March 13, 2014

Titans Return Home to Host Saint Mary’s, UNLV

Weekly Release (PDF)

FULLERTON, Calif. – After playing seven straight games on the road, the Titans return to Goodwin Field this week to host Saint Mary's for a three-game set this weekend followed by a midweek contest against UNLV on March 18.

 

CATCH ALL THE ACTION: A live video and audio feed will be available for all four games this week in addition to live stats. Links are available by visiting fullertontitans.com.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @BaseballTitans for daily updates during the 2014 season.

 

CSF vs. SAINT MARY'S

First Year Played/Last Year Played            1982/1987

Overall Record           7-2-1

Current Streak          Lost 1

Home Record 7-2-1

Road Record  0-0

Neutral Record          0-0

Longest Winning Streak       3 games, 2 times (last from 2/9/84 to 2/4/86)

Longest Losing Streak           1 game, 2 times (last on 2/5/87)

Most Runs Scored in a Game           13 runs (2/18/83)

Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent            7 runs (3/6/82)

Largest Margin of Victory     10 runs, 2 times (last on 2/4/86)

Largest Margin of Defeat     2 runs (6/6/82)

 

SAINT MARY'S NOTES: The Gaels were picked to finish ninth out of the 10 teams in the West Coast Conference in the preseason by a vote of the conference head coaches. The Gaels received 21 points, two behind Pacific and eight points ahead of Santa Clara. Friday's matchup with the Titans will be the first since Feb. 5, 1987 when the Gaels recorded a 1-0 victory. It will also be the Gaels first game at Goodwin Field, which held its first game on April 18, 1992.

 

The Gaels come into this weekend's series after taking two of three from Penn State and having won three of their last five games. Anthony Gonsolin leads the Gaels offense with a .370 batting average, having started all 15 games. He has five triples and three doubles and boasts a .611 slugging percentage.

 

VERSUS THE WEST COAST CONFERENCE: The Titans hold a 294-101-3 record against teams currently in the West Coast Conference. All-time, the Titans have a winning record against all 10 teams in the conference. This season, the Titans are 2-2 against teams from the WCC after taking two of three from San Francisco and then dropping a road game at San Diego on Tuesday in extra innings.

 

CSF vs. UNLV

First Year Played/Last Year Played            1979/2008

Overall Record           70-18

Current Streak          Won 3

SCBA Record  3-1

Big West Conference Record           67-17

Overall Conference (SCBA and Big West) Record 33-11

Big West Tournament Record         1-1

Home Record 41-7

Road Record  28-10

Neutral Record          1-1

Longest Winning Streak       16 games (4/10/92 to 3/31/96)

Longest Losing Streak           4 games (4/21/85 to 4/6/86)

Extra Innings 3-1

Most Runs Scored in a Game           24 runs, 2 times (last on 4/14/89)

Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent            16 runs (4/15/89)

Largest Margin of Victory     20 runs (4/14/03)

Largest Margin of Defeat     10 runs (4/15/89)

 

UNLV NOTES: The Rebels were picked to finish third in the Mountain West Conference during the preseason by a vote of the conference head coaches. They received one first place vote and 40 points overall, three points behind both New Mexico and San Diego State. This will be the first meeting between UNLV and Cal State Fullerton since 2008 when the Titans swept a three game series from the Rebels at Goodwin Field.

 

The Rebels have been ranked as high as No. 29 by Collegiate Baseball in their Week 1 poll and received votes in the NCBWA poll released on March 10. They entered the weekend tied for first in the Mountain West, winning five of their first six contests in the conference and boasting an 11-4 overall record. Their pitching staff held a 2.12 ERA going into the weekend and tallied 123 strikeouts in 15 games.

 

VERSUS THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE: The Titans hold a 225-81 overall record against the seven teams currently in the Mountain West Conference, holding a winning record over six of the teams while having never played against Air Force. Tuesday's game will mark the first of three games for the Titans against a team from the MWC, with the other two coming against Fresno State on April 23 (away) and April 30 (home).

 

BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST: Titans backstop Jared Deacon was one of 43 catchers named to the initial Johnny Bench Award Watch List on March 6. He was the only catcher from the Big West Conference named to the list. He is looking to become the first Titans catcher to win the award since Kurt Suzuki took home the honor in 2004.

