May 21, 2014

Titans Host Cal State Northridge on ESPN3 to Close Out Regular Season

Weekly Release (PDF)

FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton hosts Cal State Northridge as both teams close out their Big West Conference and regular season schedule at Goodwin Field.

CATCH ALL THE ACTION: Fans can catch all three games of the Titans final regular season series against Cal State Northridge on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. In addition, live stats and a live audio feed will be available for all three games. 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: Fans attending Saturday's finale against the Matadors will be treated to an autograph session with former Titans Mike Parisi and Brent Billinsgley. Parisi (1992-94) recorded four shutouts in 1994, which is currently tied with Kirk Sarloos for the most shutouts by a Titans pitcher in a single season. He led the team with 103 strikeouts in 1994 and went 11-4 with a 2.54 ERA. Parisi made 50 appearances in his Titans career with 40 starts, compiling a 3.47 ERA in 283 innings pitched, tallying 195 career punch-outs.

Billingsley (1996) led the pitching staff with a 3.02 ERA in 1996 and went 11-2 for the Titans in 17 starts. He tossed two complete games including and had one shutout in 113.1 innings pitched. Billingsley struck out 114 batters in his only season with the Titans.

THEY ARE THE CHAMPIONS: On Friday, the Titans will host Alumni Night where the team will honor members of both the Titans 1984 and 2004 National Championship squads. There will be a pregame ceremony honoring the two teams followed by a ceremonial first pitch with one member of each of the teams. 

IN THE POLLS: This week, the Titans were not ranked and did not receive votes in any of the four major polls.

RPI WATCH: According to the official NCAA RPI report released Monday, Cal State Fullerton's RPI rose to No. 56 after recording a sweep at UC Irvine.

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. CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE

First Year Played/Last Year Played            1975/2013

Overall Record           53-18

Current Streak          Won 3

Overall Conference (Big West) Record       30-9

Home Record 29-8

Road Record  24-10

Neutral Record          0-0

Longest Winning Streak       16 games (4/12/03 to 4/11/08)

Longest Losing Streak           3 games, 2 times (last from 4/26/02 to 4/28/02)

Extra Innings 0-3

Most Runs Scored in a Game           24 runs (4/9/05)

Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent            15 runs, 2 times (last on 4/13/08)

Largest Margin of Victory     24 runs (4/9/05)

Largest Margin of Defeat     14 runs (4/20/01)

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE NOTES: The Matadors are currently eighth in the Big West Conference and have lost seven of their last eight conference games. Most recently they were swept in their final home series of the season by No. 6 Cal Poly, getting outscored 25-15 in the series.

The Matadors are currently seventh in the Big West in batting average (.258), eighth in slugging percentage (.307) and eighth in on-base percentage (.326). They are sixth in the conference with 458 hits and eight triples.

Offensively, the Matadors are led by Nick Blaser, who is batting .318 in 49 games this season. He has nine doubles and 23 RBI. Shortstop Brett Balkan is batting .302 in 2014 with 20 runs scored and has reached base safely in 10 straight games for the Matadors. He is currently in the midst of a five-game hitting streak.

STRETCH RUN: The Titans have won seven of their last 10 games including a critical three-game sweep on the road at UC Irvine to push themselves back into the postseason picture. Their RPI rose 31 spots after that sweep over the Anteaters. 

The Titans have won seven of their last 10 games and have outscored their opponents 54-24 during that stretch. They are 5-0 when leading after six innings in their last 10 games and hold the same record when they hold their opponents to two runs or less. They are batting .301 as a team and their pitching staff has allowed 18 earned runs in 92 innings for a 1.76 ERA.

JOHN OLERUD AWARD WATCH LIST: Cal State Fullerton's J.D. Davis was named to the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award Watch List on May 20. The award is presented annually by the College Baseball Foundation to honor the nation's top combo pitcher-position player.

This season, Davis leads the team with a .333 batting average with 69 hits and 15 doubles and four triples. He also has three home runs and 34 RBIs and is slugging .488 on the season. On the mound, Davis leads the Titans with six saves and has a 2-3 record in 12 appearances. He has a 2.95 ERA and recorded back-to-back saves for the first time this year in the Titans critical sweep at UC Irvine on May 16-18.

LUCKY SEVEN: Speaking of Davis, the Elk Grove, Calif. native has been on a tear in his last seven games. The junior is 17-for-30 in that stretch with seven doubles, seven runs scored and seven RBI. He has two four-hit games in that span and is slugging an astronomical .867. He is also in the middle of a nine-game hitting streak, the second such streak the Titans outfielder has had this season.

