May 8, 2014

Titans Return Home to Face UC Riverside on ESPN3

Weekly Release (PDF)

FULLERTON, Calif.  – After recording back-to-back shutouts to salvage a four-game road swing, the Titans return to the friendly confines of Goodwin Field to host UC Riverside for a three-game set, all of which will be broadcast on ESPN3.

CATCH ALL THE ACTION: All three games against UC Riverside will be broadcast on ESPN3 and will also be available on the WatchESPN app. Live stats and live audio will also be available for all three games. Links can be found on the schedule page at FullertonTitans.com

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

THANKS MOM!: The Titans will celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday as they welcome the team moms for both Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside for recognition prior to the series finale between the Titans and Highlanders. The mothers will be presented with flowers on the field prior to the national anthem. In addition, mothers attending the game Sunday will be handed a carnation while supplies last.

CAN I HAVE YOUR AUTOGRAPH?: Fans attending Saturday's game between the Titans and Highlanders are welcome to get an autograph from former Titans Brian Loyd and Jon Smith. Loyd (1993-96) was a member of the 1995 national championship squad and batted .337 for the Titans in 146 career games. He had his best season in 1995, batting .360 while playing in all 66 games. He blasted 10 home runs and drove in 73 RBIs to go along with 12 stolen bases that season.

Smith (1998-2001) is third on the Titans all-time career starts list with 52 and is tied for ninth all-time with 29 victories. Smith pitched in 291 and 1/3 innings in his Titans career and notched 223 career strikeouts. 

IN THE POLLS: This week, the Titans dropped out of the USA Today Coaches' poll and received votes in the NCBWA Top-30 poll.

RPI WATCH: According to the official NCAA RPI report released Tuesday, Cal State Fullerton's RPI dropped to No. 73 after losing three of five last week.

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 prior to 2014.

CSF vs. UC RIVERSIDE

First Year Played/Last Year Played            1978/2013

Overall Record           34-19

Current Streak          Lost 1

Overall Conference (Big West) Record       20-16

Big West Conference Tournament Record 4-2

Home Record 20-6

Road Record  12-14

Neutral Record          0-0

Longest Winning Streak       9 games (3/28/09 to 5/18/12)

Longest Losing Streak           4 games (5/12/02 to 5/4/03)

Extra Innings 2-2

Most Runs Scored in a Game           18 runs (3/29/09)

Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent  13 runs (5/2/03)

Largest Margin of Victory     17 runs (3/29/09)

Largest Margin of Defeat     10 runs (5/2/03)

UC RIVERSIDE: The Highlanders are currently fourth in the Big West Conference, one game up on the Titans. They scored a pair of wins over ranked opponents last week as they defeated No. 27 UNLV, 8-2, and then upended No. 3 Cal Poly on Friday in their series opener. Their playoff hopes are very much alive as their RPI jumped to No. 77 in this week's report. They will be looking to improve that number when they travel to Goodwin Field this weekend to face the Titans, a team they have beaten in three of the last five meetings. But the Highlanders have struggled on the road this season. They have gone 5-14 away from The Plex this season.

The Highlanders have already stolen 60 bases this season, matching their total for the entire 2013 campaign. The team is hitting a collective .282, led by Francisco Tellez and his .327 batting average. Devyn Bolasky is hitting .322 while Thomas Walker and Nick Vilter are batting .318 and .306 respectively. Vilter has also provided the power for the Highlanders lineup, blasting nine home runs so far this season, leading the team. As a team, the Highlanders have hammered out 19 home runs, leading the Big West.

YOU WILL GET NOTHING AND LIKE IT: The Titans have won two straight games by way of shutout after blanking Long Beach State, 6-0, and following that with a 1-0 shutout of UCLA, both on the road. It is the 17th time in the program's NCAA Division I history that they have recorded back-to-back shutouts (15 in the regular season, twice in Regionals). They have never recorded three straight.

