Titans Set to Defend Big West Title as Conference Play Begins
CATCH ALL THE ACTION: Fans wishing to watch No. 5 Cal State Fullerton's series vs. Pacific can follow all the action at www.FullertonTitans.com. The Titans offer a live video feed via BigWest.tv, as well as an online audio broadcast. Fans can find links to live video, audio and stats by accessing the baseball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.
TICKETS: Single-game tickets for all home games can be purchased online at www.FullertonTitans.com as well as in person or by calling the Cal State Fullerton Athletics Ticket Office at (657) 278-2783 from the hours of 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. On gamedays, tickets can be purchased one hour prior to first pitch at the Goodwin Field ticket box office.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @BaseballTitans for daily updates during the 2013 season.
TITANS IN THE BIG WEST
Cal State Fullerton was picked as the favorite to win the 2013 Big West title as selected by the 10 conference head coaches that voted in the Big West Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll, it was released by the league on Jan. 31.
Fullerton, winner of the past three league titles, captured the 2012 league crown with a 17-7 mark, one game ahead of Cal Poly.
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has totaled 26 conference championships dating back to 1975, including 10 in the last 14 years.
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 672-235-2 (.741) conference record over 38 seasons.
Dating back to 1990, Cal State Fullerton has a record of 57-12 during the first weekend of Big West play. In 23 opening Big West series, the Titans have won the opening series on 22 occasions, including sweeping 12 times. Fullerton has opened Big West play at home 15 times, and this weekend's series will mark the sixth time the Titans open Big West play against Pacific. The Titans have swept the five previous Big West opening series against the Tigers in 1996 (away), 2000 (home), 2001 (home), 2003 (home) and 2004 (away).
PACIFIC: Pacific returns to the diamond after eight days off, following an 11-4 win over Fresno State on Tuesday, March 19. The Tigers slugged their way to a season-high 11 runs. Four Tigers tallied multi-hit games and the Tigers clubbed two doubles, a triple and a home run in the contest. Taylor Murphy is hitting .421 in his last eight games (8-for-19) with three runs scored and five runs batted in.
VERSUS PACIFIC: Cal State Fullerton holds an all-time record of 80-12 against Pacific, including a 78-12 advantage in PCAA and Big West play. The Titans hold a 41-7 advantage over the Tigers at home, and currently have won the last four straight against Pacific dating back to 2011. Last year, the Titans swept the Tigers in Stockton (May 4-6), outscoring Pacific 36-6 in the three-game set.
UCLA NOTES: The seventh-ranked UCLA baseball team (17-4, 5-1 Pac-12) will play its first Pac-12 road series of the year, traveling to Tempe, Ariz. to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a three-game set. The Bruins will then return to Jackie Robinson Stadium on Tuesday to host the Titans. UCLA picked up its fifth consecutive Pac-12 series win last weekend, taking two of three games at home from California.
VERSUS UCLA: The Titans have an all-time 68-28-2 advantage over UCLA, including a 26-15-1 edge in road games, but most recently UCLA has had the upper hand. The Bruins have won four out of the last six games against he Titans, dating back to the 2010 Super Regional series in Los Angeles. Last season, UCLA swept the two-game set against the Titans.
TITAN CONNECTIONS: In his second season as the head coach at Cal State Fullerton, Rick Vanderhook spent three seasons (2009-11) as an assistant coach to John Savage at UCLA, where he helped lead the Bruins to a Pac-10 conference title, a pair of postseason appearances and a runner-up finish at the 2010 College World Series. Current UCLA assistant coach Rex Peters graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 1989 with his bachelor's degree in physical education. He was an honorable mention All-America selection for the Titans, helping lead them to a third-place finish at the 1988 College World Series. Current UCLA assistant coach Jake Silverman was an undergraduate assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton for two years. Silverman helped the Titans advance to the College World Series in 2009 and to the NCAA Super Regional at UCLA in 2010. Silverman spent the 2008 season as a catcher at Cal State Fullerton and saw action in one game. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications from Cal State Fullerton in 2010.
VERSUS THE PAC-12: The Titans hold a 271-203-3 record all-time against teams currently in the Pac-12 Conference. This season, Fullerton holds a 4-1 record against Pac-12 clubs, winning two out of three against then 14th-ranked Oregon, and defeating USC on Feb. 15 and March 6.
A JUMP IN THE RANKINGS: Cal State Fullerton entered the week at No. 5 in the Baseball America Top-25 poll.
OFF TO A HOT START: Currently with a record of 21-4, Fullerton's start is the best for the program since the 1996 squad opened the year 31-2. According to BoydsWorld.com, Fullerton's RPI entered this week at No. 7, while the Titans' strength of schedule rates at No. 4.
