2014 Baseball Season Recap
FULLERTON, Calif. – The 2014 Cal State Fullerton baseball program set new records and continued some old ones as the team made its 23rd straight NCAA postseason appearance and recorded the 40th consecutive 30-win season.
• Cal State Fullerton finished the 2014 season with a record of 34-24 (.586), securing their 40th consecutive winning season in program history. It was also the 40th straight year the Titans won at least 30 games in a season.
• In his third season at the helm, head coach Rick Vanderhook led the Titans to the postseason for the third straight year. He now holds a 121-55 overall record in his three seasons as the Titans head coach, averaging a shade more than 40 wins per season. Counting his seasons as an assistant at Cal State Fullerton, Vanderhook now holds a 1,034-454-2 (.693) record in 24 seasons with the Titans.
• The Titans finished the 2014 regular season with a record of 12-8 against teams that advanced to the 2014 NCAA Baseball Championships: Cal Poly (0-3), Long Beach State (3-3), Nebraska (2-0), Oklahoma State (0-2), Oregon (3-0), UC Irvine (3-0), and UNLV (1-0).
• Cal State Fullerton's pitching staff shattered the program record for team ERA, which was set just last season. Titans pitching accumulated a collective 2.24 ERA in 2014, surpassing the 2013 mark of 2.47. The Titans allowed 136 earned runs in 545.1 innings pitched, the second fewest amount allowed in school history.
• Along with the best ERA in school history, the 2014 Titans pitching staff ranked near the top of the school record book in the following categories: lowest opponent batting average (4th, .234), fewest walks allowed per nine innings (2nd, 1.52), most shutouts (T2nd, 9), fewest hits (7th, 471), fewest runs (2nd, 177), fewest earned runs allowed (2nd, 136), fewest walks (2nd, 92), and fewest home runs allowed (2nd, 12),
• Fullerton suffered a six-game losing streak for just the third time in the program's history. They dropped the final two games of their series at UC Santa Barbara, were swept in three games at Cal Poly and lost a midweek contest at Fresno State. It was the first time Fullerton had lost six-in-a-row in a single season since 1983.
• The Titans finished off the regular season with a seven-game winning streak to get into the postseason. It was the second consecutive season Fullerton ended the regular season with a seven-game winning streak and the fourth time since 2006.
• On June 1, Cal State Fullerton let an early three-run lead slip away as the Titans fell 6-4 to Oklahoma State in the Stillwater Regional championship game. The loss eliminated the Titans, denying them their 12th trip to the Super Regionals since 1999.
• Cal State Fullerton entered the Stillwater Regional as the No. 3 seed; the first time they had gone into a regional lower than a No. 2 seed since 2002, where they went 1-2.
• The Stillwater Regional marked the first time since 2012 that the Titans traveled for regional play. It was also the just the fifth time in the Super Regional era (since 1999) that the Titans had to play the regional round on the road. They have advanced to the next round twice on those occasions, the last time coming in 2007 when the Titans traveled to the San Diego Regional where they went 3-0.
• The loss at Stillwater marked the fifth consecutive season the Titans have missed out on a trip to the College World Series. It is the longest drought in school history dating back to 1975. Fullerton had never gone more than three seasons without a trip to Omaha prior to the current streak.
• The Titans advanced to their 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament and 36th in school history. Their 23 straight appearances is the third longest active streak in the nation behind Miami (42) and Florida State (37). Fullerton went 2-2 in the Stillwater Regional hosted by Oklahoma State and is now 146-78 in the postseason, including a record of 96-41 in regional action. Since 1999, with the addition of the Super Regional format, Fullerton now holds a record of 44-15 in Regional play, winning 11 Regional brackets in 16 appearances. The Titans have never gone winless in Regional play.
• Fullerton has won 20 regional titles including a national-best 11 on the road, including a victory at the Stillwater Regional in 1994, where they went 4-1 and clinched the regional with a 6-5 win over the Cowboys in 10 innings.
