IRVINE, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton was selected as the favorite to win the 2014 Big West title as selected by the nine conference head coaches that voted in the Big West Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released Thursday.
The Titans were picked to win their fifth consecutive conference title as the program received eight of nine first-place votes and accumulated 73 total points.
Fullerton captured the 2013 conference title thanks to a 23-4 record, six games ahead of second-place Cal Poly. The Titans 23 conference victories were the most since 1999, when Fullerton went 25-5.
Their .851 winning percentage in the conference was the best for the Titans since the 2010 squad finished the year 21-3 for an .875 mark. It was also the best in the Big West since 2009 when UC Irvine finished the year with a .917 winning percentage after scoring 22 victories in their 24 conference games.
Nipping at the Titans heels in the preseason poll is Cal Poly who falls in at second place with 68 total points, just five behind the Titans, who took two of three games against the Mustangs in San Luis Obispo last season.
The rest of the poll shapes out with UC Santa Barbara (60 points), UC Irvine (55 points, one first-place vote), Long Beach State (49 points), Hawai'i (33 points), UC Riverside (27 points), Cal State Northridge (25), and UC Davis (15 points).
The poll adds to the accolades the Titans have been accumulating during the preseason as they have been highly ranked in several national polls including: Baseball America (4), Perfect Game (2) and a pair of No. 1 rankings from Collegiate Baseball and the USA Today Preseason Coaches Top 25 poll.
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has won 27 conference championships dating back to 1975, including 11 in the last 15 seasons. They won three PCAA conference titles (1975-76, 87), eight straight SCBA championships (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 522-193 (.730; 31 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record.
Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, has won two straight Big West crowns in his first two years at the helm, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Augie Garrido (14 conference titles), Larry Cochell (1), George Horton (7) and Dave Serrano (3).
In 39 seasons, the Titans have amassed a 695-239-2 (.743) conference record and made their 35th postseason appearance after last season's title.
The Titans will open the season on Feb. 14 when they host Washington State for a three-game series at Goodwin Field.
Season ticket packages and single-game tickets are currently on sale for the 2014 season.
2014 Coaches Poll Results
- Cal State Fullerton (8) 73
- Cal Poly 68
- UC Santa Barbara 60
- UC Irvine (1) 55
- Long Beach State 49
- Hawai'i 33
- UC Riverside 27
- Cal State Northridge 25
- UC Davis 15