January 27, 2014
FULLERTON, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton received more preseason accolades Monday as they were ranked No. 2 in the Perfect Game Preseason College Top 25 poll and No. 4 in the Baseball America Preseason Top 25 poll.
Fullerton, the reigning four-time Big West Conference champions, was the only team from the conference to be ranked in each poll. Virginia was selected as the No. 1 team in the nation by both polls.
Monday's rankings only add to the Titans preseason expectations as they were ranked No. 1 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball in December.
In 2013, the Titans finished with a 51-10 (.836) overall record, the second-best winning percentage in program history. Their 51 victories also tied for fourth in Titans history and were the most wins for Cal State Fullerton since 1995 (57).
The Titans return 18 players to the 2014 squad including a dominant starting pitching core of Thomas Eshelman, Justin Garza and Grahamm Wiest. Eshelman received seven All-American nods and three freshman pitcher of the year awards in 2013. He was also a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award after notching a 12-3 record with a 1.48 ERA in his freshman season. He set a new Cal State Fullerton record with a 27.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio after fanning 83 batters while allowing only three free passes in 115 and 2/3 innings pitched. His mark of 0.23 walks per nine innings was also a new school and NCAA record.
Along with Eshelman, Garza also received seven All-American nods and was named the 2013 Big West Pitcher of the Year. He put up a 12-0 record during the season, setting a new Titans freshman record for winning percentage. He is also one of just four other pitchers in Fullerton history with at least 12 victories without a defeat in a season, the last being Matt Sorenson (12-0) in 1999. Garza also led the pitching staff with 95 strikeouts in 2013.
Wiest had a solid sophomore season for the Titans in 2013 with a 9-3 record and 76 strikeouts. His 1.12 walks allowed per nine innings ranked 13th in the country and his 5.85 strikeout-to-walk ratio rated 21st.
The Titans open the season on Feb. 14 against Washington State at Goodwin Field. Other highlights in the schedule include a trip to Oregon (Feb. 28 - Mar. 2), and a pair of games against reigning NCAA National Champion UCLA (April 8 home; May 6 away). Both teams are ranked in the top 12 of both polls.
Season ticket packages and single-game tickets are currently on sale for the 2014 season.