• The Titans defeated Nebraska twice at the Stillwater Regional and are now 8-0 all-time against the Cornhuskers, including 3-0 in the postseason.
BIG WEST RECAP
• The Titans missed out on a fifth consecutive Big West Conference title in 2014 as they finished in fourth place, their lowest showing since they finished fifth in 2007 in George Horton's final season at Fullerton.
• Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 709-249-1 (.739) conference record over 40 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, has compiled a 54-21 Big West Conference record in his three seasons at the helm and won consecutive conference titles in 2012 and 2013, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Augie Garrido (14). Larry Cochell (1), George Horton (7) and Dave Serrano (3). Overall, the Titans have won 27 conference titles.
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 533-203 (.724; 32 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record.
• The Titans pitching staff accumulated a 2.24 team ERA, setting a new Cal State Fullerton single-season record, shattering the previous mark of 2.47 set in 2013. They also ranked second on the all-time list in fewest walks allowed per nine innings (1.52), shutouts (9), fewest walks (92) and fewest home runs allowed (12).
• The Titans led the nation in walks allowed per nine innings (1.52) in 2014 as well as strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.04). They were third in the country with a 1.03 WHIP and third in the nation with a 2.24 ERA.
• Overall, the weekend rotation of Thomas Eshelman (1.89), Justin Garza (3.22), and Grahamm Wiest (1.68) finished the season with a collective 2.13 ERA, allowing 73 earned runs in 309 innings pitched.
• 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 led the nation with a 0.58 walks allowed per nine innings average as well as a 12.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio (99 Ks : 8 BB). He 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.
• Eshelman pitched a 10-inning complete-game shutout on Apr. 25, 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). 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.
• 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 in 2014.
• Sophomore Justin Garza became the fourth Cal State Fullerton pitcher to toss a no-hitter on May 23 as he held Cal State Northridge without a base hit. Garza was the first Titans pitcher to accomplish the feat since 2001 when Kirk Saarloos no-hit Pacific in a 28-0 victory. Garza walked three and struck out 12, matching his career high. He also tossed his first career complete game in the process.
• Garza finished the year with a 5-4 record and a 3.22 ERA. He is 17-4 in his two-year career at Cal State Fullerton and he has lost just once when the Titans score in his starts as three of his losses have come by way of shutout.
• Grahamm Wiest was the veteran on the Titans dominant pitching staff. The redshirt junior posted a career-best 1.68 ERA, ranking him sixth in the Big West and 32nd in the nation. He was also second in the conference with a 7.17 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which also placed him 10th in the nation.
• Wiest was one of two pitchers to throw 10 innings in a game this season for the Titans and the only one to get a no-decision for his efforts. He also tossed four complete games to rank second in the Big West behind Eshelman and 29th in the country. He capped off the year with a three-hit shutout of Cal State Northridge on the final day of the regular season.
• Wiest was named to the Stillwater All-Regional Team after tossing eight innings in the Titans 4-3 victory over No. 19 Nebraska in an elimination game.
• Wiest's 1.68 ERA in 2014 was the fifth best single-season mark in Cal State Fullerton history while his 0.96 walks per nine innings average ranked him fifth in the record book. His 2.63 career ERA in 304 innings pitched ranks him 10th on the Fullerton all-time list.
• In his best statistical season as a Titan, Wiest tallied 86 strikeouts in 112 and 2/3 innings, allowing just 21 earned runs and earning an All-Big West Conference Second Team selection.
• The Titans third baseman had his best season as a member of Cal State Fullerton. In 2014, Chapman hit a career-best .312 with six home runs and a team-high 48 RBI in 54 games. The 6-foot-2 infielder started 53 games at third base and made just six errors in 157 chances. He was second on the team with 24 extra-base hits, a .498 slugging percentage and .412 on-base percentage.
• Chapman caught fire in the second half of the season. In his final 29 games of the regular season, 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.
• On May 11, Chapman reached a career milestone as he drove in his 100th RBI as a member of the Titans. He went 3-for-4 against UC Riverside with a double and two runs scored. In the first inning, Chapman drove in his 100th and 101st career RBI as he hammered a two-run double to left field.
• Chapman was named to the Louisville Slugger All-America Third Team by Collegiate Baseball on May 29 and also garnered his first selection to the All-Big West First Team in 2014. In addition, Chapman was also named a preseason All-American by Baseball America and was named to the Golden Spikes Award Initial Watch List in 2014.
• During his three years at Cal State Fullerton, Chapman played 162 games and made 157 starts. He hit .295 with 171 hits, 37 doubles, five triples and 13 home runs. He drove in 108 RBI and scored 103 runs to go along with 13 stolen bases.
• J.D. Davis led the Titans in 2014 with a .338 batting average, .523 slugging percentage, .419 on-base percentage as well as 27 extra-base hits. He set career highs in batting average, home runs (6), triples (5), doubles (16) and walks (32). Davis was also a perfect 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts, also setting a new career high. He was the only Fullerton player to start all 58 games for the team in 2014.
• The Elk Grove, Calif. native made his second consecutive appearance on the All-Big West First Team selection for the Titans this season. He earned Big West Conference Player of the Week honors on May 26 after batting .562 with five extra base hits in four games. He also belted two home runs against Cal State Northridge on May 23 in support of teammate Justin Garza's no-hitter.
• Davis was also named to the Stillwater All-Regional Team in 2014 after batting .333 (6-for-18) with four runs scored and five RBI while slugging .556 in the four games. His grand slam in the eighth inning of Fullerton's Regional opener against Nebraska broke a 1-1 tie and carried the Titans into the winner's bracket game against hosts Oklahoma State.
• Davis finished the season on a 16-game hitting streak, the longest of his career and second longest on the team in 2014. During that stretch, Davis hit .429 (30-for-70) and slugged a titanic .729 with eight doubles, two triples and three home runs to go along with 16 RBI and the Titans went 12-4 during that stretch including an eight-game winning streak.
• Along with his bat, Davis also helped bolster Fullerton's back end of the bullpen with his arm. He led the team with seven saves and made 14 appearances on the mound in 2014. He went 2-3 with a career-best 2.66 ERA. He struck out 22 batters while issuing just four walks in 20 and 1/3 innings pitched. He was named to the John Olerud Award Watch List on May 20, which is presented annually to the nation's top combo pitcher-position player.
• In his three seasons at Cal State Fullerton, Davis played in 159 games, starting 149, and batted .308 with 175 hits. He scored 87 runs and collected 33 doubles, six triples and 14 home runs to go along with 113 RBI. He drew 77 walks and stole 10 bases. On the mound, Davis went 5-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 35 appearances, making eight starts. He tallied 11 career saves and struck out 48 batters in 66 and 1/3 innings pitched while issuing just 14 walks.
CLAY WILLIAMSON'S ON-BASE STREAK
• Williamson ended the season reaching base safely in 31 consecutive games, the most by a Titans player since 2010 when Tyler Pill reached in 43 straight games to end the season while Christian Colon also reached in 36 straight that year.
• During the 31-game streak, Williamson had a 13-game hitting streak and ended the year on a five-game stretch with at least one hit. In the 31 games, Williamson batted .319 (37-for-116) with two doubles, two triples, 12 RBI and 15 runs scored. He drew 11 walks and was hit by a pitch 10 times, helping him compile a .420 on-base percentage.
KEEGAN DALE GOES ON A TEAR
• Dale ran off a 19-game hitting streak for the Titans in 2014, the longest streak by any player during the season and the best streak by a Fullerton player since Corey Jones and Nick Ramirez strung together streaks of 24 and 20 straight games respectively in 2010.
