Dec. 20, 2011
Fullerton, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton baseball has been recognized by Collegiate Baseball as the No. 21 team in the nation in its annual Fabulous 40 NCAA Div. I Preseason Poll announced Monday morning from Tucson, Ariz.
The Collegiate Baseball poll is the first of a handful of polls and rankings that will be released in the coming weeks. It is also the oldest college baseball poll dating back to 1958.
Thirty-three percent of Fullerton's 2012 games (18 of 54) will be played against teams on Collegiate Baseball's Top 40. Nine of those games will be played against the Top 10, including a season-opening three-game series at No. 1 Florida in Gainesville (Feb. 17-19). The Titans will also visit Olsen Field for a three-game set with No. 6 Texas A&M (Mar. 9-11) and host No. 10 TCU (Feb. 24-26) at Goodwin Field.
The Titans will square off with four other teams that are receiving votes and sitting just outside the Top 40, accounting for 14 additional games against the nation's best teams.
The Titans are set to begin a new era under the leadership of first-year Head Coach Rick Vanderhook who returned to Fullerton after a three-year stint as an assistant at UCLA. He replaces former Titan Head Coach Dave Serrano who took the same job at the University of Tennessee after guiding the Titans to a 175-73 overall record from 2008-11.
Vanderhook, a three-time national champion with Fullerton, was an assistant to both Augie Garrido and George Horton at Cal State Fullerton from 1985-2007 with a brief stop at Cal State Nothridge when Garrido left the first time in 1988. Over his tenure as a Div. I assistant coach, Hook has helped his team's register a 1026-465-2 (.688) record, with a 913-395 (.698) mark coming in a Titan uniform.
In his first season as head coach, "Hook" will become the longest tenured coach in the history of the baseball program surpassing Garrido, who had 21 total years in the blue and orange.
Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American (third team) Michael Lorenzen will head a core of returners that let the Titans to a 2011 Big West Conference championship and their 20th consecutive postseason appearance.
Lorenzen had an impressive rookie campaign despite missing about three weeks with a nagging wrist injury. He posted the team's best batting average - beating Carlos Lopez by percentage points - while stealing 19 bases en route to earning the Big West's Freshman Player of the Year Award, ABCA All-West Region recognition, and Freshman All-American status from Collegiate Baseball.
The Titan centerfielder also joined a long list of alumni to have played with USA Baseball this past summer. Lorenzen hit .317 with a home run and 10 RBI in 14 games for the Red, White and Blue, helping the Collegiate National Team to an 11-2-1 record.
The Titans welcome 16 newcomers (14 freshman, 2 juniors) that include three taken in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player's Draft. J.D. Davis (Fr., INF/RHP, Elk Grove, Calif.) comes to Fullerton after passing up a 5th round offer from the Tampa Bay Rays. Kenny Mathews (Fr., LHP, Diamond Bar, Calif.) was a 12th round pick of the New York Mets while outfielder Austin Diemer (Fr., Rocklin, Calif.) was a 26th-round selection by the Cleveland Indians.
This season's recruiting class was deemed the 15th best in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball.