Bickford Named Freshman Pitcher of the Year, Six Titans Earn Conference Honors
IRVINE, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton right-hander Phil Bickford was named the Big West Conference Freshman Pitcher of the Year and five Titans were named to the All-Big West team, the conference announced Tuesday. It was the second straight season a Titans pitcher has claimed the award after Thomas Eshelman won it in 2013.
Juniors Matt Chapman and J.D. Davis were each named to the All-Big West First Team with red-shirt junior and right-handed pitcher Grahamm Wiest getting selected to the All-Big West Second Team. Eshelman and reliever Koby Gauna were each honorable mention.
In his first season with the Titans, Bickford posted a 6-3 overall record with a 2.04 ERA in 19 appearances. His ERA ranked in the top 100 in the country and ninth in the conference. Bickford struck out 68 batters in 70 and 2/3 innings while issuing just 12 walks and allowed opponents to hit just .229 against him. His 8.66 strikeouts per nine innings average ranked fourth in the conference and 75th in the nation while his 5.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio was 23rd in the country and fourth in the Big West.
Chapman made his first career appearance on the All-Big West First Team after catching fire in the second half of the season. In his final 29 games, Chapman hit .373 (38-for-102) with a .588 slugging percentage and .472 on-base percentage. He blasted three home runs in that stretch to go along with nine doubles, two triples and 29 RBI. Overall, Chapman hit .321 on the season and was tied for the team lead with 15 doubles. He led the squad with six round-trippers and 46 RBI.
Davis earned his second selection to the All-Big West First Team in 2014 as he played and started in all 54 games for Fullerton. Davis led the team with a .338 batting average, 25 extra base hits, a .521 slugging percentage and a .425 on-base percentage. He hit five home runs on the season and had 38 RBI. His five triples also led the team.
The Elk Grove, Calif. native ended the season on a 12-game hitting streak and was scorching hot during those 12 games. He batted .462 (24-for-52) and boasted a .788 slugging percentage thanks to seven doubles, two triples and two home runs. He also drove in 11 runs, leading the Titans to a 10-2 mark to close out the year Davis was also named to the John Olerud Award Watch List, which is awarded to the best two-way player in college baseball. Davis led the Titans with six saves on the year and had a 2.95 ERA in 12 appearances. He tallied 20 strikeouts in 18 and 1/3 innings pitched.
Wiest had his best statistical season in his Titans career in 2014, posting a remarkable 1.55 ERA in 14 starts. The red-shirt junior pitched 104 and 2/3 innings and allowed just 18 earned runs. He tossed four complete-games, ranking second on the team and in the Big West as well as 28th in the nation. Wiest fanned 81 batters and allowed just 12 walks on the season. His 6.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranked second in the Big West and 11th in the nation. He also ranked second in the conference and 12th in the country with a 1.03 walks-allowed-per-nine-innings average and was fourth in the conference with a 0.90 WHIP, which also placed him 17th in the country.
Eshelman and Gauna rounded out the Titans selections as they each received honorable mention. Eshelman continued to excel in his sophomore campaign with the Titans, leading the nation in a number of statistical categories. The Carlsbad, Calif. native led the nation with a 0.54 walks-allowed-per-nine-innings average as well as a 13.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He led the conference with five complete games, ranking 10th in the country and was eighth in the nation with a 0.85 WHIP.
He became the first pitcher to throw a 10-inning complete game since Jason Windsor in 2004. Eshelman shutout Hawaii on Apr. 25 in the 10 frames, scattering six hits while fanning six.
Gauna was the go-to guy for the Titans out of the bullpen, leading the squad with 25 appearances, making two starts. He was 4-2 on the season and led the team with a 1.45 ERA, ranking second in the conference and 17th in the nation. He was second on the team with five saves. In those 56 innings of work, Gauna struck out 47 batters while issuing just seven walks. His 6.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio was third on the team as well as the Big West and ranked 12th in the nation. He was 20th in the country as he allowed 1.13 walks per nine innings and 22nd in the nation with a 0.93 WHIP.