 

DALE ON A ROLL: Senior shortstop Keegan Dale has started and reached safely in nine consecutive games after missing the team's first five contests. He leads the team with a .444 on-base percentage and is second with a .355 batting average. He has 11 hits in 31 at-bats and has drawn five walks. He has also swiped two bases in three attempts.

 

GETTING BACK ON TRACK: Cal State Fullerton has lost three straight games after winning six consecutive games, including a sweep of then No. 9 Oregon. It is the first time the Titans have dropped three-in-a-row during head coach Rick Vanderhook's three years with the team and the first time the team has lost three straight since 2011, when they suffered a sweep on the road at LSU followed by a midweek loss at Texas A&M.

 

FRIENDLY CONFINES: The Titans return home for their first series at Goodwin Field since Feb. 21-23. They hit the road for seven straight games, winning their first four before dropping their last three away from Fullerton. The Titans have a 4-2 record at home while they are 4-4 away from Goodwin Field so far this season.

 

TOP-1O STAFF: The Cal State Fullerton pitching staff was ranked No. 10 in the nation in Earned Run Average through games as of March 9. Titans pitchers boasted a 1.86 ERA, having allowed just 26 earned runs through 126.0 innings pitched. In addition, the Titans were ranked No. 2 in the nation with a 6.28 strikeout-to-walk ratio after fanning 113 batters in those 126 innings while issuing just 18 free passes. The Titans also rank No. 3 in the country in walks-per-nine innings pitched (1.29) and No. 5 in WHIP (0.92).

 

TWO OUTS? NO PROBLEM: The Titans have continued to make it difficult for the opposition to get out of an inning. They are hitting .271 with two outs, collecting 48 hits in such situations this season.

 

BRING 'EM IN: Cal State Fullerton is currently hitting .305 with runners in scoring position, led by team RBI leader Greg Velazquez who is 7-for-18 (.389 BA) with a runner on second base or third base.

 

FANNING THE FLAMES: Cal State Fullerton pitchers are averaging 8.09 strikeouts a game, good for second amongst teams in the Big West Conference. They have recorded 122 strikeouts in 135.2 innings this season and also lead the conference in Earned Run Average (2.06).

 

MINI-BAT GIVEAWAY: Fans attending the series finale between the Titans and Saint Mary's on Sunday will receive a mini-bat while supplies last courtesy of the Crowne Plaza Fullerton.

 

SUPPORTING THE TITANS: The Cal State Fullerton faithful have come out in force to support their Titans through two weekend series at Goodwin Field. Against San Francisco, the Titans drew 5,790 fans to Goodwin, with a series-high 2,144 taking in the historic 19-inning game on Friday night.

 

The Titans are averaging 2,183 fans per game at Goodwin Field, ranking them No. 27 in the nation. They have drawn a grand total of 13,099 fans, ranking the Titans No. 26 in the nation.

 

SMART BASEBALL: Junior outfielder Austin Diemer was named the Big West Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, it was announced on March 3.

 

In 2013, Diemer was named to the Capital One Academic All-District VIII Team and to the Big West Conference All-Academic Team. The Communications/Broadcast Journalism major participates in the annual "Challenger Clinic", working closely with individuals with special needs,  and he volunteered at the Barnyard Wiffle Ball Invitational. Carrying a 3.77 GPA, Diemer has earned Dean's List honors in each of his semesters as a Titan.

 

WATCH LIST: Matt Chapman, J.D. Davis, Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza were each named to the 2014 preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List announced by USA Baseball on Friday as the organization marked its first step toward identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country.

 

Cal State Fullerton's four representatives are tied with reigning PAC-12 champions Oregon State for the most nominations for any school. They also make up half of the Big West Conference's eight representatives on the list.

 

After a stellar freshman campaign on the mound in 2013, Eshelman makes his first appearance on the initial Golden Spikes Watch List but he is no stranger to the award as he was named to the Golden Spikes mid season watch list and was a semifinalist for the award last season. Eshelman earned seven All-American nods and three freshman pitcher of the year awards in 2013.

 

The 6-foot-3 right-hander set a new NCAA record in 2013 with a 0.23 walks-per-nine innings mark. He also set a new Titans record with a 27.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio after fanning 83 batters while issuing just three free passes. His 115.2 innings pitched and 1.48 ERA also set new Titans freshman records while his ERA also ranks second in Cal State Fullerton all-time single-season history. In 2014, Eshelman has already piled up the accolades as he's received preseason All-American First Team selections from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball.