ROOKIE ARMS: Cal State Fullerton's 2.63 ERA leads the Big West Conference, and a big part of the pitching staff's success is a pair of freshman right-handers in the weekend rotation, with Thomas Eshelman getting the nod on Friday nights, followed by Justin Garza (Saturday).
On Feb. 15, 2013, Eshelman (5-1, 1.07) became the first freshmen to start a season opener for the Titans since Feb. 5, 1987 when Mark Beck took the mound vs. Saint Mary's. Eshelman didn't disappoint the sellout crowd of 3,508 as CSF edged USC, 3-2, on Feb. 15. In the win, Eshelman allowed two unearned runs on four hits while striking out six in six innings of work.
Currently, Eshelman's ERA of 1.07 tops the Big West Conference, ranks 23rd in the nation, and third amongst freshman in the country this season. In 42 innings pitched, the rookie from Carlsbad, Calif., has yet to issue a walk, while striking out 27. Eshelman's streak is the longest for Fullerton since Wes Roemer tossed 65 and 2/3 innings in 2006 without issuing a base on balls. Last week at Long Beach State, Eshelman tossed seven innings of shutout baseball, allowing just one hit in 62 pitches, while facing 22 batters, an average of 2.8 pitches per batter faced. In addition, Eshelman's 0.57 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) leads the nation. WHIP is a measurement of the number of baserunners a pitcher has allowed per inning pitched.
Garza (5-0, 1.99) has picked up wins over Nebraska, TCU, Oregon, Texas A&M and Oral Roberts during his six weeks on the mound. In 40 and 2/3 innings, Garza has surrendered nine earned runs, and his ERA of 1.99 ranks sixth in the Big West Conference. Garza was the first Titan freshman since Dylan Floro in 2010 to win five straight starts.
FREE RIDE: Cal State Fullerton entered the week leading the country allowing just 1.62 walks per 9.0 innings pitched. In addition, the Titans 4.64 strike-to-walk ratio also ranks first in the country. Sunday starter Grahamm Wiest, has totaled 39 strikeouts to lead Fullerton and tie for second in the Big West. In addition, Wiest's 9.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks 11th in the nation.
AT THE PLATE: Entering the 2013 season, Cal State Fullerton had 15 position players from a year ago returning to the roster, including six starters. That wealth of experience has helped the Titans to its No. 5 ranking and 21-4 record. Fullerton's offense currently leads the Big West or is tied for the lead in the following offensive categories: runs scored (148), RBIs (133), walks (115), hit-by-pitch (45) and stolen bases (35).
EARLY AND OFTEN: A key ingredient to Fullerton's success has been the club's ability to score early and often. Cal State Fullerton has outscored opponents in 22-6 in the first inning in 2013, and Fullerton has outscored opponents 52-17 in the first three innings of games this year. On Tuesday vs. Loyola Marymount, the Titans lost their first game in which they obtained the lead first. Fullerton is 16-1 in 2013 when scoring first.
OVER THE FENCES: In 2012, the Titans totaled just 10 home runs. After just six weeks in 2013, Fullerton has already surpassed that total, hitting 12 round trippers. Senior Anthony Hutting and junior Michael Lorenzen lead the Titans with three home runs apiece followed by J.D. Davis (2), Jake Jefferies (1), Austin Kingsolver (1), Carlos Lopez (1) and Richy Pedroza (1).
GOOD FOR EXTRAS: Entering the weekend on a nine-game hitting streak, Michael Lorenzen leads the Titans in batting average (.337), slugging percentage (.565), runs scored (21), RBIs (21) doubles (6), triples (3) and home runs (3).
On the mound, Lorenzen's eight saves tie for second in the country. In addition, Lorenzen's save streak has been extended to 12, dating back to last season and matching the longest streak in his career. In addition, Lorenzen's 24 career saves rank sixth all-time at Fullerton.
MAKING THE TOP-30: Senior first baseman Carlos Lopez was one of 30 NCAA® baseball student-athletes selected as candidates for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate baseball, it was announced on Feb. 27.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
NICK HURTADO: The Cal State Fullerton baseball program is mourning the loss of teammate Nick Hurtado, who passed away at the age of 21 after a battle with cancer on March 1.
Hurtado, a 2010 graduate of Corona Santiago High School in Corona, Calif., committed the Titans as a senior in the fall of 2009, before his battle with bone cancer began.
Hurtado was a four-year letterwinner for head coach Ty DeTrinidad and the Sharks. Before his senior season began, Hurtado was diagnosed with cancer after being hit by a ball in the knee during the preseason. On March 5, 2010, he made his only appearance of his senior season at Corona Santiago, tossing one pitch (a strike) in the opening game of the 2010 season just days before his treatment was to begin.
The pitcher was finally able to join the Titans for the 2012 season, but sat out the year as his treatment and recovery continued. Due to his illness, he was unable to join the roster in 2013, but made the effort to connect with his teammates at Goodwin Field as often as possible.
