Fullerton, Calif. - The 2013 baseball team has met, taken their mug shots, attended their first two weeks of class and are well on their way to preparing for the coming season. The Titans, led by second-year Head Coach Rick Vanderhook are coming off a 36-21 year that saw them win their 26th Div. conference championship and reach the postseason for the 21st consecutive year (the third longest streak in NCAA history). But for the second year in a row, the Titans failed to get out of a Regional after winning eight straight from 2003-10.
So back to work. A light draft has given the Titans a stockpile of returning upperclass talent and a young, but strong, group of freshman picked as Vanderhook's and Mike Kirby's first recruiting class, look to bolster the Titan roster.
ON YOUR MARKS: The Titans are getting a quick start on getting back into top-notch shape after a summer away from Fullerton. The 39-man crew is getting its first taste of conditioning with a track star calling the shots. Former Titan Track & Field sprinter DeAndra'e Woods has been running the conditioning portion of their Fall routine since the first week of school and already has the athletes walking differently. Here's to some good 90s.
GET SET: Thirteen of the 39 players on the Titans' Fall roster are true freshmen, coming off their final high school season this past June. The young group contains three former high school league players of the year (Thomas Eshelman, Carlsbad HS; Kyle Murray, Crescenta Valley HS; Miles Chambers, Rio Linda HS) and a trio of athletes (Justin Garza, 26th round, Cleveland; Jake Jefferies, 34th round, Washington; David Olmedo-Berrera, 40th round, Oakland) that bypassed being drafted to attend Cal State Fullerton.
GO: The Titans will hit the road for the second consecutive Fall and play some scrimmage games against outside competition. Last year, the Titans took two games from a highly-touted Vanderbilt squad. This year they will pack it up and head through the desert to Las Vegas to take on UNLV in a pair of scrimmages against the Rebels at Earl E. Wilson Baseball Stadium. The two games will be played on Oct. 20 (1 p.m.) and Oct. 21 (Noon). Because of games played in Hawaii in the Spring, the Titans have the opportunity to use the extra games – per NCAA rules – to scrimmage in the Fall. Fullerton will have a full 56-game schedule come Spring.
SOME FAMILIAR FACES: The Titan baseball office is chalked full of fresh/old faces. Seen among the people milling about the offices are new pitching coach Jason Dietrich, former Titan All-American and major leaguer Shane Costa, 2004 National Champion infielder Neil Walton and former Titan catcher and College World Series participant Cory Vanderhook. The last three will be assuming the undergraduate/graduate assistant coaching roles for the 2013 season.
SUMMER CATCH: A number of Titans participated in collegiate Summer leagues around the country in 2012, including freshman A.J. Kennedy and Thomas Eshelman, who both held their own against stepped up competition. Six Titans were named "top prospects" of their respective leagues by baseball evaluators and five Titans helped their teams to league or World Series championships. Michael Lorenzen became the second Titan in program history to participate with Team USA's Collegiate National Team for a second consecutive year. He and the CNT managed by former Titan coaches Dave Serrano, George Horton and Jason Gill, played an extended series with the Cuban National team in Cuba and also brought home the bronze medal from the Haarlem Baseball Week tournament in The Netherlands. Below is a rundown of all the Titans that participated this past summer by league:
CALIFORNIA COLLEGIATE LEAGUE
Jose Cardona: Santa Barbara Foresters
3-0, 2.20 ERA, 10 G, 16.1 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 12 K
• Cardona was part of the NBC World Series Championship Foresters team.
Willie Kuhl: Santa Barbara Foresters
2-1, 1 SV, 3.24 ERA, 21 G, 25 IP, 14 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 9 BB, 29 K
• Kuhl tossed 8 scoreless innings of relief and struck out 10 to guide the Foresters to the National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series finals. The Foresters were the eventual NBC World Series champions.
