Cary, N.C. – Cal State Fullerton right-handers Justin Garza and Thomas Eshelman were part of 29 underclassmen to report to the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. for training camp, USA Baseball announced Friday.
The sophomore-duo will be vying for a spot on the final 24-man roster on the USA Collegiate National Team for the summer tour that will feature Friendship Series against Chinese Taipei and Japan, as well as international trips to Honkbal Week in Haarlem, The Netherlands and a five-game series in Cuba.
The Titans have had 21 players represent Cal State Fullerton on the Collegiate National Team since 1987 including at least one player every year since 2008. In 2013, Matt Chapman was named to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team final 24-man roster. He would play in all 23 games for Team USA and made 22 starts. Chapman batted .278 with six doubles and 20 RBI and went 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts.
Of the 29 players who have reported, seven have already guaranteed their spot on the team, while 22 others head to North Carolina with hopes of earning a spot on the roster.
Garza and Eshelman are amongst the 22 looking to secure a spot on the Collegiate National Team and represent two of the four players invited from the Big West Conference. Mark Matthias of Cal Poly, the 2014 Big West Conference Player of the Year, and UC Santa Barbara closer Dillon Tate round out the Big West representatives.
On May 23, Garza became the fourth Cal State Fullerton pitcher to throw a no-hitter, shutting down Cal State Northridge 3-0. He allowed three walks and matched a career high with 12 strikeouts, securing his first ever complete game in the process. It was the first Titans no-hitter since Kirk Saarloos in 2001.
Garza finished the year with a 5-4 record and a 3.22 ERA. He struck out 60 and walked 14 in 72 and 2/3 innings of work in 2014 and opponents batted .252 against him. Garza was very effective against left-handed hitters, allowing them to hit .248. He was also good with the bases empty, allowing opponents to hit just .217 with no one on base.
The Ontario, Calif. native set a freshman record with 12 victories along with Eshelman in 2013 and is now 17-4 in his two-year career at Cal State Fullerton. He has lost just once when the Titans score in his starts as three of his defeats have come by way of shutout.
Garza currently ranks eighth on the Cal State Fullerton career ERA list with a 2.49 mark in 187.2 innings of work and his 5:1 career strikeout-to-walk ratio is tied for ninth on the Titans all-time list.
Thomas Eshelman followed up his excellent freshman season with an outstanding sophomore campaign for the Titans. He finished the regular season with an 8-3 record and a 1.89 ERA. He set the NCAA single-season record with a 0.23 walks-per-nine innings average in 2013 and followed that with a 0.58 mark in 2014, which led the nation. His 12.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio (99 Ks : 8 BB) also ranked first in the country.
Eshelman ranked first in the Big West Conference and 10th in the nation with five complete games and also was second in the conference with a 0.87 WHIP, which placed him 12th overall in the nation.
The Carlsbad, Calif. native became the first pitcher to throw a 10-inning complete game since Jason Windsor in 2004. Eshelman pitched a 10-inning complete-game shutout against Hawaii, a feat that garnered him four player-of-the-week honors. 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). He also received recognition from the NCAA as one of the top performers of the week and received Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week honors.
Eshelman was named to the Baseball America College All-America Second Team in 2014, marking the second straight season Eshelman made the squad after receiving a First Team selection in 2013 as a freshman. In addition, Eshelman was also named to the NCBWA All-America Third Team.
After two seasons at Cal State Fullerton, Eshelman already ranks first in Titans history with a 1.69 career ERA in 239.1 innings pitched along with a 0.41 walks-per-nine innings average. He also ranks first all-time in Fullerton history with a 16.5 career strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Manager Dave Van Horn of Arkansas will lead the USA Collegiate National Team. He will be joined by Texas A&M's Rob Childress, New Mexico's Ray Birmingham and Pepperdine's Steve Rodriguez.
Team USA's first game is set for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday against the Catawba Valley All-Stars at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.