#11 UCLA AT CAL STATE FULLERTON
FEB 27th • GOODWIN FIELD
FULLERTON, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton will take on No. 11 UCLA in the final contest of a five-game homestand, Tuesday at 6 pm PT out at Goodwin Field.
UCLA- RHP, Ryan Garcia (0-0, 1.17 ERA) at CSF - RHP, Gavin Velasquez (0-1, 3.18 ERA)
CATCH ALL THE ACTION
Fans can follow the action on Big West TV, listen to the audio stream, or follow along with live stats. Links to all three are available on FullertonTitans.com.
Follow @BaseballTitans on Twitter for daily updates during the 2018 season. Fullerton baseball is also on Instagram, so make sure to follow the 2018 team all season @CSF_TitansBaseball.
IT'S NOT HOW YOU START
Tuesday night's loss to Nevada marked Fullerton's fourth straight defeat to open the season, which is something that's never happened in the history of the program. However, the Titans have been swept (lost three in a row) at Stanford to begin a season four times in school history and in the previous three instances, some pretty good things ended up happening. They were swept in 2000, 2004, 2006 and here in 2018. In 2000, Fullerton made the postseason and won the Big West crown. In 2004, the Titans won their fourth National Championship and in 2006, Fullerton claimed a spot in the College World Series.
NO NEED TO PANIC
Fullerton's 1-6 start to the season marks the first time the Titans have been five games under .500 since they began the 1991 campaign 3-6 under legendary head coach Augie Garrido. Even that season the Titans finished 34-22 finished atop of the Big West Conference.
WIN AT ALL COSTS
The Titans needed 15 innings to clinch their first victory of the season last Friday night vs. the Houston Cougars. The 2-1 walk-off win was the Titans' first walk-off win since earning a 3-2 14-inning victory over UC Irvine last year (April 29, 2017). The 15-inning affair was the longest game the Titans have played in innings wise since playing a 16-inning contest vs. Fresno State on April 23, 2014. The contest was the longest time wise, since the Titans took down Arizona State 3-2 (14) in five hours and 12 minutes during the Fullerton Regional on May 30, 2015. The Titans earned the win without recording an RBI in the game.
As Fullerton prepares to take on No.11 UCLA on Tuesday, seven of the Titans' first eight contests have come against ranked opponents.
Newcomer Tommy Wilson has been nothing short of spectacular so far this season. He's yet to surrender a run in three appearances out of the pen this season, while he's pitched 8.2 innings total, while fanning 12. Most importantly, he owns Fullerton's lone win on the season, as he came on in relief on Friday night in extra innings vs. Houston. He pitched tossed 5.0 scoreless innings in the extra session, while surrendering just one hit and striking out nine. The Cougars had a runner at third base with less than two outs on two separate occasions while Wilson was on the mound. He wiggled out of trouble both times. Fullerton eventually won 2-1 in extra innings.
BERRY, BERRY GOOD
Mitchell Berryhill earned his first start of his Titan career Tuesday vs. Nevada. Since then he's started in four consecutive games and is currently riding a four-game hit streak. He's gone 7-for-16 from the plate this season for a team-best .438 batting average. He went 3-of-5 from the dish with a run scored and an RBI in last Sunday's contest vs. Nevada.
After missing most of the 2017 campaign with a back injury, Ruben Cardenas is back in a big way. He's currently batting .323 and owns a seven-game hit streak to begin the season, while claiming a team-high slugging percentage of .452. He also leads the team in RBI (4) and total bases (14), . He's the lone Titan to record a home run, as he blasted a two-run shot in the seventh opening weekend at Stanford.
WHAT A RELIEF
It hasn't been the start Fullerton was hoping for this season, but boy has the bullpen been good. Through seven contests, the pen has surrendered just seven earned runs in 38.1 innings for an ERA of 1.65 while fanning 23 batters. Five Fullerton relievers have yet to surrender an earned run.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Eleven of Fullerton's 17 newcomers have already made their Titan debuts through the first four games.
2018 SEASON OUTLOOK
For the Titans, it'll be a good mix of returners and newcomers that should make up a team worthy of its top-10 preseason ranking. Fullerton welcomes back 16 letterwinners from a year ago, including two all-conference performers from 2017 in junior closer Brett Conine and sophomore infielder Sahid Valenzuela. The Titans will also be under the leadership of four-time Big West Coach of the Year Rick Vanderhook, who enters his seventh season as head coach. The returners will be joined by a recruiting class that is ranked 27th in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball. The Titans enter the 2018 season ranked in every national preseason poll, with the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association awarding Cal State Fullerton with the highest ranking of 10th.
