May 31, 2012
Eugene, Ore. - Cal State Fullerton's Rick Vanderhook, Dylan Floro and Matt Chapman took home top honors as the Big West Conference announced its postseason awards on Tuesdays afternoon from its Irvine-based offices.
Vanderhook, joined his Titan predecessors Augie Garrido (2-time recipient) Larry Cochell (1) George Horton (5) and Dave Serrano (2) as the conference's coach of the year. Vanderhook, in his first season at the helm of the Titans, has guided the the program to a Big West Conference championship and its 21st consecutive postseason appearance. His Titans (35-19) are in Eugene, Ore., for this weekend's Regional at the University of Oregon's PK Park.
PItching was a big part of the Titans' regular season success in 2012, and Friday night starter Floro was the cornerstone of the staff. The junior from Merced, Calif., was named the conference's pitcher of the year. The right-hander has given up fewer than two earned runs in 11 of his last 12 starts of the year and finds himself among the leaders in numerous categories in the Big West Top 10s. He also ranks 6th in the nation in fewest walks per nine innings (0.92), 13th with a 6.18-to-1 strikeout-to-walk-ratio and 86th in the nation in ERA.
Floro heads into this weekend's Regional with a 10-3 record and a 2.52 ERA over 107.1 innings. He struck out 68 batters during the regular season and walked just 11. He was also named to the all-conference first team as a starting pitcher.
Floro is the first Titan pitcher of the year since Jeff Kaplan was one of three Big West hurlers to share the award in 2008.
Chapman was named the league's freshman player of the year after hitting .288 with two home runs and 22 RBI in his first season as a Titan. He earned his wings in conference play when he batted .315 with 15 RBI in 24 games over the last half of the regular season as a shortstop and third baseman. He was also awarded an all-conference honorable mention nod.
Lopez, in his first season as the program's first baseman, posted the team's second-best batting average (.327) and RBI total (34) through the regular season. Throughout Big West play, Lopez stabilized the Titan line-up from the No. 3 spot, leading the team with a .344 average, picking up 32 of his 68 hits (tied for 9th in league) in the 24 conference games. The junior from Northridge also came up clutch for the Titans, driving in the game-winning run on seven occasions.
Pedroza was on fire over the last month of the season hitting in a team-best 12 straight games. In that span he batted .451 and had an on-base percentage of .523. He heads into the Regional with a team-leading .332 batting average that is good enough for 10th in the Big West Conference. He has been a key component to the Titan line-up as a leadoff hitter, reaching base 37 times in 86 chances (46 percent).
The most decorated Titan in the preseason, Lorenzen, has earned his keep by batting .303 with team-leading numbers in doubles (20), RBI (39) and stolen bases (14). He also performed in a new role as the teams closer, saving 16 ball games around two wins and an ERA of 1.23. He game up just three runs over 22 innings and converted his first 12 consecutive save opportunities. Cal Poly's Mitch Haniger may have been named the Big West's Player of the Year, but Lorenzen may have been the most valuable player to his team. Lorenzen continues to be up for stopper of the year as well as the national two-way player of the year awards. Lorenzen was named a first teamer as both a closer and a utility player.
A former Titan bat boy, Hutting has been a quiet provider to the Titan line-up, spending most of his time in left field. The junior has hit a solid .280 and is leading the team in on-base percentage and sacrifices. In league play, Hutting has hit .338 with an on-base percentage of .438 over 21 games. He too has come up clutch on a number of occasions, driving in five game-winning runs - two of which came in the 9th inning. Hutting has also been a key pinch-hitter for the Titans, going 3-for-5 off the bench including a pinch-hit home run, the first of his career, on Mar. 13 against Washington State.
Kuhl has been a valuable young arm out of the bullpen going 2-3 with a 3.65 ERA in 16 appearances. In Big West play he has gone 1-1 with an ERA of 2.31 and struck out 17 in 11.2 innings. In those five games, Kuhl has held the opponent to a .190 batting average against him. He struck out a season-high eight batters in 3.2 innings of relief against Cal Poly on Apr. 21 and then 7 in a season-best four-inning stint on May 19 against UC Riverside.