• During the streak, Dale batted .339 (21-for-62) with a .455 on-base percentage. He had one double and 10 RBI during the 19 games, leading the Titans to a 12-7 record in that stretch. Dale also went 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts, scored 14 runs and walked 12 times, the most by any player on the team during that stretch.
SCORELESS INNINGS STREAKS
• The Titans recorded back-to-back shutouts on two occasions in 2014. They shut out Long Beach State 6-0 on May 4 and then followed that with a 1-0 win over UCLA on May 6. It was part of a streak of 22.0 consecutive scoreless innings, the most by a Titans squad since 2011 when they went 24 straight innings without allowing a run.
• Fullerton would surpass that mark at the end of the season, scoring consecutive shutouts against Cal State Northridge to end the regular season. The Titans would go on to pitch 27.0 straight scoreless innings, the longest streak by a Fullerton pitching staff since 1987.
The Titans played their 11th extra-inning game of the season on May 18, defeating UC Irvine in 10 innings. The 11 extra-inning games are the most played by a Titans squad in recorded history and the most since the 2004 National Championship team played seven. They finished the year 5-6 in extra-inning games in 2014. In addition, the Titans played the longest game in the program's recorded history (19 innings on Feb. 21 vs. San Francisco). The Titans played 36 extra frames in 2014, the equivalent of four full games.
LIFE ON THE EDGE:
The Titans played 26 one-run games during the regular season, the most in the nation. They finished the season with a 13-13 record in those games, capping off the year with a 4-3 victory against No. 19 Nebraska in the elimination game at the Stillwater Regional.
TITANS IN THE 2014 MLB DRAFT
• Matt Chapman became the 13th player from Cal State Fullerton to be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft after he was selected by the Oakland Athletics with the 25th overall pick. He was the highest pick for the Fullerton baseball program since Christian Colon (4th overall, Kansas City) and Gary Brown (24th overall, San Francisco) were first round selections in 2010.
• Overall, seven Titans were selected in the 2014 MLB Draft, including five on the third and final day. J.D. Davis (75th overall, Houston) was the first pick of the third round on day two. The rest included: Grahamm Wiest (14th round, 413th overall) to Colorado; Clay Williamson (19th round, 574th overall) to Washington; Koby Gauna (20th round, 612th overall) to Oakland, Austin Diemer (28th round, 830th overall) to Minnesota; and Jared Deacon (33rd round, 988th overall) to San Francisco.
• The Titans seven overall selections marked the 40th consecutive season that Cal State Fullerton had at least one player selected in the MLB Draft. It was also the most selections for Cal State Fullerton since 2011 when nine Titans were taken in the draft.
• Feb. 21: Cal State Fullerton fell to San Francisco, 6-5, in 19 innings at Goodwin Field. The game was the longest on record in the Titans 40-year NCAA Division I baseball history. It was the second of 11 extra inning games for the Titans in 2014.
• Mar. 23: Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook earned his 100th career head coaching victory when the Titans edged Long Beach State 6-5 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.
• Apr. 25: Thomas Eshelman pitched a 10-inning complete-game shutout as the Titans scored a 1-0 victory over Hawai'i at Goodwin Field. Eshelman became the first Titans pitcher to throw a 10-inning complete game since Jason Windsor did so in a 2-1 victory over Jered Weaver and Long Beach State on May 21, 2004. Eshelman scattered six hits and fanned six en route to the victory.
• Apr. 26: Matt Chapman's career-night helped carry the Titans to a 17-4 victory over Hawai'i to clinch the series. Chapman set a career high as he went 5-for-5 on the night. He had a double, scored twice and had three RBI to power the Titans 18-hit offensive attack. It also marked the most hits the Titans had in a game in 2014 and was one of two times they scored 17 runs, a season high.
