FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton rookie right-handers Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza were named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Freshman All-American First Team, it was announced on Monday.
Eshelman and Garza played a major role in Cal State Fullerton's 51-10 record, 2013 Big West Conference championship and the Titans' run to the NCAA Division I Super Regionals.
A native of Carlsbad, Calif., Eshelman ended his rookie campaign with a 12-3 record and 1.48 ERA, which led the Big West Conference. Fullerton's Friday-night starter set Titan freshman records for innings pitched (115.2) and ERA (1.48), while the 1.48 mark ranks second in Cal State Fullerton all-time single-season history.
In addition, Eshelman struck out 83 batters and walked just three, a 27.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio that also set a new single-season record at Cal State Fullerton, previously held by Wes Roemer (20.7; 2006). That wasn't the only Cal State Fullerton record Eshelman took from Roemer, as the rookie's mark of fewest walks per nine innings (0.23) also topped Roemer's mark of 0.41 in 2006.
Eshelman was named Collegiate Baseball's 2013 Freshman Pitcher of the Year, and was also named to the Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-American Team. Eshelman was also voted the Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year, was named a Golden Spikes Semifinalist, and earned Louisville Slugger All-American first team accolades.
In his first 63 and 1/3 innings as a collegiate pitcher, Eshelman did not issue a walk, a streak that fell just two innings short of Wes Roemer's program record of 65 and 1/3 innings in 2006. The main difference between the two streaks was that Eshelman plunked only two batters, while Roemer drilled 12.
Eshelman was named Big West Pitcher of the week on March 4 after the 6-foot-3 right-hander tossed the first complete game of his career, holding then 14th-ranked Oregon to two runs on four hits in the 8-2 Titan victory. Eshelman issued zero walks and struck out six in just his third career start.
On Feb. 15, 2013, Eshelman became the first freshman to start a season opener for the Titans since Feb. 5, 1987 when Mark Beck took the mound vs. Saint Mary's. Eshelman didn't disappoint the sellout crowd of 3,508 as CSF edged USC, 3-2.
Garza, the 2013 Big West Picher of the Year, finished the season with an undefeated record of 12-0 in 17 starts, sharing the Cal State Fullerton freshman win record with Eshelman, after the pair surpassed Tyler Pill's total of 11 wins in 2009.
In addition, Garza's 1.000 (12-0) winning percentage not only set the Fullerton freshman record, but the native of Ontario, Calif., is one of just four pitchers in Cal State Fullerton history with at least 12 win and no losses following Tim Dixon (13-0, 1995), Matt Sorenson (12-0, 1999), and Benito Flores (12-0, 1998).
Garza finished the year with a 2.02 ERA (third Big West) with 115 innings on the mound (third Big West) and 95 strikeouts (second Big West) compared to just 17 walks.
Garza was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America on last week, after being named one of 10 semifinalists for the College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year Award on June 3. He was also named a Louisville Slugger Second Team All-American.
Garza earned Big West Pitcher of the Week honors on March 11 following an impressive outing versus NCAA participant Texas A&M.
The 2013 NCBWA Freshman All-American Team features players from 15 conferences and five conference championship teams.
North Carolina placed three players on the squad, all on the first team. Cal State Fullerton had two players named to the first team, while Arizona State, North Florida, Oregon and Sacramento State also each placed two players on the teams.
The 2013 NCBWA National Freshman Player of the Year and National Freshman Pitcher of the Year will be announced on Tuesday, June 11.
Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport. For more information about the NCBWA, visit the association's official Web site, www.ncbwa.com.