FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton's 2013 class was ranked the No. 7 recruiting class in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball newspaper's annual evaluation.
Fullerton's class ranks first amongst Big West Conference opponents and Division I programs in the state of California, ahead of No. 30 UC Santa Barbara and No. 8 Stanford, respectively.
Under third-year head coach Rick Vanderhook and recruiting coordinator Mike Kirby, the Titans welcome 11 newcomers to Goodwin Field, with the first day of fall ball scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 3.
Fullerton's 2012 recruiting class, which included All-Americans Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza, was ranked No. 17 in the country by Collegiate Baseball's evaluation one year ago.
Selected by the Toronto Blue Jays as the 10th overall pick of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player, Bickford elected to attend Cal State Fullerton. A 2013 graduate of Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, Calif., Bickford led the Lions to the CIF Southern Section Division IV championship with an 18-strikeout performance in a 4-0 shutout of El Rancho High School. His senior season honors included: CIF Southern Section Division IV Player of the Year, Max Preps California Medium Schools Baseball all-state team, Los Angeles Times All-Area Team, Los Angeles Daily News All-Area Team, Ventura County Star Player of the Year and Tri-Valley League MVP.
Richards was selected in the 40th round by the Miami Marlins in the 2013 MLB Draft. A 2013 graduate of Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif., he played three seasons (2011-13) and was named first team all-Moore League following his senior campaign.
Freshman infielder Taylor Bryant (La Quinta, Calif./La Quinta HS) was a two-time (2012 & 2013) first team all-Desert Valley League selection, and during his senior season batted .337 with three home runs, 21 RBIs and 12 stolen bases along with a .500 on-base percentage as the Blackhawks advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Freshman right-haner Ryan Kayoda (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro HS) received several accolades following his senior season including Orange Country Register All-County Pitcher of the Year, CIF Southern Section All-Division I Team, Max Preps All-State, South Coast League MVP and second-team All-American. He finished the year on the mound with a 9-1 record, 0.36 ERA, 12 appearances and 74 strikeouts in 78 and 1/3 innings.
Freshman catcher Niko Pacheco (Fresno, Calif./Bullard HS) played four years of varsity baseball and following his senior season was named Fresno Bee honorable mention and first team County Metro Athletic Conference after batting .345 with 13 RBIs. In his first year behind the plate during his junior season in 2012, was named the Fresno Bee Player of the Year after helping Bullard to a Valley League Championship and its first Central Section title in 13 years.
Freshman third baseman Christian Rossi (Fresno, Calif./Clovis North HS) was named to the 2013 Fresno Bee first team twice (2012 & 2013), and led the Broncos to the CIF Central Section Division I championship in 2013 as Clovis North finished the season with a 27-6 record.
Sophomore outfielder Tyler Stieb was named an all-Northern California outfielder and a Big 8 Conference first team outfielder as a freshman in 2013 at Delta Community College in Stockton.
Freshman outfielder Marcus Vidales (Woodland, Calif./Pioneer HS) was named to the all-Tri-County League and the Optimist All-Star game after batting .382 with 17 RBIs, one home run, a .520 on-base percentage and 26 stolen bases during his senior season.