Fullerton Regional Preview
CATCH ALL THE ACTION
Television: All games of the Fullerton Regional will be available on ESPN3. Friday night's second game between Cal State Fullerton and Columbia will be aired on ESPNU. Check www.FullertonTitans.com for further updates.
Streaming Video: ESPN3
Audio Webcast: www.FullertonTitans.com for all of Cal State Fullerton's games during the regional.
Live Stats: Live in-game stats will be available at www.FullertonTitans.com
SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @BaseballTitans for daily updates during the 2013 season.
Cal State Fullerton claimed a No. 5 national seed for the 67th annual NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee announced Monday.
The Titans (48-8, 23-4 Big West), who won their 27th overall conference championship in 2013, will host No. 2 seed Arizona State, No. 3 seed New Mexico and No. 4 seed Columbia at the Fullerton Regional.
The Titans ended the regular season on a seven-game winning streak and with a record of 48-8 while finishing 23-4 in Big West Conference play.
On Sunday, May 19, the Titans claimed their 27th conference championship, including their fourth consecutive Big West title with a win over UC Irvine. The championship also clinched 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.
Cal State Fullerton will face No. 4-seed Columbia on Friday with game time set for 8 p.m. PT and set to be televised on ESPNU/ESPN3.
NATIONAL SEED HISTORY
The Titans' No. 5 national seed is the club's eighth seed since the Super Regional Era began in 1999. Fullerton has received a national seed for the first time since 2009, when the Titans were placed at No. 2 in the bracket and advanced to the College World Series.
The Titans previously received national seeds in 1999 (3), 2001 (1), 2003 (7), 2005 (6), 2006 (5), 2008 (5) and 2009 (2). When receiving a national seed, Fullerton has advanced to the College World Series on five of those seven occasions.
PLAYOFFS AT GOODWIN
Goodwin Field previously hosted in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. When playing at Goodwin, the Titans have won the Regional and moved on to Super Regional competition on eight occasions. In addition, when the Titans have hosted a regional, they have advanced to the College World Series on five occasions (2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009).
The Titans also boast a record of 31-9 during Regional play at Goodwin Field.
Cal State Fullerton last hosted a postseason event in 2011 when the Titans finished 1-2 at the Fullerton Regional with losses to Stanford and Illinois.
A BIT ABOUT COLUMBIA (No. 4 Seed)
• Location: New York, N.Y.
• Coach: Brett Boretti, Eighth Season
• Tournament Berth: Making their third NCAA tournament appearance overall and first since 2008, by winning the 2013 Ivy League Championship
• Series History: First Meeting
• The Lions enter Friday's opener on a seven-game win streak. Columbia has played just once since capturing the Ivy League title on May 4, defeating Sacred Heart at home on May 20 by a score of 9-2.
• Columbia has won 18 of its last 22 ball games, dating back to April 6. Three of the four losses during that span came by less than two runs, with Columbia posting a +67 run differential (120-53).
• As a team, Columbia ranks 57th in the nation with a 3.52 ERA and is 16th with an 8.1 strikeouts per nine inning average. Columbia has already set a new program record for strikeouts in a season with 335 on the year.
• Joey Donino leads the strikeout march, sitting down an average of 10.98 batters per nine frames, the 10th highest average in the country. David Speer, who averages 8.55 k's per nine innings, ranks 20th with five complete games this season. Speer's 2.17 ERA also cracks the nation's top 100 at 81st overall.
• At the dish, a trio of Lions post batting averages above .300. Sophomore Joey Falcone paces the Lions with a .333 average to go with his team-leading .535 slugging percentage. Senior Alex Black, who also has four saves on the year, boasts a .320 average and a team-best seven home runs and 29 RBI. Aaron Silbar will take a .314 clip at the plate into the weekend and is just one of two Lions with at least 10 doubles (11).
• Defensively, Columbia finished the year ranked second in the Ivy League with .970 fielding percentage. That mark is the best single-season fielding percentage in program history.
A BIT ABOUT NEW MEXICO (No. 3 Seed)
• Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
• Coach: Ray Birmingham, Sixth Season • Record: 203-152 at UNM
• Tournament Berth: The Lobos received an at-large to the NCAA Tournament after falling 9-4 to San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. UNM won the regular season crown with a 25-5 MWC record. The Lobos are making their fourth consecutive regional trip and fifth overall.
• Series History: Cal State Fullerton leads 7-2 and has won the last four meetings
• Postseason Series History: The Titans defeated New Mexico 11-3 on June 6, 2010 at the Fullerton Regional in an elimination game.
• UNM is one of only 18 teams in the nation to advance to an NCAA regional in each of the past four seasons. They are one of only four teams to come from outside a "BCS" conference.
A BIT ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (No. 2 Seed)
• Location: Tempe, Ariz.
• Coach: Tim Esmay, Fourth Year • Record at ASU: 166-68 (1)
• Tournament Berth: The Sun Devils earned an at-large berth by virtue of finishing tied for fourth in the Pac-12. ASU went a combined 12-5 this season against teams in the field (2-0 Arkansas, 2-0 Wichita State, 1-0 New Mexico, 2-1 Oregon, 2-1 UCLA, 2-1 Valparaiso and 1-2 Oregon State). • • Postseason History: ASU is making its 36th NCAA postseason appearance, which is tied for the fifth most among all schools, and will be playing in its 30th NCAA Regional. The Devils have now made 13 consecutive postseason appearances when the team has been eligible (2012 NCAA postseason ban).
* - Postseason appearance and victories in 2007 later vacated due to NCAA sanctions. Numbers do not reflect vacations.
• Series History: Cal State Fullerton trails Arizona State in the all-time series, 24-30.
