CATCH ALL THE ACTION: Fans can follow the action for all of Cal State Fullerton's baseball games in Indiana this week through the links located at FullertonTitans.com. Audio will also be available for free from Bart Kaufman Stadium courtesy of Indiana radio. A video feed is available for subscribers. All links are available at FullertonTitans.com. The Titans game against CSU Bakersfield will be available through live stats, audio and video as always.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @BaseballTitans on Twitter for daily updates during the 2015 season. Fullerton baseball is also now on Instagram, so make sure to follow the 2015 team all season @CSF_TitansBaseball.
POLL POSITION: This week, the Titans vaulted back into the Baseball America top-25 poll following their sweep of then No. 5 Texas Tech. Fullerton is ranked No. 23 by Baseball American and D1Baseball.com and were ranked as high as No. 12 by Collegiate Baseball.
HITTING THE ROAD: After playing 12 straight games at home, the Titans will hit the road this weekend when they travel to Bloomington, Ind. to face the Hoosiers. Overall, the Titans will play 11 of the next 12 games away from Goodwin Field, with the only home contest against CSU Bakersfield on March 18. Fullerton will play eight straight on the road following that contest, the team's second longest road stint of the season.
HOOSIERS: The Titans and Hoosiers will face each other for the first time in each program's history this weekend.
INDIANA NOTES: The Hoosiers host the Titans this weekend after sweeping a midweek series against Eastern Michigan, outscoring the Eagles 14-4 in the two-game set at Bart Kaufman Stadium. The series was Indiana's first at home this season after opening the year with 12 games on the road where the Hoosiers posted an 8-4 record, including an opening weekend series victory over Stanford. This will be Indiana's last non-conference weekend series before opening Big-10 conference action against Penn State next weekend.
VERSUS THE BIG-10: The Titans currently hold a 27-8 record against teams currently in the Big-10 Conference. Of the 13 teams in the conference, Fullerton has never played eight of them including Indiana. The others include Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue, Northwestern, Penn State and Rutgers. The Titans hold an 8-0 record against Nebraska, Fullerton's best mark against any team in the conference. They are also unbeaten against Michigan (3-0) and have beaten Ohio State in five of six overall meetings. Minnesota and Illinois are the only teams in the conference to have beaten the Titans on multiple occasions as Fullerton holds a 4-2 record against Illinois and a 7-5 mark against Minnesota all-time.
CSF vs. CSU BAKERSFIELD • ALL-TIME SERIES
First Year Played/Last Year Played 2013
Overall Record 1-0
Current Streak Won 1
Home Record 1-0
Road Record NA
Neutral Record NA
Longest Winning Streak 1 game (02/17/13 to present)
Longest Losing Streak NA
Extra Innings 0-0
Most Runs Scored in a Game 8 runs (02/17/13)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent 2 runs (02/17/13)
Largest Margin of Victory 6 runs (02/17/13)
Largest Margin of Defeat NA
CSU BAKERSFIELD NOTES: The Roadrunners will begin conference play this weekend before making the trip to Goodwin Field on March 18. CSU Bakersfield travels to New Mexico State for its first Western Athletic Conference Series and then will follow that with five straight games against Big West opponents, beginning with the Titans. The Roadrunners will head to UC Irvine for a three-game set following the Titans game and will then head to CSUN for a midweek contest on March 24 to wrap up a nine-game road trip.
VERSUS THE WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: The Titans currently hold a 53-9 record against teams currently in the Western Athletic Conference. This will be the Titans second meeting all-time against CSU Bakersfield after Fullerton defeated the Roadrunners 8-2 in 2013 at Goodwin Field. The Titans best record against an opponent from the WAC comes against New Mexico State, whom Fullerton holds a 27-3 edge against. The Titans are 16-6 against Sacramento State, 5-0 against Grand Canyon, 3-0 against Utah Valley and 1-0 against Northern Colorado. The Titans have never squared off against Seattle, North Dakota, Chicago State and UT Pan American.
JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST: Cal State Fullerton catcher A.J. Kennedy was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List presented by Baseball Savings, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced Wednesday. Kennedy was one of 75 catchers nominated for the award by their coaches and the only backstop from the Big West Conference to make the list. Because the award is given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher, the list will be updated to include other candidates until May 4. Kennedy is currently batting .268 (11-for-41) with five doubles and seven RBIs. He is slugging .390 and has scored four runs. The Anaheim, Calif. native has been excellent behind the plate so far this season for the Titans as he has yet to commit an error in 141 chances. Kennedy has also effectively controlled the running game, throwing out 60 percent (6-of-10) would-be base stealers so far this year. Kennedy had a career night on March 6 against then No. 5 Texas Tech, setting a career-high with four hits and three doubles to help lead the Titans to a 4-0 victory over the Red Raiders en route to a series sweep. This marks the second straight season the Titans have had a catcher named to the initial Johnny Bench Award Watch List after Jared Deacon was nominated in 2014. Former Titans catcher Kurt Suzuki is the only Cal State Fullerton backstop to win the award, doing so in 2004.
