LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton heads out on the road for the first time this season for a midweek game against USC. The Titans are coming off an opening series at Goodwin Field where they took two of three from Washington State.
CATCH ALL THE ACTION: Audio for all three games of opening weekend will be streamed for free on fullertontitans.com, and live stats will also be offered. Check the Cal State Fullerton baseball schedule page for all links. The game will also be broadcast on television through the PAC-12 Network.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @BaseballTitans for daily updates during the 2014 season.
CSF vs. USC • ALL-TIME SERIES
First Year Played/Last Year Played 1975/2013
Overall Record 48-37-1
Current Streak Won 4
Home Record 24-15
Road Record 20-19
Neutral Record 4-3-1
Longest Winning Streak 6 games (2/23/82 to 5/25/84)
Longest Losing Streak 5 games (2/7/89 to 2/5/91)
Extra Innings 1-3
Most Runs Scored in a Game 17 runs (2/25/96)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent 14 runs (4/15/08)
Largest Margin of Victory 14 runs (2/19/85)
Largest Margin of Defeat 10 runs (last on 4/15/08)
USC NOTES: The 2014 Trojans were picked to finish ninth in the PAC-12 Conference by a vote of the conference coaches. The Trojans fields a young team with 23 freshmen and sophomores but 15 of those players saw significant playing time in 2013. They also had a rough time in close games last season as they dropped 12 games by one or two runs.
Things are looking good so far for the Trojans as they are coming off a sweep at home against Northwestern, winning the first two games in extra innings and scoring 13 runs in the finale.
VERSUS USC: Cal State Fullerton and USC have met 86 times dating back to 1975. The Titans hold a 48-37-1 advantage over the Trojans in their all-time series. The Titans hold a 24-15 edge at home and a 20-19 advantage at USC after defeating the Trojans 11-4 on March 6, 2013.
The Titans took all three meetings between the teams last season, two of them at Goodwin Field. The Titans won the two home games by a combined three runs, including a 3-2 win on opening night last year.
VERSUS THE PAC-12: The Titans hold a 278-206-3 record all-time against teams currently in the PAC-12 Conference. All time, the Titans have a winning record against seven teams in the current PAC-12 Conference, including USC.
They continued their success against the conference when they opened the 2014 season taking two of three from Washington State at Goodwin Field, one of the only teams in the PAC-12 to hold a winning record over the Titans.
HIT PARADE: In their opening series against Washington State, the Titans hammered out 41 combined hits, reaching double digits in all three games including 17 base knocks on opening night in support of Eshelman's excellent day on the mound.
BRINGING THE LUMBER: The Titans are currently hitting .360 as a team after their opening series to rank No. 1 in the Big West. Their .500 combined slugging percentage also tops the conference while their 14 walks place them third.
The Titans also rank first in the conference in runs scored (24) and on-base percentage (.453) after drawing 14 walks.
THAT'S GOING TO LEAVE A MARK: Life at the plate was a bit painful for the Titans in their opening series against Washington State as seven batter were hit by a pitch. The mark ranks Cal State Fullerton first in the Big West Conference after the first weekend of 2014.
FANNING THE FLAMES: The Cal State Fullerton pitching staff had some filthy stuff over the weekend. Each starter recorded at least five strikeouts, led by Eshelman's eight on opening night while junior Grahamm Wiest fanned seven in the Sunday finale. Koby Gauna also set a new career-high when he struck out eight Cougars in 4.2 innings of relief on Saturday.
The Titans have struck out 28 batters through three games, ranking second in the Big West behind Cal Poly's 33 Ks.
WATCH LIST: Matt Chapman, J.D. Davis, Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza were each named to the 2014 preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List announced by USA Baseball on Friday as the organization marked its first step toward identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country.
Cal State Fullerton's four representatives are tied with reigning PAC-12 champions Oregon State for the most nominations for any school. They also make up half of the Big West Conference's eight representatives on the list.
After a stellar freshman campaign on the mound in 2013, Eshelman makes his first appearance on the initial Golden Spikes Watch List but he is no stranger to the award as he was named to the Golden Spikes midseason watch list and was a semifinalist for the award last season. Eshelman earned seven All-American nods and three freshman pitcher of the year awards in 2013.
The 6-foot-3 right-hander set a new NCAA record in 2013 with a 0.23 walks-per-nine innings mark. He also set a new Titans record with a 27.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio after fanning 83 batters while issuing just three free passes. His 115.2 innings pitched and 1.48 ERA also set new Titans freshman records while his ERA also ranks second in Cal State Fullerton all-time single-season history. In 2014, Eshelman has already piled up the accolades as he's received preseason All-American First Team selections from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball.
