Titans Open Big West Action as They Host UC Davis

Weekly Release (PDF)

FULLERTON, Calif. – No. 18 Cal State Fullerton opens Big West Conference play when they host UC Davis this weekend followed by a midweek affair with UCLA.

 

CATCH ALL THE ACTION: Friday's Big West Conference opener will be available for viewing courtesy of ESPN3 and all three games along with Tuesday's UCLA game will have a video live stream available. Live audio and live stats will also be available for all four games and the links can be found on the baseball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.

 

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

 

CAN I HAVE YOUR AUTOGRAPH: Titans fans attending Saturday's game against UC Davis will be able to secure an autograph from former Titan Tony Miranda (1994-95), a member of the 1995 national championship squad. Miranda hit .352 with 12 home runs, 53 RBIs and 21 doubles in that championship season and was a career .332 hitter with the Titans. He would go on to be drafted in the 24th round of the MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals.

 

Fans at Sunday's game will also be able to secure an autograph from a member of the current Titans squad as the team with hold a 30-minute autograph session at the conclusion of Sunday's game against UC Davis.

 

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.

 

CSF vs. UC DAVIS

First Year Played/Last Year Played            2005/2013

Overall Record           25-2

Current Streak          Won 16

Overall Conference Record (Big West)       17-1

Home Record 10-2

Road Record  15-0

Neutral Record          0-0

Longest Winning Streak       16 games (4/27/08 to present)

Longest Losing Streak           1 game, 2 times (last on 4/26/08)

Extra Innings 1-1

Most Runs Scored in a Game           23 runs (4/2/10)

Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent            8 runs (4/15/07)

Largest Margin of Victory     16 runs, 2 times (last on 4/2/10)

Largest Margin of Defeat     1 run, 2 times (last on 4/26/08)

 

UC DAVIS NOTES: The Aggies come into the weekend after defeating Saint Mary's 4-1 on Wednesday at home after getting swept in their Big West Conference opening series by Cal Poly. UC Davis is also looking to snap a 16-game losing streak against the Titans and are in search of their first win against Cal State Fullerton since April 26, 2008. The Aggies are led by senior Adam Young, who is batting .420 in 22 games this season. He has 29 hits and is second on the team with 13 runs scored. Kevin Barker has also had a solid season with the bat as he comes into the series with a .366 batting average and has started in all 25 of the team's games this year. As a team, UC Davis is hitting .275 and has seven triples, four of them by Steven Patterson.

 

CSF vs. UCLA

First Year Played/Last Year Played            1975/2013

Overall Record           63-30-2

Current Streak          Lost 2

NCAA Regional Record          4-2

NCAA Super Regional Record          3-4

Overall NCAA Postseason Record    7-6

Home Record 34-14-1

Road Record  27-15-1

Neutral Record          2-1

Longest Winning Streak       7 games, 2 times (last from 2/24/07 to 3/5/08)

Longest Losing Streak           4 games (5/7/86 to 4/22/87)

Extra Innings 2-5

Most Runs Scored in a Game           19 runs (4/22/98)

Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent            16 runs, 2 times (last on 4/22/87)

Largest Margin of Victory     15 runs (2/22/84)

Largest Margin of Defeat     10 runs (2/16/82)

 

UCLA NOTES: The Bruins return to Goodwin Field for the first time since their victory in the Super Regionals over the Titans in 2013 en route to the baseball program's first national championship. The Bruins have also excelled in midweek games, having won 21 of their last 27 games dating back to 2012. They were 7-4 in midweek games last season and are currently 4-2 this year, defeating Loyola Marymount on the road, 5-3, in their last midweek contest on April 1.

 

VERSUS THE PAC-12: The Titans will play their eighth game against a team from the PAC-12 conference this season. They are 5-2 in their previous seven games this year, beating Washington State in two of three games to open the season. They dropped a midweek contest on the road at USC but followed that up by scoring a three-game sweep at Oregon.

 

ESHELMAN CONTINUES TO SHINE: Sophomore Thomas Eshelman comes into his Friday night start against the Aggies with a 5-0 record and a 1.29 ERA. He has not allowed an earned run in 19 consecutive innings and has gone at least seven innings in all seven of his starts this year. Eshelman has also continued his habit of pounding the strike zone and leads the nation with a 41:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

 

STREAKING: Junior J.D. Davis currently on a six-game hitting streak, matching the longest by any Titans player this season. In his last 10 games, Davis is 15-for-39 (.385) with four doubles, one triple and 10 RBIs. He's slugging .538 and has a .467 on-base percentage and is also perfect with two stolen bases in two attempts.

 

THE KOBY SYSTEM: Junior Koby Gauna has been outstanding for the Titans in whatever role he has been called upon. The right-hander is currently 1-1 with a 1.60 ERA in 33.2 innings pitched, the biggest workload for any Titans pitcher with one start or less. In his only start of the year, Gauna allowed one unearned run on three hits in 5 and 2/3 innings, walked one and struck out four. He is also tied for the team lead with three saves after closing out the Titans 5-1 victory at Wichita State on Mar. 28. Gauna has allowed seven runs in 11 appearances and has struck out 31 hitters, tying him for third most on the team. He has allowed just four walks and his 7.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks him 29th in the nation, one of three Titans ranked in the top-30.

 

NO FREE PASSES HERE: Through games played until March 31, the Titans pitching staff has made sure to pound the strike zone. Cal State Fullerton's pitching ranks No. 1 in the nation in walks allowed per nine innings, giving up just 1.38 free passes a game in 228 innings pitched. Houston is second with a 1.45 walks per game avearge.

 

TOP-1O STAFF: The Cal State Fullerton pitching staff continues to impress as they are ranked in the top-10 of a number of categories. Along with leading the nation in walks allowed per nine innings, Titans pitching also ranks first in strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Titans have fanned 207 batters in 228 innings while allowing just 35 walks, a mark of 5.91. Houston ranks second with a 4.67 mark. The Titans are also ranked third in the nation in WHIP (0.99), and are sixth in the country with a 2.13 ERA,.Amongst Big West teams, the Titans rank first in ERA and second in opponents batting average as Titans pitchers are allowing hitters to hit .229 against them this season.

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Cal State Fullerton will have 12 of its games broadcast on ESPN3 this season, the Big West Conference announced Wednesday. A total of 19 Big West baseball games will be carried on ESPN3 with the Titans making up the bulk of the schedule beginning with this weekend's non-conference series against Long Beach State at Goodwin Field.

 

Of the 12 Titans games on ESPN3, 11 of them will take place at Goodwin Field. The Titans Big West Conference opener against UC Davis on April 4 will be showcased on the network. Other games on the television schedule for the network include the opening game of the Titans home series against Hawaii on April 25, the entire series with UC Riverside from May 9-11 and the final series of the season against Cal State Northridge from May 22-24. The lone road game for the Titans featured on ESPN3 will be their series opener at UC Irvine on May 16.

 

SUPPORTING THE TITANS: According to this week's attendance report released by the NCBWA, Cal State Fullerton is ranked in the top-30 in avearage attendance. The Titans had drawn a total of 27,823 fans to Goodwin Field at the time of the report released Monday, ranking them 32nd in the nation. The Titans are also averaging 2,140 fans per game, good for 30th in the country.

 

CENTURY MARK: Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook earned his 100th career head coaching victory when the Titans edged Long Beach State 6-5 on Sunday afternoon at Goodwin Field. Vanderhook became the second fastest head coach in Titans baseball history to reach the mark, doing so in 139 games. Augie Garrido reached 100 wins in 135 games and it took George Horton 147 games to earn his 100th win with the Titans.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.