• Cal State Fullerton finished the 2017 season with a record of 39-24 (.619), securing the 43rd consecutive winning season in program history. It was also the 43rd straight year the Titans won at least 30 games in a season. The postseason appearance was also Fullerton's 26th straight, which is the second longest streak in the nation, behind only Florida State (40).
• The Titans made their 18th trip to the College World Series and second in the last three years. The 18 appearances in Omaha ranks the Titans tied for 7th with LSU all-time behind Texas (35), Miami (25), Arizona State and Florida State (22), USC (21) and Oklahoma State (20).
CSF vs. UCLA • ALL-TIME SERIES
First Year Played/Last Year Played: 1975/2017
Overall Record: 68-33-2
Current Streak: Won 1
NCAA Regional Record: 4-2
NCAA Super Regional Record: 3-4
Overall NCAA Postseason Record: 7-6
Home Record: 37-15-1
Road Record: 29-17-1
Neutral Record: 2-1
Longest Winning Streak: 7 games, 2 times (last from 02/24/07 to 03/05/08)
Longest Losing Streak: 4 games (05/07/86 to 04/22/87)
Extra Innings: 2-6
Most Runs Scored in a Game: 19 runs (04/22/98)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent: 16 runs, 2 times (last on 04/22/87)
Largest Margin of Victory: 15 runs (02/22/84)
Largest Margin of Defeat: 10 runs (02/16/82)
• Sophomores Michael Toglia and Chase Strumpf are leading the offense for the Bruins in the early part of the season. Both are hitting over .420 through seven games with 11 hits and have combined to drive in or score 35 of UCLA's 51 runs this season. The Infielders are also slugging over .700 for the season with one home run each.
• Through seven games this season, Daniel Amaral already ranks tops in the Pac-12 conference and 36h in the NCAA with four stolen bases. His effort on the base paths have been rewarded as the junior outfielder ranks tied for sixth in the Pac-12 and 58th in the country with nine runs scored.
After the first two weekends of the college baseball season, the Bruins are ranked top-25 nationally in a number of categories:
• Walks Allowed Per Nine Innings (4th, 2.00), Shutouts (5th, 2), ERA (8th, 1.86), Doubles (17th, 19), Fielding Percentage (10th, .989), WHIP (11th, 0.95), On-Base Percentage (13th, .441), Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio (16th, 4.07), Sacrifice Flies (25th, 5).
HOW THE (BIG) WEST WAS WON? HOPEFULLY
The Titans have claimed the Big West title six out of the last eight seasons and the Titans are the favorites to do it again in 2018. Cal State Fullerton has been picked as the team to beat in the Big West Conference, according to the nine league coaches that voted on the Big West baseball preseason poll. Fullerton received a total of 73 points and six of nine first place votes in the poll, while Long Beach State tallied 65 points and two first place votes to finish second.
2018 Coaches Poll Results
1. Cal State Fullerton - 73 (6)
2. Long Beach State - 65 (2)
3. Cal Poly - 64
4. UC Santa Barbara - 49
5. CSUN - 48
6. UC Irvine- 43 (1)
7. Hawai'i - 27
8. UC Riverside - 26
9. UC Davis – 10
( ) First-place vote
BEST IN THE WEST
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 760-270-1 (.738) conference record over 43 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, has compiled a 105-38 Big West Conference record in his six seasons and has led Fullerton to the conference crown in four of his six seasons at the helm. The four conference titles for Vanderhook is the second most in school history, only behind Augie Garrido (14). Overall, the Titans have won 29 conference titles.
A further breakdown has the Titans winning three PCAA conference championships (1975-76, 1987), eight straight SCBA titles (1977-84), and 18 while playing under the Big West name (1990-91, 94-95, 1997, 1999-2001, 2004-06, 2008, 2010-13, 2015-16). The Big West absorbed the PCAA records in 1990 upon its formation, giving the Titans 20 total Big West championships and a 584-224-1 (.722; 35 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record
TITAN PRIDE NEVER GRADUATES
Cal State Fullerton held its annual Alumni Game back on Jan. 27th and it was the Titans coming up with a 6-3 victory over the Alumni. The win Fullerton's ninth win in 10 tries over the Alumni squad.
