FULLERTON, Calif. – The 2013-14 Cal State Fullerton baseball team will make its official debut this weekend at UNLV, playing two fall scrimmages against the Rebels at Earl E. Wilson Stadium.
The Titans return 19 players from last year's 2013 Super Regional squad, including the team's starting weekend rotation and 89 percent of the squad's innings from last season's 51-10 and Big West championship effort.
Eshelman was named the Freshman Pitcher of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He received All-American accolades from four different publications, and the rookie ended his freshman campaign with a 12-3 record and 1.48 ERA, which led the Big West Conference.
Garza, the 2013 Big West Picher of the Year, finished the season with an undefeated record of 12-0 in 17 starts. Garza, a native of Ontario, Calif., was named a second team All-American by Louisville Slugger, Baseball America and the NCBWA.
In addition, Garza's 1.000 (12-0) winning percentage not only set the Fullerton freshman record, but he is one of just four pitchers in Cal State Fullerton history with at least 12 wins and no losses.
Last year's Sunday starter Grahamm Wiest (9-3, 3.27, 76 K's) solidified the rotation. Wiest's 1.12 walks allowed per nine innings ranked 13th in the country and his 5.85 strikeout-to-walk ratio rated 21st.
On Sunday, Wiest is scheduled to pitch along with Tyler Peitzmeier. In addition redshirt freshmen Shane Stillwagon and Miles Chambers are expected to pitch along with freshmen Ryan Kayoda and Phil Bickford.
While the majority of the pitching staff remains, inlcuding last year's midweek starter Koby Gauna, the Titans have only four returning starting position players.
Sophomore A.J. Kennedy and senior Jared Deacon will see time behind the plate, replacing Chad Wallach, who was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the fifth round of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
J.D. Davis will have the chance to make the move to first base from designated hitter after the graduation of Senior CLASS Award winner Carlos Lopez, and sophomore Jake Jefferies returns at second base.
Big West Defensive Player of the Year Richy Pedroza spent four seasons with the Titans, and last year was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, leaving an opening at shortstop.
In the outfield, the Titans lose center fielder and closer Michael Lorenzen after he was drafted 38th overall by the Cincinnati Reds, but Fullerton brings back Austin Diemer, Greg Velazquez, Clay Williamson and David Olmedo-Barrera.
Looking at the newcomers, Cal State Fullerton's 2013 class was ranked the No. 7 recruiting class in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball newspaper's annual evaluation.
The 2013 class includes Bickford and infielder Timmy Richards.
Selected by the Toronto Blue Jays as the 10th overall pick of the 2013 MLB Draft, Bickford elected to attend Cal State Fullerton. During his senior season, Bickford's 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.
Hockin (Upland, Calif./Bonita HS) was evaluated by Perfect Game as the No. 6 prospect in the West Coast League after spending his summer with the Medford Rogues.
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.
Freshman third baseman Christian Rossi (Fresno, Calif./Clovis North HS) was named to the 2013 Fresno Bee first team twice (2012 & 2013).
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.