Richy Pedroza: Sana Barbara Foresters
.154, 21 G, 78 AB, 15 R, 12 H, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 7 SB
• CCL All-Star
• Pedroza was part of the NBC World Series Championship Foresters team
• Pedroza received All-CCL Gold Glove (defensive) honors
Keegan Dale: San Luis Obispo Blues
.313, 20 G, 83 AB, 16 R, 26 H, 6 2B, 1 3B, 14 RBI, 8 SB
• Dale was a CCL All-Star
• Dale received All-CCL First Team honors
CAPE COD LEAGUE
Michael Lorenzen: Brewster Whitcaps
.161 8 G, 31 AB, 3 R, 5 H, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB
FAR WEST LEAGUE
Jared Deacon: Humboldt Crabs
.245, 29 G, 94 AB, 17 R, 23 H, 1 2B, 15 RBI, 5 SB
• Deacon and the Crabs won the Far West League championship
Casey Watkins: Neptune Beach Pearl
.279, 26 G, 86 AB, 21 R, 24 H, 2 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 12 SB
Clay Williamson: Neptune Beach Pearl
.299, 32 G, 117 AB, 28 R, 35 H, 4 2B, 4 3B, 18 RBI, 9 SB
M.I.N.K COLLEGIATE BASEBALL LEAGUE
Tyler Peitzmeier: Omaha Diamond Spirit (MINK Summer League)
0-4, 4.23 ERA, 6 G, 27.2 IP, 29 H, 19 R, 130ER, 8 BB, 27 K
Matt Chapman: La Cross Loggers
.259, 39 G, 147 AB, 28 R, 38 H, 8 2B, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 8 SB
• Chapman was ranked the No. 2 prospect of the Northwoods League by Baseball America.
• Chapman was ranked the No. 2 prospect of the Northwoods League by Perfect Game
• Chapman and the Loggers won the Northwoods League championship
J.D. Davis: Wisconsin Wood Chucks
.344, 25 G, 90 AB, 20 R, 31 H, 5 2B, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 2 SB
4-0, 2.10 ERA, 5 G, 30 IP, 28 H, 13 R, 7 ER, 10 BB, 33 K
• Davis was ranked the No. 5 prospect of the Northwoods League by Perfect Game
• Davis was named a Summer League All-American by Perfect Game
Chad Wallach: Rochester Honkers
.303, 45 G, 155 AB, 26 R, 47 H, 10 2B, 7 HR, 28 RBI, 3 SB
1-0, 1 SV, 9.00 ERA, 3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
• Wallach was ranked the No. 49 prospect of the Northwoods League by Perfect Game
Michael Lorenzen: USA Baseball Collegiate National Team
.171, 14 G, 35 AB, 6 H, 1 RBI, 7 R, 2 SB
1-1, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 1 K
• USA Won the Bronze Medal at the Honkbal Harlem Baseball Week tournament in The Netherlands.
• Lorenzen was ranked the No. 11 prospect for Team USA by Baseball America
WEST COAST LEAGUE
Dave Birosak: Bend Elks
0-0, 4.09 ERA, 7 G, 11.0 IP, 17 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
Austin Diemer: Cowlitz Black Bears
.279, 41 G, 140 AB, 25 R, 39 H, 8 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 11 SB
• Diemer earned All-WCL Second Team honors
• Diemer was ranked the No. 30 prospect of the West Coast League by Perfect Game
Koby Gauna: Cowlitz Black Bears
2-2, 1 SV, 2.20 ERA, 12 G, 28.2 IP, 27 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 6 BB, 13 K
A.J. Kennedy: Klamath Falls Gems
.224, 20 G, 58 AB, 3 R, 13 H, 1 2B, 7 RBI, 3 SB
Greg Velazquez: Klamath Falls Gems
.313, 42 G, 163 AB, 24 R, 51 H, 9 2B, 1 3B, 22 RBI, 3 SB
• Velazquez earned All-WCL Second Team honors
Thomas Eshelman: Klamath Falls Gems
5-0, 3 SV, 0.61 ERA, 16 G, 29.1 IP, 18 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 8 BB, 35 K
• Eshelman was ranked as the No. 10 Prospect of the West Coast League by Baseball America
• Eshelman was ranked the No. 5 prospect of the West Coast League by Perfect Game