Statement from the 2013 Titans
"The world lost and amazing person last night. We will forever remember his genuine love for the people around him, and for life itself. He was the ultimate friend, and we hope we can grow, and be half the person he was. He touched the lives of so many people with his compassion and unyielding positive attitude. He will be in our hearts every single day."
PICKED TO WIN IT: Cal State Fullerton was picked as the favorite to win the 2013 Big West title as selected by the 10 conference head coaches that voted in the Big West Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll, it was released by the league on Jan. 31.
The Titans were voted to defend their Big West title as the program garnered nine of the 10 available first-place votes.
Fullerton, winner of the past three league titles, captured the 2012 league crown with a 17-7 mark, one game ahead of Cal Poly. Fullerton has won 10 conference championships in the Super Regional era (dating back to 1999; 14 years), sharing the titles with Nevada in 2000 and Long Beach State in 2008.
TITANS AND THE BIG WEST: Overall, Cal State Fullerton has totaled 26 conference championships dating back to 1975, including 10 in the last 14 years. With last season's title, the Titans made their 34th postseason appearance as well.
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 672-235-2 (.741) conference record over 38 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, won his first Big West crown in 2012, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Augie Garrido (14 conference championships), Larry Cochell (1), George Horton (7) and Dave Serrano (3).
A further breakdown has the Titans winning three PCAA conference championships (1975-76, 1987), eight straight SCBA titles (1977-84) and 15 while playing under the Big West name (1990-91, 94-95, 1997, 1999-2001, 2004-06, 2008, 2010-12). The Big West absorbed the PCAA records in 1990 upon its formation, giving the Titans 18 total Big West championships and a 499-189 (.725; 30 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record.
WATCH LIST: Michael Lorenzen was one of 75 players named to the initial watch list for the ninth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. Lorenzen was one of two players from the Big West Conference named to the list as UC Irvine's Race Parmenter also made the watch list.
LORENZEN PRESEASON HONORS: Michael Lorenzen returned to the diamond after an All-American season in 2012. Lorenzen received four preseason All-American selections entering 2013. He was projected as the National Player of The Year by Collegiate Baseball, and was named to the 13th annual NCBWA Preseason All-America second team as well as the Perfect Game Preseason College All-American second team. He was also selected to the 2013 Baseball America Preseason All-America second team.
Lorenzen, who garnered All-American honors as well as Big West Conference First Team accolades in 2012, developed into one of the nation's top two-way players, starting 57 games in center field while making 20 appearances on the mound. Lorenzen did not allow a run in 18 of his 20 appearances. He garnered double first-team All-Big West Conference honors as a utility player on offense, and as a closer on the pitching staff. His 16 saves in 17 chances tied him for second in program history with Nick Ramirez (2011) behind only Scott Wright's school record of 22 saves in 1984.
HOME GROWN: Thirty-four men on the Titans' 35-man roster list their hometown within the great State of California. The lone Titan not from the Golden State comes from, where else? Nebraska. Sophomore southpaw Tyler Peitzmeier is from Yutan, Neb., a city about 25 miles east of the Mecca of college baseball, Omaha.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: In 2013, the Titans will play seven opponents that advanced to the 2012 Division I Baseball tournament (Oral Roberts, Pepperdine, Texas A&M, San Diego) three opponents that advanced to the super regionals (Oregon, TCU) and one opponent that advanced to the College World Series (UCLA)…CSF will play four opponents that finished 2012 ranked in Baseball America's Top-25 (No. 5 UCLA, No. 11 Oregon, No. 16 TCU, No. 19 Texas A&M)…six of Fullerton's opponents were ranked in the top-50 of the NCAA's final top-50 2012 RPI ratings (No. 1 UCLA, No. 6 Oregon, No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 29 Pepperdine, No. 31 TCU, No. 36 San Diego )...four of CSF's opponents were also conference champions in 2012: Pepperdine (West Coast), TCU (co-Mountain West), Oral Roberts (Summit), UCLA (Pac-12).
CONTINUED EXCELLENCE: The Titans have won 30-plus games in each of its 38 seasons at the Div. I level and are tied for third in the nation when it comes to most consecutive 30-win campaigns. The only Titan team to win as few as 30 games was the 1989 squad skippered by Larry Cochell. The Titans have never had a losing season at the Div. I level. Fullerton comes in tied for third with Clemson and behind Arizona State and Miami. Pepperdine, which was ranked No. 5, saw its 32-year streak ended in 2010.
Consecutive 30+ win seasons (active)
1. Arizona State 50
2. Miami, Fla. 42
3. Cal State Fullerton 38
THE ROOKIES: Cal State Fullerton's 2012 class was ranked the No. 23 recruiting class in the nation, according to Baseball America's annual evaluation.