DALE STILL ROLLING: Keegan Dale went 1-for-3 at Cal Poly and started at first base on Apr. 19. That was the start of his current 18-game hitting streak, the best streak by a Titan this season. He went 2-for-4 with a career-high four RBI in the Titans 17-3 victory over USC on Tuesday. He also scored two runs. During the 18-game hit streak, Dale is batting .339 with a 11 walks and .444 on-base percentage. He's also scored 14 runs, the most by any Titans player during that stretch.

WILLIAMSON GETTING ON BASE: Outfielder Clay Williamson has been an on-base machine for the Titans over the last month. He has reached base safely in 24 consecutive games, the longest streak by a Titans player this season. He had a 13-game hitting streak at one point and during that 24-game streak, Williamson is batting .330 with 29 hits, 10 walks and a .434 on-base percentage. He's also been hit by seven pitches and has two triples.

CATCHING FIRE: Catcher Jared Deacon has been on a tear in his last six games. He is 8-for-16 during that stretch with three multi-hit games. He started the Titans rally against UC Irvine on Saturday that led to Deacon scoring the game-tying run in the ninth and then drove in the game-winning run in the 10th inning. He is currently on a four-game hitting streak, going 7-for-12 in that stretch.

EVERYBODY'S WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND: The Titans are currently tied for fifth in the nation with a 2.06 ERA from their weekend rotation of Thomas Eshelman (1.88), Justin Garza (2.90) and Grahamm Wiest (1.69).

BASEBALL AMERICA TOP-100 DRAFT PROSPECT: Titans third baseman Matt Chapman was listed as the No. 64 prospect for the upcoming MLB Draft by Baseball America on May 14. Chapman has been on a roll for the Titans of late, picking up his batting average to .322 after having it slip to .261 on Apr. 4. Since then, Chapman is 34-for-88 (.386) in 25 games with a .625 slugging percentage and .482 on-base percentage. He has three home runs in that stretch to go along with eight extra-base hits and 24 RBIs.

COMEBACK KIDS: During their current four-game winning streak, the Titans have mounted comebacks in three of those wins. They defeated UC Irvine with a pair of late inning comebacks, overcoming a one-run deficit in the ninth on Saturday and then scoring three times in the eighth inning on Saturday to erase a two-run deficit. Prior to those two victories, the Titans were 0-15 when trailing after the sixth inning.

On Tuesday, the Titans fell behind 3-0 in the first inning and then scored 17 unanswered runs to defeat USC at Goodwin Field. It was the first time Cal State Fullerton had overcome a three-run deficit all season.

LIFE ON THE EDGE: The Titans have played 25 one-run games this season, the most in the nation. They currently hold a 12-13 record in those games after winning two straight one-run decisions at UC Irvine.

QUALITY WORK: The Titans have had 33 quality starts by their starting pitching this season. Thomas Eshelman leads the group with 12 while Grahamm Wiest is close behind with 10 outings of going at least six innings and allowing three runs or less.

NO FREE PASSES HERE: Through games played up to May 18, 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 1.48 free passes a game in 474.1 innings pitched. Houston is second with a 1.73 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 followed that with just one free pass in their series at Long Beach State the next week.

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 398 batters in 474 innings while allowing just 78 walks, a mark of 5.10. Houston ranks second with a 3.89 mark. The Titans are also ranked third in the nation in WHIP (1.02), and are third in the country with a 2.09 ERA.

WORKING OVERTIME: The Titans played their 11th extra-inning game of the season on Saturday, defeating UC Irvine in 10 innings. The 11 extra-inning games are the most played by a Titans squad since the 2004 National Championship team played seven. They are currently 5-6 in extra-inning games this season. In addition, the Titans have played the longest game in the program's recorded history (19 innings on Feb. 21 vs. San Francisco). The Titans have also played 36 extra frames in 2014, the equivalent of four full games.

RECYCLED NOTES

GOLDEN SPIKES WATCH: Thomas Eshelman was named to the 30-man Golden Spikes Watch List last week, putting him one step closer to nabbing the award for the top amateur baseball player in the country. Last year, the Carlsbad, Calif. native was named a semifinalist for the award. Eshelman is currently 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 (27.00) and walks allowed per nine innings (0.26). He is also ranked ninth in the nation in WHIP (0.83) and seventh in the country with five complete games. Both of those marks rank third and first in the Big West respectively.

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 May 1. 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.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Cal State Fullerton will have 12 of its games broadcast on ESPN3 this season. 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 34th in average attendance. The Titans had drawn an average of 2,012 fans in 25 home games this season. The Titans have attracted a total of 50,308 fans to Goodwin Field at the time of the report released Monday, ranking them 36th 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 Mar. 23 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    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.