No. 3 Titans Close Regular Season at Northridge
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With a sweep of UC Irvine last weekend, Cal State Fullerton (45-8, 20-4) won its 27th conference championship in 39 years, including the program's fourth consecutive Big West title. The championship also clinches the Titans the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as Fullerton will be making its 35th postseason appearance, including its 22nd in a row.
Fullerton has won 11 conference championships in the Super Regional era (dating back to 1999; 15 years), sharing the titles with Nevada in 2000 and Long Beach State in 2008.
A LITTLE MORE HISTORY
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 692-239-1 (.743) conference record over 39 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, won his second Big West crown this season, 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 16 while playing under the Big West name (1990-91, 94-95, 1997, 1999-2001, 2004-06, 2008, 2010-13). The Big West absorbed the PCAA records in 1990 upon its formation, giving the Titans 19 total Big West championships and a 519-193 (.729; 31 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record.
POSTSEASON NEED TO KNOWS
Regional hosts will be announced on www.ncaa.com/CWS at approximately 6 p.m. (PT), Sunday, May 26.
The 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Selection Show with regional pairings, will be revealed in a live, one-hour telecast on ESPNU at 9 a.m. (PT), Monday, May 27.
CSF vs. CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
First Year Played/Last Year Played:1975/2012
Overall Record: 50-18
Current Streak: Lost 1
Overall Conference (Big West): Record 27-9
Home Record: 29-8
Road Record: 21-10
Neutral Record: 0-0
Longest Winning Streak: 16 games (4/12/03 to 4/11/08)
Longest Losing Streak: 3 games, 2 times (last from 4/26/02 to 4/28/02)
Extra Innings: 0-3
Most Runs Scored in a Game: 24 runs (4/9/05)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent: 15 runs, 2 times (last on 4/13/08)
Largest Margin of Victory: 24 runs (4/9/05)
Largest Margin of Defeat: 14 runs (4/20/01)
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: Cal State Northridge (31-23, 15-9 Big West) is tied for second in the Big West Conference standings with Cal Poly, although the Mustangs completed the sweep of the Matadors last weekend. Northridge is 17-7 at Matador Field in 2013.
VERSUS CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: Cal State Fullerton holds an all-time record of 50-18 against Cal State Northridge (dating back to 1975). In Northridge, the Titans hold a 21-10 advantage. This weekend's series will mark the 13th time the two clubs play a conference series against one another dating back to 2001. In those meetings, the Titans have only lost once to the Matadors in 2002 as Cal State Northridge swept the Titans. In six trips to Northridge in Big West play, Cal State Fullerton has posted a 14-4 record, winning all six series including sweeps in 2005 and 2007.
A JUMP IN THE RANKINGS: Cal State Fullerton enters the week at No. 3 in the Baseball America Top-25 poll. The Titans have been ranked in the top-10 for 12 straight weeks.
OFF TO A HOT START: Currently with a record of 45-8, Fullerton's mark is the best for any Titan team after 53 games dating back to the start of Division I play in 1975. The NCAA RPI currently rates Fullerton at No. 7 in the country as the Titans boast an 9-2 record against top-25 teams and a 12-3 mark against teams that entered the week ranked in the NCAA RPI top 50. The closest Big West program to Fullerton's ranking is Cal Poly at No. 23.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Cal State Fullerton is one of five teams in the country with a minimum of 20 wins on the road this season. Canisius leads the nation with 25 road wins, while the Titans have totaled 23 victories away from Goodwin Field. The Titans are batting .277 on the road, and have outscored opponents 171-76 as the pitching staff manages a 2.37 ERA. In addition, Fullerton boasts a .972 fielding percentage on the road.
MILESTONES: Cal State Fullerton's 14-7 victory at UC Riverside on May 8 was the team's 40th win of the year. Since 1975, Fullerton has totaled 27 40-win seasons...On May 9 at UC Riverside, freshman Justin Garza earned his 11th victory on the mound, matching Tyler Pill's freshman record of 11 wins set in 2009...on May 19, Carlos Lopez's walk-off home run propelled Cal State Fullerton to a 7-5 victory over UC Irvine, clinching the Titans their fourth consecutive Big West title and earning the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cal State Fullerton senior Carlos Lopez earned Big West Co-Player of the Week honors after he sent the Titans to their fourth straight Big West title with dramatic back-to-back walk-off home runs against rival UC Irvine last weekend. With Saturday's game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Lopez came to the plate with two outs and the bases empty. He hammered a 1-1 offering over the right field wall for a series-clinching 3-2 victory. The first baseman capitalized again on Sunday as this time Cal State Fullerton trailed 5-4 in the ninth. With one out, two runners on base and a 1-1 count, Lopez hit a three-run jack to right field to deliver a 7-5 comeback win and solidify the series sweep over the Anteaters.