The last time they recorded back-to-back shutouts was on Apr. 27-28 of last season at Hawaii. The Titans pitching staff would go on to throw 21 consecutive scoreless innings during that streak. The Titans pitching staff is currently one out away from matching that as they have pitched 20 and 2/3 scoreless innings dating back to May 3. In 2006, Titans pitchers went 26 and 1/3 innings without allowing a run, the longest streak since 1992. 

QUALITY WORK: The Titans have had 28 quality starts by their starting pitching this season. Thomas Eshelman leads the group with 10 while Grahamm Wiest is close behind with nine outings of going at least six innings and allowing three runs or less. The Titans have also gotten six straight quality starts by their weekend rotation dating back to their series against Hawaii.

THOMAS GUIDE: Thomas Eshelman is having one of the greatest seasons by a Cal State Fullerton pitcher. He is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio (23.00) and walks allowed per nine innings (0.29). Both of those marks would rank second on the Cal State Fullerton single-season record book behind only one player; Thomas Eshelman, the freshman edition. He is also ranked sixth in the nation in WHIP (0.82) and 14th in the country with four complete games. Both of those marks rank second and first in the Big West respectively.

GRAHAMM-AR SCHOOL: Redshirt junior and beard enthusiast Grahamm Wiest is having his best season as a Titan. The right-hander currently boasts a miniscule 1.49 ERA in 11 starts, ranking him 26th in the nation and fourth in the Big West. He is ranked fourth in the country in both strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.71) and walks allowed per nine innings (0.74). He pitched his first career complete-game shutout in his last outing against Long Beach State after allowing one run in 10 innings pitched in his previous start against Hawaii. He has also made nine quality starts in his 11 outings this season.

CLAY-MATION: Outfielder Clay Williamson has been an on-base machine for the Titans over the last month. He has reached base safely in 17 consecutive games, tying the longest streak by a Titans player this season after Tanner Pinkston reached in 17 straight earlier in the year. Williamson is also in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak. During that 17-game stretch, the junior is hitting .349 with a .417 on-base percentage and is slugging .397, the second best mark on the team in that span behind Matt Chapman. Williamson has 22 hits in 63 at-bats, increasing his overall batting average to .289 after starting the streak with a .253 mark. He has walked five times to go along with three hit-by-pitches in those 17 games.

HIGH FIVE: The Titans pitching staff has been pounding the strike zone all season and the Big West rankings prove it. The top-5 marks in strikeout-to-walk ratio all belong to Titans pitchers. Thomas Eshelman leads the conference along with the country with a mark of 23.00. Grahamm Wiest is second in the conference and fourth in the nation with a 9.71 mark while Koby Gauna comes in nationally at No. 11 while holding down the No. 3 spot in the Big West with a 6.67 ratio. Phil Bickford (5.80) and Justin Garza (5.67) round out the top-five in the conference while ranking No. 29 and 32 in the country respectively.

THE STREAKS CONTINUE: The Titans currently have three players with prolonged hitting streaks, led by shortstop Keegan Dale. The senior from Riverside has hit safely in 11 consecutive games, the longest hitting streak by a Titan this season. Clay Williamson is riding an eight-game hitting streak to go along with his stretch of reaching base safely in 17 straight games. David Olmedo-Barrera has now hit in six straight games after collecting a hit in Tuesday's win at UCLA.

CHAPMAN CONTINUES TO ROLL: Third baseman Matt Chapman has been swinging a hot bat, capped off by a career-night on Apr. 27 when he went 5-for-5 in the Titans 17-4 win over Hawaii. In his last 10 games, Chapman is batting .371 with 13 hits including three doubles and 10 RBIs. He's slugging .543 during that stretch and boasts a .489 on-base percentage. He's lifted his batting average from .267 to .294 during that stretch. He's also been very disciplined at the plate, drawing seven of his 19 walks this season during that 10-game stretch.