THERE'S A STANDARD HERE
Fullerton has won 30-plus games in each of its 43 seasons at the Div. I level and is tied for second 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.
Consecutive 30+ win seasons (active)
1. Miami, Fla. 47
2. Cal State Fullerton 43
2. Clemson 43
TITANS IN THE BIG LEAGUES
The Titans have had 65 former players ascend to the major leagues since their first products, Dan Whitmer and Tim Wallach, got there in 1980.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
In 2018, the Titans will face six teams that qualified for the 2017 NCAA Tournament in Stanford, Houston, UCLA, Oregon State, Long Beach State and San Diego State. Oregon State advanced all the way to Omaha last year, while Fullerton knocked out LBSU in Super Regional play Stanford in Regional play.
The Titans finished the regular season 11-3-1 in weekend series last season. The 11 series wins were the most since claiming 14 in 2013. They finished with 13 total series wins total if you want to count the dominating sweep at the Stanford Regional and Fullerton's 2-1 Super Regional series win over Long Beach State.
In 2017, Conine established himself as one of the best Titan closers of all-time. He picked up 15 saves on the season, which was sixth best nationally, best in the Big West and was the fourth-most saves any Titan has ever picked up in a single season.
Overall, the Orange, California native compiled a 1.39 ERA in 45.1 innings pitched while collecting 43 strikeouts while only walking six in 2017. Conine earned All Big-West First Team honors, Collegiate Baseball All-American Second Third Team honors and was a finalist for the Gregg Olson award, which goes to the nation's best closer a year ago. He also picked up a six-out save in game three of the Long Beach Super Regional to send the Titans to the CWS.
Conine was named to NCBWA's Preseason All-American Second Team, Collegiate Baseball's Preseason All-American Second Team, Perfect Game's Preseason All-American Third Team and D1 Baseball's Preseason All-American Second Team and was placed on NCBWA's Initial Stopper of the Year Watch List.
Junior right-handed hurler Colton Eastman has earned a spot on USA Baseball's 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list for the second straight season. The Golden Spikes Award is given out to the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2018 season. Eastman is one of just five athletes on the list to be featured now in back-to-back seasons with preseason recognition and the lone member from the Big West Conference.
He put together one of the most heroic seasons in college baseball in 2017. After being injured most of the season, Eastman came back just in the nick of time. The Fresno, California native compiled a perfect 2-0 mark to go along with a 2.14 ERA and 37 strikeouts in only eight appearances.
He saved his best performance for the biggest game of the season, as he tossed seven innings, struck out eight, surrendered just one hit and zero earned runs en route to a 2-1 victory over Long Beach State to send the Titans to Omaha. Conine picked up the six-out save in that game.
In addition to the Golden Spikes Award recognition, Eastman has been placed on Collegiate Baseball's Preseason All-American Second Team, D1Baseball's Preseason All-American Third Team, and has been named to Baseball America's Top-100 Prospects list.
LOOK'S LIKE A PRO
It may be just Andrew Quezada's first year at Cal State Fullerton, but he's already getting the love from the pros. The Bellflower, California was nearly unhittable at Cypress College, as he compiled a microscopic 1.17 ERA and led his team to a state semifinal berth. He also recorded the first no-hitter in program history. D1Baseball has placed Quezada on its Top-100 MLB Prospects List.
Thirty-Two of the 36 players (89 percent) on the roster are from California, two are from Arizona (Tyler Smith and Sahid Valenzuela), one is from Utah (Mitchell Berryhill) and one is from Washington (Jairus Richards).
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD
The Titans were 30-10 when scoring first last season, 20-5 when scoring in the first inning, while they're 29-2 when leading after the sixth frame, 33-2 when leading after seven and 36-1 when leading after eight. They're also 25-4 when holding their opponent to two runs or less. They 5-1 when scoring first in last year's postseason.
While it was definitely good news when the Titans took an early lead last season, Fullerton also showed the ability to get the job done in the late stages of games last year. The Titans have outscored their opponents 42-23 in the seventh, 37-23 in the eighth and 24-10 in the ninth frame this season. They've outscored their opponent 103-56 in those three innings combined.