Eshelman picked up the victory for the Titans on opening night, hurling seven shutout innings against Washington State and scattering three hits. He walked none and tied a career high with eight strikeouts.
As for Garza, he earns his first appearance on the Golden Spikes Watch List after an outstanding rookie season of his own. The Ontario, Calif. native also earned seven All-American nods in 2013 and was named the Big West Conference's Pitcher of the Year. Garza finished 2013 with a perfect 12-0 record, tying the Fullerton record for most wins by a freshman and becoming just the fourth Titans pitcher to record at least 12 wins without a defeat, the first since Matt Sorenson in 1999. Garza finished the year with a 2.03 ERA and struck out a team-high 95 batters. In the preseason, Garza has received first team selections to the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball All-America teams and a third-team selection in Baseball America's Preseason All-American team.
Junior infielder Matt Chapman had a stellar sophomore year for the Titans, earning a 2013 Big West Second All-Conference Team selection after hitting .285 with five home runs and putting up a .457 slugging percentage. During the summer, Chapman became the 21st Titan to play for the U.S.A. Collegiate National Team. He was named a preseason Second-Team All-American by Baseball America, which also tabbed him the No. 14 junior in the nation and top prospect from the BWC for the 2014 MLB Draft.
J.D. Davis rounds out the list of Titans on the 2014 Golden Spikes Watch List. In 2013, Davis earned a Big West First Team All-Conference selection after hitting .318 with 11 doubles and 50 RBIs. He launched four home runs and slugged .436 to go along with a .407 on-base percentage. On the mound, Davis was a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities and whiffed 17 batters in 23 innings pitched. He finished the season 1-2 with a 2.74 ERA. During the preseason, Davis was named a Second-Team All-American by Baseball America, which also pegged him as the No. 20 junior in the nation and the No. 3 prospect from the BWC for the 2014 MLB Draft.
Chapman is hitting .308 with a .412 on-base percentage after the first three games of the season with one double and three walks while Davis is hitting .385 with a 1.000 slugging percentage after blasting a double, two triples and a home run on opening weekend.
PICKED TO WIN IT: Cal State Fullerton was picked as the favorite to win the 2014 Big West title as selected by the nine conference head coaches that voted in the Big West Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll, it was released by the league on Jan. 30.
The Titans were voted to defend their Big West title as the program garnered eight of the nine available first-place votes.
Fullerton, winner of the past four league titles, captured the 2013 league crown with a 23-4 mark, one game ahead of Cal Poly. Fullerton has won 11 conference championships in the Super Regional era (dating back to 1999; 15 years), sharing the titles with Nevada in 2000 and Long Beach State in 2008.
TITANS AND THE BIG WEST:
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has totaled 27 conference championships dating back to 1975, including 11 in the last 15 years. With last season's title, the Titans made their 35th postseason appearance as well.
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 695-239-1 (.743) conference record over 39 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, has won two straight Big West crowns since 2012, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Augie Garrido (14 conference championships), Larry Cochell (1), George Horton (7) and Dave Serrano (3).
A further breakdown has the Titans winning three PCAA conference championships (1975-76, 1987), eight straight SCBA titles (1977-84) and 16 while playing under the Big West name (1990-91, 94-95, 1997, 1999-2001, 2004-06, 2008, 2010-13). The Big West absorbed the PCAA records in 1990 upon its formation, giving the Titans 19 total Big West championships and a 522-193 (.730; 31 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record.
BUILDING ON EXCELLENCE: Sophomore Thomas Eshelman enters his sophomore year after an outstanding freshman campaign which earned him seven All-American nods and three freshman pitcher of the year awards. Eshelman's rookie season was one of the best in Fullerton history as he set a new Titans single-season record with a 27.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio after striking out 86 while issuing just three walks in 115.2 innings pitched. His 0.23 walks per nine innings set a new NCAA record and he also He also set Fullerton freshman records in innings pitched and ERA with a 1.48 mark, which ranks second in Cal State Fullerton all-time single season history.
TITANS PRESEASON HONORS: The Titans will enter the 2014 season with a boatload of accolades on their belt. Cal State Fullerton was selected as the No. 1 team in the nation by three preseason polls (USA Today Coaches, Collegiate Baseball, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association) to go along with a No. 2 rank in the Perfect Game Preseason Top 25 poll and a No. 4 selection in Baseball America's preseason poll.