The win secured the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for CSF and clinched the program's 27th conference championship.
Lopez began the series with the first of three straight game-winning RBIs that rivaled the impressiveness of the two walk-off homers he belted. UCI reliever Mitch Merten entered in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game with runners at the corners and Lopez at the plate. The two engaged in a 14-pitch battle that ended with Lopez singling into right field to give the Titans a 3-2 advantage. The hit occurred after Lopez had fouled off nine straight pitches.
Lopez shared Big West co-Player of the Week honors with Cal Poly senior Elliott Stewart, who also hit two-game winning home runs in the Mustangs sweep of Cal State Northridge.
STARTING STAFF: Cal State Fullerton's 2.52 ERA tops the Big West Conference and ranks fourth in the nation. The weekend trio of Thomas Eshelman (Friday), Justin Garza (Saturday) and Grahamm Wiest (Sunday), have combined for 42 starts, 283 and 1/3 innings pitched, 212 strikeouts while managing a 2.22 ERA.
ESHELMAN: During his rookie season, Thomas Eshelman has been named to the Golden Spikes Midseason Watch List.
In his first season for Cal State Fullerton, the Titans' Friday-night starter posts a record of 10-2 in 14 starts and his miniscule 1.51 ERA leads the Big West, ranks 12th in the country and fourth among freshmen across the nation. Of the top four freshmen, Eshelman ranks second compared to pitchers with more than five starts.
Eshelman has pitched in three combined shutouts this season, and has struck out 66 while holding opposing batters to a staff-best .199 average.
In his first 63 and 1/3 innings as a collegiate pitcher, Eshelman did not issue a walk, a streak that fell just two innings short of Wes Roemer's program record of 65 and 1/3 innings in 2006. The main difference between the two streaks was that Eshelman plunked only two batters, while Roemer drilled 12.
In addition, Eshelman leads the nation in walks allowed per nine innings (0.19), strikeout-to-walk-ratio (33.0) and WHIP (0.73). Eshelman has also totaled 11 quality starts in 2013.
On Feb. 15, 2013, Eshelman became the first freshman 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.
GARZA: Garza (11-0, 1.96) has picked up wins over Nebraska, TCU, Oregon, Texas A&M, Oral Roberts, Pacific, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, Hawai'i, Long Beach State and UC Riverside during 14 weeks on the mound. His 11 wins tie Tyler Pill's Cal State Fullerton freshman record set in 2009. In addition, the Titans are an undefeated 14-0 when Garza starts. In a staff-leading 96 and 2/3 innings, Garza has surrendered 21 earned runs while fanning 74. Garza was the first Titan freshman since Dylan Floro in 2010 to win five straight starts, a feat he has accomplished twice in 2013.
Garza's 11 wins top the Big West along with Joey Wagman from Cal Poly, and tie for fifth in the country. Oregon State's Andrew Moore is the only other freshman with 11 wins in 2013.
WIEST: Sophomore Grahamm Wiest (8-3, 3.26 , 72 K's) solidifies the rotation on Sunday. Wiest's 1.19 walks allowed per nine innings rank 21st in the country and his 6.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio rates 18th.
THE STREAKS ARE OVER: Thomas Eshelman issued his first walk of the season to Brandon Trinkwon in the top of the sixth vs. UC Santa Barbara on April 12. The walk ended Eshelman's streak at 63 and 1/3 innings without issuing a base on balls. The streak was just shy of the all-time record held by Wes Roemer at 65 and 1/3 innings to start the 2006 season.
Michael Lorenzen was denied a save after surrendering two runs to UC Santa Barbara in the top of the ninth on April 12. The blown save ended his streak of 16 straight that dated back to May 1, 2012.
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. 3 ranking and 45-8 record. Fullerton's offense currently leads the Big West or is tied for the lead in the following offensive categories: slugging percentage (.409), on-base percentage (.386), runs scored (336), RBIs (305), triples (24), home runs (32) and walks (235).
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 59-14 in the first inning in 2013, and Fullerton has outscored opponents 133-40 in the first three innings of games this year. Fullerton is 31-3 in 2013 when scoring first, and 14-5 when the opponent scores first.