BIG WEST POW SWEEP: Cal State Fullerton infielder Jake Jefferies and right-hander Thomas Eshelman swept the conference player of the week awards on Monday. Jefferies took home the Big West Field Player of the Week award after posting a .462 batting average in four games (6-for-13) with three runs scored, two RBIs and two walks while posting a .533 on-base percentage. He helped lead the Titans to a sweep of No. 5 Texas Tech over the weekend, hitting .556 (5-for-9) in the series including a 3-for-3 night in Friday night's 4-0 victory. It was the second straight week a Titans player earned the award after Josh Estill claimed the award last week.
As for Eshelman, the Carlsbad, Calif. native had his best start of the season on Friday night as he stifled a Texas Tech offense that had outscored the opposition 85-45 going into the weekend series at Fullerton. Eshelman set a new career-high with 14 strikeouts as he tossed a complete-game shutout in the Titans 4-0 win over the Red Raiders. Eshelman faced the minimum through five innings and scattered five hits on the night. He allowed just two base runners to advance to second base. Eshelman is now 2-2 on the season with a miniscule 1.23 ERA. He has recorded 39 strikeouts compared to just four walks in 29 and 1/3 innings pitched.
MORE JEFFERIES: Along with earning player of the week honors, Jake Jefferies has been on a tear at the plate lately. He is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak after tallying a hit in four at-bats in Fullerton's 9-4 loss to San Diego on Tuesday. In addition, Jefferies has reached base safely in 14 straight games after going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on opening night against South Florida. During the eight-game hitting streak, Jefferies is batting .464 (13-for-28) with seven runs scored and a .500 slugging percentage. He also boasts a .531 on-base percentage during that stretch.
MESSIN' WITH TEXAS: The Titans welcomed Baylor and Texas Tech to Goodwin Field on consecutive weekends and sent each of them home without a victory. The Titans outscored the Bears and Red Raiders 41-20 combined and batted .307 against their pitching staffs. In addition, the Titans pitching staff held both teams to a .243 batting average and struck out 56 batters compared to just 11 walks. The last time the Titans recorded back-to-back sweeps came last season when Fullerton swept UC Irvine on the road followed by a home sweep of CSUN in the last two weekend series' of the 2014 season.
SEVEN STRAIGHT: After dropping five of their first seven games, the Titans have seemed to right the ship thanks to a seven-game winning streak, including a weekend sweep of No. 5 Texas Tech. The streak was snapped with a 9-4 loss Tuesday to San Diego at Goodwin Field. The streak was the Titans best since they won eight straight to end last season, including a victory over Nebraska in the opening game of the Stillwater Regional in last year's postseason.
ALWAYS BE CLOSING: Senior Tyler Peitzmeier notched two more saves over the weekend in the Titans three-game sweep of Texas Tech to bring his season total to six in as many opportunities. His six saves ranks first in the conference and fifth in the nation. Peitzmeier has made seven appearances out of the bullpen this season and boasts a 1.69 ERA with 20 strikeouts and just one walk in 20.1 innings pitched. Opposing batters are hitting just .205 against him and he has handcuffed left-handed hitters all year, holding them to a .143 batting average.
GET THEM IN: Through 15 games this season, the Titans are currently hitting .276 with runners in scoring position. They are led by Josh Estill and David Olmedo-Barrera who have seven hits each in those situations.
MULTI-TASKING: Jake Jefferies currently leads the Titans with five multi-hit games, tied with Dustin Vaught. Josh Estill has four multi-hit games including a four-hit game while Tyler Stieb, Josh Vargas and David Olmedo-Barrera each have three multi-hit games.
Estill leads the Titans with four multi-RBI games while Olmedo-Barrera has three. Both of them along with Scott Hurst each have a three-RBI game this season.
WATCH THE WINDMILLS: Titans pitchers continue to make hitters earn their way aboard while making opponents miss. Fullerton currently ranks No. 3 in the nation with a 5.07 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Titans have fanned 147 batters this season while allowing 29 walks.