NO FREE PASSES HERE: Through games played up to May 7, 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 417.1 innings pitched. Houston is second with a 1.80 walks per game average. In their sweep of Hawaii, Titans pitchers did not allow a walk for the first time in a three-game series this season and allowed just one free pass in their series at Long Beach State.

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 351 batters in 417 innings while allowing just 64 walks, a mark of 5.48. TCU ranks second with a 3.79 mark. The Titans are also ranked second in the nation in WHIP (1.00), and are fourth in the country with a 2.11 ERA.

RECYCLED NOTES

GIVE THEM A 10: Thomas Eshelman became the first Titans pitcher to toss 10 innings since Jason Windsor did so in a 2-1 victory over Jared Weaver and Long Beach State on May 21, 2004. Eshelman tossed a complete-game shutout in the team's 10-inning walk-off victory over Hawaii on Friday night. Two days later, Grahamm Wiest followed Eshelman's lead as the red-shirt junior went 10 frames and throwing just 106 pitches in the process. The Titans were unable to reward Wiest with a pitcher-win but they would eventually secure the sweep over Hawaii on Jared Deacon's walk-off bunt-single in the 11th inning.

ESHELMAN EARNS FOUR PITCHER OF THE WEEK NODS: Sophomore Thomas Eshelman received four pitcher of the week awards for the week of Apr. 21-27 after pitching a 10-inning complete-game shutout against Hawaii on Apr. 25. Eshelman was named one of the Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week by Collegiate Baseball and the National Pitcher of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). The Carlsbad, Calif. native also received recognition from the NCAA as one of the top performers of the week and also received Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week honors.

DIEMER EARNS ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Titans outfielder Austin Diemer was named to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-District VIII First Team on Thursday. It was his second consecutive selection after being named to the team in 2013 as a sophomore. The Communications/Broadcast Journalism major currently boasts a 3.77 GPA and has earned Dean's List honors in each of his semesters as a Titan.

WORKING OVERTIME: The Titans have played nine extra-inning games in 2014, the most since the 2004 National Championship squad played seven. They are currently 4-5 in extra-inning games this season. In addition, the Titans have played the longest game in the program's history (19 innings on Feb. 21 vs. San Francisco) dating back to 1984, the last set of box scores on file at Cal State Fullerton. The Titans have also played 33 extra frames in 2014, the equivalent of three full games and two-thirds of another.

GOLDEN SPIKES MIDSEASON WATCH LIST: Cal State Fullerton sophomore right-hander Thomas Eshelman and junior two-way player J.D. Davis were named to the Golden Spikes Award 50-man midseason watch list by USA Baseball on April 10, bringing the organization one step closer to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country.

Cal State Fullerton was tied for the most nominees on the midseason watch list with eight other teams including Florida State, Oregon State and Virginia.

Eshelman appears on the midseason watch list for the second consecutive season. He was a semifinalist for the award as a freshman in 2013. Vanderbilt's Tyler Beede and Aaron Nola of Louisiana State were also semifinalists in 2013 that made the 2014 midseason watch list. Eshelman was also named to the preseason watch list to start this season, one of four Titans named to that list along with Davis, Matt Chapman and Justin Garza.

As for Davis, the junior was also named to the preseason watch list and has consistently been one of the team's best hitters. He also serves as the team's closer out of the bullpen.

The Titans have produced three Golden Spikes winners in the program's history: Tim Wallach (1979), Phil Nevin (1992) and Mark Kotsay (1995).

The midseason list sees the departure of sophomore pitcher Justin Garza and junior third baseman Matt Chapman after each was named to the preseason watch list.

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 the 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 33rd in average attendance. The Titans had drawn an average of 2,053 fans in 22 home games this season. The Titans have attracted a total of 45,176 fans to Goodwin Field at the time of the report released Monday, ranking them 38th in the nation.

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.

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    WashingtonNationals

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.