OVER THE FENCES: In 2012, the Titans totaled just 10 home runs. After 14 weeks in 2013, Fullerton has tripled that total, hitting 32 round trippers. Michael Lorenzen leads the Titans with seven home runs followed by Anthony Hutting (5), Carlos Lopez (4), J.D. Davis (3), Matt Chapman (3), Greg Velazquez (3), Jake Jefferies (2), Austin Kingsolver (2), Chad Wallach (2) and Richy Pedroza (1). The Titans have also hit four grand slams in 2013.
GOOD FOR EXTRAS: Cal State Fullerton starting center fielder and closer Michael Lorenzen continues to garner national attention. Last week, Lorenzen was announced as one of 10 players named to the latest John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award watch list. In addition, Lorenzen was named as a semifinalist for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's 2013 Dick Howser Trophy, regarded by many as one of college baseball's most prestigious awards.
Lorenzen is 17-for-20 in save attempts this season, but in three blown save attempts, kept the Titans within reach to record the win.
In two years on the mound, Lorenzen has totaled 33 saves, a number that ranks third all-time at Fullerton.
In 20 appearances this season, Lorenzen has tossed 21 innings, striking out 16 and managing a 2.14 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .208 clip.
At the plate, Lorenzen is batting .330 and leads the conference with 48 RBIs while managing a .533 slugging percentage (2nd Big West), with 37 runs scored (T-9th Big West), 65 hits (T-9th Big West), 11 doubles, four triples (T-5th Big West) and a team-leading seven home runs (T-4th Big West). Lorenzen has also totaled 17 multiple-hit games and 11 multiple-RBI games. His 13-game hitting streak from March 15-April 2 was the longest for any Titan this season, as Fullerton went 12-1 during that stretch while Lorenzen batted .469 with 19 RBIs, three doubles, three home runs and 13 runs scored.
NOTES FROM LAST WEEK: Fullerton's 45-8 record is the Titans best mark after 53 games in Division I history (1975)…CSF swept its seventh weekend series of the year, and swept UC Irvine for the first time since 2004…Cal State Fullerton clinched its 13th weekend series of the year, and has won 14 consecutive weekend series since dropping two of three to UC Riverside at Goodwin Field (May 18-20, 2012)…the Titans have outscored opponents 59-14 in the first inning this season…Fullerton is 31-3 when scoring first in 2013...the Titans are 14-0 when Garza starts...with Thomas Eshelman's 10th win on Friday, the Titans now have two starting pitchers (Justin Garza, 11) with double-digit wins for the first time since 2010…two freshmen with double-digit wins is also a first for the program…Cal State Fullerton has overcome a two-run deficit on five occasions in 2013…the Titans totaled double-digit hits for the 23rd time in 2013...the Titans have scored five runs in an inning on 11 occasions in 2013…Michael Lorenzen's 17 saves rank second in single-season history and his 33 career saves rank third all-time.
Vanderhook Signs Five-Year Contract Extension: Second-year Cal State Fullerton head baseball coach Rick Vanderhook signed a five-year contract extension through the 2018 season, it was announced by Athletic Director Jim Donovan on April 15.
"I am privileged and grateful to continue as the head coach at Cal State Fullerton," Vanderhook said. "The coaching staff and our student-athletes work each and every day to continue the tradition of hard-nosed Titan baseball. We believe that this effort will result in the prolonged success of our program that our students, campus, community and fans deserve and have come to expect."
During the 2012 campaign, Vanderhook didn't miss a beat, taking the Titans to the Big West Conference championship, a top-20 national ranking for the majority of the season, and the Titans' 21st consecutive NCAA appearance. His rookie year also resulted in his first conference coach of the year award.
VOTE4CARLOS: Cal State Fullerton senior first baseman Carlos Lopez was selected as one of 10 NCAA baseball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award, it was announced on April 24.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in February. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2013 NCAA College World Series® in Omaha June 15-26.
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.
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.
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 39 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 51 (includes 2013)
2. Miami, Fla. 43 (includes 2013)
3. Cal State Fullerton 39 (includes 2013)
Clemson 39 (includes 2013)
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.
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:
• The fathers of Joe Navilhon (Larry Navilhon), Austin Kingsolver (Kurt Kingsolver) and Chad Wallach (Tim Wallach) each played on the 1979 national championship team from Cal State Fullerton.
• 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 53 former players make their major leagues debuts since their first products, Dan Whitmer and Tim Wallach, got there in 1980. Most recently, Khris Davis made his debut for Milwaukee on April 1. 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).