 

As for Garza, he earns his first appearance on the Golden Spikes Watch List after an outstanding rookie season of his own. The Ontario, Calif. native also earned seven All-American nods in 2013 and was named the Big West Conference's Pitcher of the Year.  Garza finished 2013 with a perfect 12-0 record, tying the Fullerton record for most wins by a freshman and becoming just the fourth Titans pitcher to record at least 12 wins without a defeat, the first since Matt Sorenson in 1999. Garza finished the year with a 2.03 ERA and struck out a team-high 95 batters. In the preseason, Garza has received first team selections to the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball All-America teams and a third-team selection in Baseball America's Preseason All-American team.

 

Junior infielder Matt Chapman had a stellar sophomore year for the Titans, earning a 2013 Big West Second All-Conference Team selection after hitting .285 with five home runs and putting up a .457 slugging percentage. During the summer, Chapman became the 21st Titan to play for the U.S.A. Collegiate National Team. He was named a preseason Second-Team All-American by Baseball America, which also tabbed him the No. 14 junior in the nation and top prospect from the BWC for the 2014 MLB Draft.

 

J.D. Davis rounds out the list of Titans on the 2014 Golden Spikes Watch List. In 2013, Davis earned a Big West First Team All-Conference selection after hitting .318 with 11 doubles and 50 RBIs. He launched four home runs and slugged .436 to go along with a .407 on-base percentage. On the mound, Davis was a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities and whiffed 17 batters in 23 innings pitched. He finished the season 1-2 with a 2.74 ERA. During the preseason, Davis was named a Second-Team All-American by Baseball America, which also pegged him as the No. 20 junior in the nation and the No. 3 prospect from the BWC for the 2014 MLB Draft.

 

PICKED TO WIN IT: Cal State Fullerton was picked 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, it was released by the league on Jan. 30.

The Titans were voted to defend their Big West title as the program garnered eight of the nine available first-place votes.

Fullerton, winner of the past four league titles, captured the 2013 league crown with a 23-4 mark, one game ahead of Cal Poly. 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.

 

TITANS AND THE BIG WEST: Overall, Cal State Fullerton has totaled 27 conference championships dating back to 1975, including 11 in the last 15 years. With last season's title, the Titans made their 35th postseason appearance as well. 

Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 695-239-1 (.743) overall conference record over 39 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, has won two straight Big West crowns since 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 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.

 

BUILDING ON EXCELLENCE: Sophomore Thomas Eshelman enters his sophomore year after an outstanding freshman campaign which earned him seven All-American nods and three freshman pitcher of the year awards. Eshelman's rookie season was one of the best in Fullerton history as he set a new Titans single-season record with a 27.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio after striking out 86 while issuing just three walks in 115.2 innings pitched. His 0.23 walks per nine innings set a new NCAA record and he also He also set Fullerton freshman records in innings pitched and ERA with a 1.48 mark, which ranks second in Cal State Fullerton all-time single season history.

 

TITANS PRESEASON HONORS: The Titans will enter the 2014 season with a boatload of accolades on their belt. Cal State Fullerton was selected as the No. 1 team in the nation by three preseason polls (USA Today Coaches, Collegiate Baseball, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association) to go along with a No. 2 rank in the Perfect Game Preseason Top 25 poll and a No. 4 selection in Baseball America's preseason poll.

Along with the team accolades, several Titans received preseason All-American honors. Thomas Eshelman received preseason All-American First Team selections from the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball.

Justin Garza was selected to the first team on the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-American teams and a third-team selection in Baseball America's Preseason All-American team.

Matt Chapman and J.D. Davis were each named Second-Team Preseason All-Americans by Baseball America.

 

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: In 2014, the Titans will play five opponents that advanced to the 2013 Division I Baseball tournament (Oregon, San Francisco, San Diego, Wichita State, UCLA). Of those opponents, UCLA advanced to the Super Regionals where they defeated the Titans on their way to the College World Series championship…CSF will play three opponents that finished 2013 ranked in Baseball America's Top-25 (No. 1 UCLA, No. 17 Oregon, No. 23 San Diego)…four of Fullerton's opponents were ranked in the top-50 of the NCAA's final top-50  2013 RPI ratings (No. 9 UCLA, No. 11 Oregon, No. 28 Cal Poly, No. 39 San Diego ).

 

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

2.         Miami, Fla.      43

3.         Cal State Fullerton    39

            Clemson         39

 

THE ROOKIES: Cal State Fullerton's 2014 class was ranked the No. 12 recruiting class in the nation, according to Baseball America's annual evaluation.