• Apr. 27: Two days after Thomas Eshelman accomplished the feat, red-shirt junior Grahamm Wiest followed his lead as the Orange, Calif. native tossed 10 innings while throwing just 106 pitches. Unlike Eshelman, Wiest would get a no-decision as the Titans needed 11 innings to down Hawaii as Jared Deacon's walk-off bunt single plated Austin Diemer with the game-winning run.
• May 16-18: With many publications counting them out of the postseason going into the final two weeks of the year, the Titans responded with a crucial road sweep over UC Irvine. The Titans routed the Anteaters, 9-1, in the opener and then scored comeback victories in the next two games to complete their second consecutive sweep over the Anteaters. With the wins, the Titans jumped 31 spots in the NCAA RPI ratings and ignited a seven-game winning streak, which helped Fullerton advance to its 23rd straight NCAA postseason.
• May 20: The Titans honored Christian Coronado, Greg Velazquez, Jared Deacon, Keegan Dale and Grahamm Wiest on Senior Night and then proceeded to score 17 unanswered runs to defeat USC, 17-3, at Goodwin Field. It marked the first and only time this season the Titans came back from a three-run deficit to win a game. The 17 runs and 14-run margin of victory tied for the most by a Titans team against the Trojans in 87 all-time meetings dating back to 1978. The Titans scored 17 against USC on Feb. 25, 1996 and scored a 14-run victory back on Feb. 19, 1985.
• May 23: Sophomore Justin Garza tossed the fourth no-hitter in Titans history as Cal State Fullerton defeated Cal State Northridge 3-0 at Goodwin Field. Garza's masterful performance added his name alongside Kirk Saarloos, Ted Silva and Longo Garcia as the only other Titans to toss a no-hitter in the program's 40-year history in NCAA Division I baseball. Saarloos was the last Titans pitcher to accomplish the feat, no-hitting Pacific on Apr. 9, 2001 in a 28-0 win over the Tigers. Garza's no-hitter also notched him the first complete-game of his career. The Ontario, Calif. native walked three and struck out 12, matching his career high. He struck out a batter in every inning except the sixth, where he induced a double play after the leadoff man got on base thanks to an error.
• May 30: J.D. Davis blasted a grand slam in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie and lead the Titans to a 5-1 victory over No. 19 Nebraska in the opening game at the Stillwater Regional. Davis was the only player to belt a grand slam in 2014 for the Titans and was the first Fullerton player to hit one since he did it against USC on April 9, 2013.
• May 31: The Titans hit into a 1-6-3 triple play against Oklahoma State in the second game of the Stillwater Regional. It was the first time the Titans had hit into a triple play since Mar. 13, 2005 at Tulane.
Junior outfielder Austin Diemer was named the Big West Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, it was announced on March 3. In addition, 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 boasted a 3.77 GPA and earned Dean's List honors in each of his semesters as a Titan. He would be drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 28th round of the MLB Draft.
SUPPORTING THE TITANS:
According to the final attendance report released by the NCBWA on June 10, Cal State Fullerton ranked 35th in both average and overall attendance. The Titans drew an average of 1,981 fans in 29 home games this season. They also attracted a total of 57,459 fans to Goodwin Field in 2014, drawing a season-high 2,799 fans for their walk-off victory over Washington State on Feb. 16.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE:
In 2014, the Titans played 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 the Bruins 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).
The Titans have won 30-plus games in each of its 40 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 52 (includes 2014)
2. Miami, Fla. 44 (includes 2014)
3. Cal State Fullerton 40 (includes 2014)
Clemson 40 (includes 2014)
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 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 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.
TITANS IN THE BIG LEAGUES:
The Titans have had 54 former players ascend to the major leagues since their first products, Dan Whitmer and Tim Wallach, got there in 1980. Christian Colon became the 54th player in 2014 when he made his MLB debut on July 1 with the Kansas City Royals. He appeared as a pinch hitter and went 0-for-2 and played two innings at shortstop. Colon was the first former Titan to make his MLB debut since Khris Davis in 2013, when he made his 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.