THE RANK AND FILE: Following their sweep of then No. 5 Texas Tech, the Titans are currently undefeated against teams ranked in Baseball America's top-25 poll. Fullerton holds a 4-0 record over ranked teams. They scored an 8-6 victory over then No. 12 Louisville on Feb. 15 at the Opening Weekend Challenge in Clearwater, Fla.
CLOSE EDGE: After a pair of one-run victories over the weekend against Texas Tech, the Titans are now 3-1 in one-run games this season. In 2014, Fullerton led the nation, playing in 26 one-run games. They went 13-13 in those contests.
REMEMBERING THE TITANS: Junior Justin Garza pitched five scoreless frames and Cal State Fullerton had consecutive big innings to defeat the Alumni 10-0 on Jan. 24 at Goodwin Field. The Titans scored their sixth consecutive win over the Alumni since 2007. The game was cancelled due to inclement weather in 2008 and 2009.
The game featured many great Titans from the past including Justin Turner (2003-06), who served as the team's manager. Other former Titans that played in the game included Carlos Lopez (2010-13), Matt Chapman (2012-14), Greg Jacobs (1998), Richy Pedroza (2010-13), Corey Jones (2007-08, 10), Dustin Garneau (2006-09), Nick Ramirez (2009-11), Josh Fellhauer (2007-09), Erik Komatsu (2008), Chad Wallach (2011-13), Jared Deacon (2011-14), Austin Diemer (2012-14), Clay Williamson (2012-14), Joe Scott (2006-09), Anthony Hutting (2010-13), Keegan Dale (2011-14), Matt Orloff (2010-13), Longo Garcia (1987-88) and Wes Roemer (2005-07). Current undergraduate assistant Sergio Pedroza (2003-05) and volunteer assistant coach Ronnie Prettyman (2003-05) along with former undergraduate assistant Cory Vanderhook (2006) also made appearances as pinch-hitters during the game. Other alumni that were in attendance included Christian Colon (2008-10), Ryan Jara (1995), Robert Matos (1994-95), Tony Miranda (1994-95), Blake Davis (2004-06), Jeff Nichols (1975-78), Mike Rouse (2001), Dave Birosak (2012-13), Reed Johnson (1997-99), James Betzsold (1991-94), Ryan Owens (1997-99), Chris Robinson (1988-91), Rod Klopfer (1989), Shane Costa (2001-03), Kevin Rath (2008-10), Paul Canedo (2007), Jason Corapci (2000-03), Dave Chavez (1975), Koby Gauna (2012-14), Tyler Pill (2009-11), Chad Rolish (1993-94), Michael Lopez (2012-13), Noe Ramirez (2009-11), Frank Vilorio (1977-78), Adam Millan (1993-94), Vinnie Pestano (2004-06), Billy Marcoe (2007-10), Billy Pinkerton (2007), Dustin Birosak (2007), Grahamm Wiest (2012-14), Michael Lorenzen (2011-13) and Christian Coronado (2011-12, 14).
PICKED TO WIN IT: Cal State Fullerton was picked as the favorite to win the 2015 Big West title as selected by the nine conference head coaches that voted in the Big West Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll. The Titans received five of the nine first-place votes and 74 points overall, edging 2014 Big West Conference champions Cal Poly, which received three first-place votes and 73 points overall. UC Santa Barbara claimed the third spot, receiving the final first-place vote and 62 points overall while UC Irvine (56 points) and Long Beach State (48 points) rounded out the top five spots.
TITANS AND THE BIG WEST: 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.
GOLDEN SPIKES WATCH LIST: Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza were each named to the 50-man preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List this week, marking the second straight season the two pitchers were named to the initial list. In 2014, Garza only made the initial list but Eshelman made it all the way to the 30-man list one year after being named a semifinalist for the prestigious award as a freshman. Three players have won the Golden Spikes Award in Fullerton's history: Tim Wallach (1979), Phil Nevin (1992) and Mark Kotsay (1995).
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: During the 2015 season, the Titans will take on 11 teams that finished 2014 with a top-50 RPI. Fullerton will face three teams that made it to the 2014 College World Series (Louisville, UC Irvine, Texas Tech) along with three other teams that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals (Stanford, Maryland, Pepperdine) last season. Overall, the Titans will face 10 teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2014; a list that also includes Cal Poly, Indiana, Nebraska and Long Beach State.
Furthermore, the Titans will take on four teams ranked in Baseball America's 2015 Preseason Top-25 rankings including No. 5 Texas Tech, No. 11 UCLA, No. 12 Louisville and No. 16 Maryland.
According to BoydsWorld.com, the Titans have the third toughest overall schedule in the nation, ranked only behind 2015 opponents Baylor and Stanford. Fullerton's non-conference schedule ranks as the second toughest behind only Stanford.