Under third-year head coach Rick Vanderhook and recruiting coordinator Mike Kirby, the Titans have welcomed 11 freshmen to Goodwin Field. Fullerton's 2014 class was the only one ranked amongst Big West Conference opponents and one of only three programs from California ranked in the top-25 along with No. 22 Loyola Marymount and No. 24 USC. Collegiate Baseball ranked Fullerton's 2014 recruiting class at No. 7.

From Baseball America's top-25 breakdown, two of Fullerton's 2014 opponents also had ranked recruiting classes; No. 7 Oregon (Feb. 28-Mar. 2) and No. 24 USC (Feb. 18, May 20).

 

DRAFT DODGERS: Seven Titans on the current roster have been selected previously in the MLB First-Year Players draft. Phil Bickford was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays while Timmy Richards was taken in the 40th round by the Miami Marlins.

 

TITANS IN THE DRAFT (by round):

Phil Bickford  2013   1st round       Toronto Blue Jays

J.D. Davis        2011   5th 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

Timmy Richards        2013   40th round    Miami Marlins

David Olmedo-Barrera         2012   40th round    Oakland Athletics

 

TOP 50 FRESHMAN: Phil Bickford was ranked as the top freshman by Baseball America in the publication's evaluation of the top 50 freshmen in college baseball released in early February. In addition, Bickford was named the top prospect in the Big West Conference for the 2016 MLB Draft by Perfect Game, who predicted he would be selected in the first or second round.

 

TOP 100 FRESHMAN: Phil Bickford was also ranked as the top freshman in the country in Perfect Game's evaluation of the top 100 freshman in the country.

 

TOP 50 SOPHOMORES: Ontario, Calif. native Justin Garza was ranked No. 12 by Baseball America in the publication's evaluation of the top 50 sophomores in college baseball. Garza, the 2013 Big West Pitcher of the Year, was also picked as the No. 1 prospect in the Big West Conference for the 2015 MLB Draft. Thomas Eshelman, the 2013 Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year, was considered the third-best prospect in the Big West Conference for the 2015 draft.

 

TOP 100 SOPHOMORES: Justin Garza and Thomas Eshelman were also ranked in Perfect Game's evaluation of the top 100 sophomores in the country. Garza came in at No. 17 while Eshelman was ranked at No. 30. In addition, Perfect Game ranked Garza and Eshelman as the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects respectively from the Big West Conference for the 2015 MLB Draft.

 

TOP 50 JUNIORS: Matt Chapman was ranked No. 14 by Baseball America in the publication's evaluation of the top 50 juniors in college baseball while J.D. Davis was ranked No 20. Chapman, a 2013 Big West All Second Team selection, was also selected as the No. 1 prospect from the Big West Conference for the 2014 MLB Draft. Davis, a 2013 Big West First Team Selection, was ranked as the No. 3 prospect from the Big West Conference for the 2014 MLB Draft.

 

TOP 100 JUNIORS: Matt Chapman and J.D. Davis were also ranked in the top 40 of Perfect Game's evaluation of the top 100 juniors in college baseball. Chapman was ranked No. 16 while Davis placed No. 40. Furthermore, Perfect Game ranked Chapman as the top prospect from the Big West Conference for the 2014 MLB Draft and predicted he would be drafted in the first or second round. Davis was ranked as the fourth best prospect from the Big West Conference for the 2014 MLB Draft and was predicted to be taken in the second or third round.

 

TITANS IN THE BIG LEAGUES: The Titans have had 53 former players ascend to the major leagues since their first products, Dan Whitmer and Tim Wallach, got there in 1980. Khris Davis became the 53rd player in 2013 when he made his MLB debut on April 1st in a pinch-hitting appearance for the Milwaukee Brewers. Davis would go on to play in 56 games and make 30 starts in left field. He hit .279 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs in 136 at-bats. He posted 10 doubles and a .949 OPS. Davis was one of eight former Titans (Kurt Suzuki, Justin Turner, Ricky Romero, Vinnie Pestano, Brett Pill, Reed Johnson, Mark Kotsay) to play a MLB game in 2013. Davis is currently listed at the top of the Brewers depth chart in left field for the 2014 season. In his three seasons (2007-09) as a Titan, Davis played in 150 games, starting in 122 of them, an hit .296 with 20 home runs and 92 RBIs. He also stole 32 bases in 36 attempts.