Under second-year head coach Rick Vanderhook and recruiting coordinator Mike Kirby, the Titans have welcomed 13 freshmen to Goodwin Field. Fullerton's 2012 class ranks second amongst Big West Conference opponents as the Gauchos were ranked 12th with 23 newcomers including 19 freshmen and four junior college transfers. The Titans and Gauchos were the only BWC programs to make the top 25.
DRAFT DODGERS: Nine Titans on the current roster have been selected previously in the MLB First-Year Players draft. Carlos Lopez is the only Titan that has been drafted while at Fullerton. He was selected as a redshirt his sophomore year (based on his age), but declined the offer made by the Detroit Tigers in 2010.
TITANS IN THE DRAFT (by round):
J.D. Davis 2011 5th round Tampa Bay Rays
Michael Lorenzen 2010 7th round Tampa Bay Rays
Austin Diemer 2011 26th round Cleveland Indians
Justin Garza 2012 26th round Cleveland Indians
Jake Jefferies 2012 34th round Washington Nationals
Carlos Lopez 2010 37th round Detroit Tigers
Anthony Hutting 2009 38th round Texas Rangers
David Olmedo-Barrera 2012 40th round Oakland Athletics
Chad Wallach 2010 43rd round Los Angeles Dodgers
TOP 50 FRESHMAN: Ontario, Calif., native Justin Garza was ranked ninth by Baseball America in the publication's evaluation of the top 50 freshmen in college baseball released in early February.
TOP 50 SOPHOMORES: Matt Chapman, 2012 Big West Freshman of the Year, was ranked 18th by Baseball America in the publication's evaluation of the top 50 sophomores in college baseball released in early February. Chapman was also rated by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in the Big West Conference for the 2014 MLB Draft. J.D. Davis was considered the fifth-best prospect in the Big West for the 2014 draft.
TOP 50 JUNIORS: All-American Michael Lorenzen was ranked 19th by Baseball America in the publication's evaluation of the top 50 juniors in college baseball released in early February. Lorenzen was also rated by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in the Big West Conference for the 2013 draft.
TOP 50 SENIORS: Senior shortstop Richy Pedroza was ranked 45th by Baseball America in the publication's evaluation of the top 50 seniors in college baseball released in early February. Pedroza led the Titans batting .324 in 2012.
FAMILY AFFAIR: The Titans have six players on the 2013 roster that have had family members play for Fullerton in the past:
• Outfielder Anthony Hutting is the cousin of former Titan star and major league outfielder Aaron Rowand (.345, 23 HR, 121 RBI from 1996-98).
• Infielder Richy Pedroza's older brother, Sergio, was a national champion outfielder for the Titans (.328, 27 HR, 121 RBI from 2003-05).
• Outfielder Austin Kingsolver's father, Kurt, was a national champion catcher in 1979 (.291, 5 HR, 30 RBI in 1979) and was a teammate of College Baseball Hall of Famer Tim Wallach.
• Catcher Chad Wallach's father, Tim Wallach (.392, 39 HR, 182 RBI), was a national champion, a Golden Spikes Award winner, and a first-round draft pick in 1979. Chad's older brother, and Tim's eldest son, Matt, was also a Titan in 2005 (.255, 5 HR, 28 RBI in 2007) and played first base like his father. Tim is currently entering his third year as the third base coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
• Pitcher Dave Birosak's brother, Dustin (0-0, 2.89 ERA), was a relief pitcher for the 2007 Titans.
• And to top it all off… Head Coach Rick Vanderhook has had two nephews, Russ (.500, 0 HR, 0 RBI in 1999) and Cory (.304, 1 HR, 17 RBI in 2006) play in a Titan uniform. Coach Vanderhook, himself, was a player in 1983 and 1984. Cory is currently serving as an administrative assistant.
• Freshman right-hander Joe Navilhon's father (Larry) played at Cal State Fullerton from 1979-1980.
• First baseman Carlos Lopez and right-handed pitcher Michael Lopez are of no relation.
TITANS IN THE BIG LEAGUES: The Titans have had 52 former players ascend to the major leagues since their first products, Dan Whitmer and Tim Wallach, got there in 1980. Erik Komatsu got the call in 2012, taking last year's totals to nine: David Cooper (Toronto), Reed Johnson (Chicago Cubs/Atlanta), Erik Komatsu (St. Louis/Minnesota), Mark Kotsay (San Diego), Brett Pill (San Francisco), Kurt Suzuki (Oakland/Washington), Justin Turner (New York Mets), Vinnie Pestano (Cleveland) and Ricky Romero (Toronto). For the second consecutive year, Romero was named one of 30 nominees for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award as announced by Major League Baseball. Pestano was named this year's recipient of the Bob Feller Man of the Year Award, as announced by the Cleveland chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The distinction is bestowed upon the organization's player or executive who consistently performs at the top of his game.