CONTINUED EXCELLENCE: 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
2. Miami, Fla. 44
3. Cal State Fullerton 40
THE ROOKIES: Cal State Fullerton's 2014 class was ranked the No. 10 recruiting class in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball newspaper's annual evaluation.
Fullerton's class ranks first among Big West Conference opponents, ahead of No. 18 Long Beach State. The Titans class also ranks third among Division I programs in the state of California behind No. 4 San Diego and No. 8 Stanford.
DRAFT DODGERS: Nine Titans on the current roster have been selected previously in the MLB First-Year Players draft. In 2014, newcomers Tristan Hildebrandt, John Gavin, Jordan Hand, Connor Seabold and Chris Hudgins were each selected in the MLB Draft but elected to attend Cal State Fullerton.
TITANS IN THE DRAFT (by round):
Tristan Hildebrandt 2014 16th round St. Louis Cardinals
Connor Seabold 2014 19th round Baltimore Orioles
Justin Garza 2012 26th round Cleveland Indians
Jordan Hand 2014 34th round New York Mets
Jake Jefferies 2012 34th round Washington Nationals
Chris Hudgins 2014 35th round New York Yankees
John Gavin 2014 39th round Milwaukee Brewers
Timmy Richards 2013 40th round Miami Marlins
David Olmedo-Barrera 2012 40th round Oakland Athletics
HIT THIS, I DARE YA: The Titans pitching staff was spectacular in 2014 and the unquestioned strength of the team. Fullerton 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.
WORKING OVERTIME: In 2014, the Titans played 11 extra inning games, 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 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.
DINNER IS SERVED: The ninth annual Dinner With the Titans set new attendance and fundraising records for the baseball program as more than 500 guests gathered on Jan. 10 at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, Calif. to support the Cal State Fullerton baseball program.
The event raised more than $75,000 for the nationally renowned Titans baseball program thanks to donations, raffle drawings and proceeds from the silent auction. The night set a new record, eclipsing the previous mark of $46,700 raised in 2013.
College baseball and Titans legendary coach Augie Garrido headlined the event, serving as the keynote speaker.
Along with the many fans of the Titans, more than 85 former players and alumni came out for the event including Tim Wallach, Mark Kotsay, Phil Nevin, Justin Turner, Kurt Suzuki, Christian Colon, Matt Chapman, J.D. Davis and Jim Irvine, a member of the first NCAA Division I Titans squad in 1975.
SUMMER IN KOREA: The four-time national champion Cal State Fullerton baseball program has been selected to represent the United States at the 2015 World University games from July 3-14 in Gwangju City, South Korea.
The World University Games is the American term for "Universiade," an international multi-sport event organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The Universiade, which began in 1959, is an international sporting and cultural festival, staged every two years in a different city around the world, representing both winter and summer competitions.
The 2015 Summer Games in Gwangju City, South Korea will have U.S. representation in up to 21 sports by 550 people which will be, by far, the largest American team in the history of U.S. participation in the Games. By contrast, the 2013 American team had 400 athletes and staff in Kazan, Russia.
The U.S.A. won a total of 40 medals at the 2013 Kazan Summer Games, finishing sixth in the world. Many now-famous athletes have represented the U.S.A. in previous WUG competitions prior to gaining stardom in the Olympics and professional sports. These include such elite athletes as Michael Johnson (Track), Charles Barkley and Larry Bird (Men's Basketball), Matt Biondi and Michael Phelps (Swimming), and Lisa Leslie (Women's Basketball).
TITANS IN THE BIG LEAGUES: The Titans have had 55 former players ascend to the major leagues since their first products, Dan Whitmer and Tim Wallach, got there in 1980. Christian Colon and Gary Brown became the 54th and 55th former Titans to break into the Majors after making their debuts in 2014. Colon appeared in his first game with the Kansas City Royals on July 1 while Brown made his Giants debut on Sept. 3 in Colorado. Both players would go on to be picked up for each team's postseason roster and Colon propelled the Royals past the Oakland Athletics with an RBI single in the American League Wild Card Playoff game. Brown would have his lone postseason at-bat in the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals. Colon finished the regular season with a .333 batting average, playing in 21 games. He had five doubles, one triple and six RBI. Brown played in seven games and went 3-for-7 with a run scored and one RBI. Colon and Brown were two of seven former Titans that played in MLB during the 2014 season, joining Khris Davis (Milwaukee Brewers), Reed Johnson (Miami Marlins), Vinnie Pestano (Cleveland Indians/L.A. Angels), Kurt Suzuki (Minnesota Twins) and Justin Turner (L.A. Dodgers).