typical Stanislaus performance.
"We fight and we scrap and we're not really overly talented," he said. " We came into the year saying that we'd pitch well and we'd play good defense and come up with some timely hitting -- the formula that everybody tries to live by -- and it's worked out for us."
Senior right-hander Marquis Fleming was in control, striking out 10 during his three-hit shutout. All three hits were singles as Fleming (6-1) faced only 29 batters in registering his second straight complete game.
"As I've gone along, I've stayed with the same approach and the same pitching philosophy and the result has been strikeouts," said Fleming, a four-year starter from Oakland.
Fleming clearly has been the ace, but Stanislaus boasts a staff ERA of 3.38 -- exceptional at the college level. Fleming's part is a microscopic 1.69 ERA with four complete games and a CCAA-best 60 strikeouts in 53 innings.
"He made it look easy today," Leonesio said. "He was good as a freshman, but was just learning how to pitch. He's gotten better every year, and now he's figured out what he has to do to win."
The Warriors' offense has done just enough to win, as evidenced by their 8-1 record this season in games decided by one run. The free-swinging group is hitting a respectable .285 as a team, but Stanislaus' 14 strikeouts on Friday gives them 182 for the season, or a hair less than eight whiffs per game.
They also have only 12 home runs as a team, but six of those are off the bat of Kyle Loretelli, a Beyer High graduate and a junior transfer from Modesto Junior College.
Loretelli leads Stanislaus with a .394 average and with his 20 RBIs, and turned around Friday's win with one swing.
With one out in the third inning, Dante Palacios singled and scooted to third on a double by David Contreras. Dennis Wolfe, the No. 3 hitter, surprised the Otters with an RBI bunt single, then Loretelli hit the next pitch from Nadev Poringer out to center field on a line to give the Warriors a sudden 4-0 lead. Tomas Donnelly blasted a solo homer in the fourth for Stanislaus' other run.
"Kyle's done a great job," Leonesio said. "I love the way he plays hard and fits right into the style we're trying to play."
And Loretelli also looks the part of the old-time player, except for the very modern contact lens sunglasses he wears.
"I had heard a lot of good things about the coaching staff," said Loretelli, who has homered in three consecutive games. "This is the tightest group of guys I've ever played with. All they want to do is win, and that fits right in with my mentality."
Stanislaus travels to Seaside today to meet Monterey Bay in a doubleheader, then the teams return on Sunday to play a single game at noon. Five games in three days is a tough haul for any team, but the games can't come fast enough right now for Stanislaus.
"The guys feel good right now and we're doing a good job of living in the moment," Leonesio said. "We're not looking ahead to the playoffs, we just want to win today."
Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.