• Postseason Series History: The series history between the Titans and Sun Devils in the postseason is tied 8-8. ASU and CSF last met in the postseason in 2005, with the Sun Devils taking 2-of-3 from in the Super Regional at Goodwin Field.
• The Sun Devils finished the regular season ranked first in the Pac-12 in slugging percentage (.450), hits (581), RBI (335), doubles (115), home runs (46) and total bases (884). They were second in batting average (.296), runs scored (360) and triples (25), and third in on-base percentage (.378).
BIG WEST RECAP
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 695-239-1 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.
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 13 straight weeks.
NOTES FROM 2013: Fullerton's 23 Big West wins were the most for a Big West team since Cal State Fullerton finished Big West play 25-5 in 1999…the Titans' .851 Big West winning percentage is the best for a Big West team since UC Irvine (22-2, .917) in 2009…the .851 league winning percentage is also the best for Fullerton since 2010 (21-3, .875)…Fullerton's 48-8 record is the best for the program after 56 games in Division I history which dates back to 1975…the Titans finished the regular season with single-digit losses for the second time since 1975, after the 1995 squad ended the regular season with a mark of 46-9…Fullerton swept eight weekend series in 2013, the most three-game series sweeps since the Titans swept nine series in 2006… Cal State Fullerton won 14 three-game weekend series in 2013, the 2013 Titan squad is the first since 1995 to win each of its three-game weekend series during a season.
OFF TO A HOT START: Currently with a record of 48-8, Fullerton's mark is the best for any Titan team after 56 games dating back to the start of Division I play in 1975. The NCAA RPI currently rates Fullerton at No. 6 in the country as the Titans boast an 9-2 record against top-25 teams and a 12-4 mark against teams that entered the week ranked in the NCAA RPI top 50. The closest Big West program to Fullerton's RPI ranking is Cal Poly at No. 24.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Cal State Fullerton leads the country heading into the postseason with 26 road wins.
STARTING STAFF: Cal State Fullerton's 2.56 ERA tops the Big West Conference and ranks sixth in the nation. The weekend trio of Thomas Eshelman (Friday), Justin Garza (Saturday) and Grahamm Wiest (Sunday), have combined for 44 starts, 295 innings pitched, 223 strikeouts while managing a 2.38 ERA.
ESHELMAN: During his rookie season, Thomas Eshelman has been named a Golden Spikes Semifinalist (one of two freshmen on the list) as well as the 2013 Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year.
In his first season for Cal State Fullerton, Eshelman, the Titans' Friday-night starter, posts a record of 11-2 in 14 starts (15 appearances) and his miniscule 1.63 ERA leads the Big West, while ranking 18th in the country. Among, rookie weekend starters, Eshelman's ERA ranks second in the nation.
Eshelman's 11 wins tie the Fullerton freshman record set by teammate Justin Garza and former Titan Tyler Pill (2009).
Eshelman leads the nation in walks allowed per nine innings (0.18), strikeout-to-walk-ratio (35.5) and WHIP (0.76). Eshelman has also totaled 11 quality starts in 2013.
In 99 and 2/3 innings, Eshelman has struck out 71 and walked just two.
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: Justin Garza, the Saturday starter for the third-ranked Titans, became the second straight Cal State Fullerton hurler to garner Big West Pitcher of the Year after Dylan Floro collected the honor in 2012.
Hailing from Ontario, Calif., Garza owns an 11-0 record and the Titans are a perfect 15-0 when he starts on the mound. He is currently tied for eighth in the country with his impressive win total. The win total also matches Eshelman and former Titan Tyler Pill (2009) for the freshman record of wins in a single season.
In 99 and 2/3 innings pitched, Garza has tallied a 2.08 ERA to rank fourth in the league, while striking out 80 batters.
He is the 12th Cal State Fullerton hurler to win Big West Pitcher of the Year honors.
Garza is also one of 22 players recognized on the College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year midseason watch list.
WIEST: Sophomore Grahamm Wiest (8-3, 3.48 , 72 K's) solidifies the rotation on Sunday. Wiest's 1.22 walks allowed per nine innings rank 21st in the country and his 5.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio rates 26th.
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 48-8 record. Fullerton's offense currently leads the Big West or is tied for the lead in the following offensive categories: batting average (.287), slugging percentage (.412), on-base percentage (.386), runs scored (356), RBIs (325), triples (24), home runs (34) and walks (243).
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 60-15 in the first inning in 2013, and Fullerton has outscored opponents 138-44 in the first three innings of games this year. Fullerton is 33-3 in 2013 when scoring first, and 15-5 when the opponent scores first.
OVER THE FENCES: In 2012, the Titans totaled just 10 home runs. After 15 weeks in 2013, Fullerton has more than tripled that total, hitting 34 round trippers. Michael Lorenzen leads the Titans with seven home runs. 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 as he was most recently named a Golden Spikes Award Semifinalist. In addition, Lorenzen was announced as one of 10 players named to the latest John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award watch list. Lorenzen was also named as a semifinalist for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's 2013 Dick Howser Trophy.
Lorenzen is 18-for-21 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 34 saves, a number that ties Nick Ramirez and Chad Cordero for first all-time at CSF.
In 21 appearances this season, Lorenzen has tossed 22 innings, striking out 17 and managing a 2.05 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .210 clip.
At the plate, Lorenzen is batting .335 and is tied for the conference lead with 50 RBIs while managing a .534 slugging percentage (2nd Big West), with 40 runs scored (T-8th Big West), 69 hits (10th Big West), 12 doubles, four triples (T-5th Big West) and a team-leading seven home runs (T-5th Big West). Lorenzen has also totaled 19 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.
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."
In two years, Vanderhook has made two NCAA Tournament appearances, won two Big West Conference championships, been voted the Big West Coach of the Year twice while totaling an 84-29 record.
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."
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 played 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 played 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).