Along with the team accolades, several Titans received preseason All-American honors. Thomas Eshelman received preseason All-American First Team selections from the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball.
Justin Garza was selected to the first team on the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-American teams and a third-team selection in Baseball America's Preseason All-American team.
Matt Chapman and J.D. Davis were each named Second-Team Preseason All-Americans by Baseball America.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: In 2014, the Titans will play five opponents that advanced to the 2013 Division I Baseball tournament (Oregon, San Francisco, San Diego, Wichita State, UCLA). Of those opponents, UCLA advanced to the Super Regionals where they defeated the Titans on their way to the College World Series championship…CSF will play three opponents that finished 2013 ranked in Baseball America's Top-25 (No. 1 UCLA, No. 17 Oregon, No. 23 San Diego)…four of Fullerton's opponents were ranked in the top-50 of the NCAA's final top-50 2013 RPI ratings (No. 9 UCLA, No. 11 Oregon, No. 28 Cal Poly, No. 39 San Diego ).
CONTINUED EXCELLENCE: The Titans have won 30-plus games in each of its 39 seasons at the Div. I level and are tied for third in the nation when it comes to most consecutive 30-win campaigns. The only Titan team to win as few as 30 games was the 1989 squad skippered by Larry Cochell. The Titans have never had a losing season at the Div. I level. Fullerton comes in tied for third with Clemson and behind Arizona State and Miami. Pepperdine, which was ranked No. 5, saw its 32-year streak ended in 2010.
Consecutive 30+ win seasons (active)
1. Arizona State 51
2. Miami, Fla. 43
3. Cal State Fullerton 39
THE ROOKIES: Cal State Fullerton's 2014 class was ranked the No. 12 recruiting class in the nation, according to Baseball America's annual evaluation.
Under third-year head coach Rick Vanderhook and recruiting coordinator Mike Kirby, the Titans have welcomed 11 freshmen to Goodwin Field. Fullerton's 2014 class was the only one ranked amongst Big West Conference opponents and one of only three programs from California ranked in the top-25 along with No. 22 Loyola Marymount and No. 24 USC. Collegiate Baseball ranked Fullerton's 2014 recruiting class at No. 7.
From Baseball America's top-25 breakdown, two of Fullerton's 2014 opponents also had ranked recruiting classes; No. 7 Oregon (Feb. 28-Mar. 2) and No. 24 USC (Feb. 18, May 20).
DRAFT DODGERS: Seven Titans on the current roster have been selected previously in the MLB First-Year Players draft. Phil Bickford was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays while Timmy Richards was taken in the 40th round by the Miami Marlins.
TITANS IN THE DRAFT (by round):
Phil Bickford 2013 1st round Toronto Blue Jays
J.D. Davis 2011 5th round Tampa Bay Rays
Austin Diemer 2011 26th round Cleveland Indians
Justin Garza 2012 26th round Cleveland Indians
Jake Jefferies 2012 34th round Washington Nationals
Timmy Richards 2013 40th round Miami Marlins
David Olmedo-Barrera 2012 40th round Oakland Athletics
TOP 50 FRESHMAN: Phil Bickford was ranked as the top freshman by Baseball America in the publication's evaluation of the top 50 freshmen in college baseball released in early February. In addition, Bickford was named the top prospect in the Big West Conference for the 2016 MLB Draft by Perfect Game, who predicted he would be selected in the first or second round.
TOP 50 SOPHOMORES: Ontario, Calif. native Justin Garza was ranked No. 12 by Baseball America in the publication's evaluation of the top 50 sophomores in college baseball. Garza, the 2013 Big West Pitcher of the Year, was also picked as the No. 1 prospect in the Big West Conference for the 2015 MLB Draft. Thomas Eshelman, the 2013 Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year, was considered the third-best prospect in the Big West Conference for the 2015 draft.
TOP 100 SOPHOMORES: Justin Garza and Thomas Eshelman were also ranked in Perfect Game's evaluation of the top 100 sophomores in the country. Garza came in at No. 17 while Eshelman was ranked at No. 30. In addition, Perfect Game ranked Garza and Eshelman as the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects respectively from the Big West Conference for the 2015 MLB Draft.
TOP 50 JUNIORS: Matt Chapman was ranked No. 14 by Baseball America in the publication's evaluation of the top 50 juniors in college baseball while J.D. Davis was ranked No 20. Chapman, a 2013 Big West All Second Team selection, was also selected as the No. 1 prospect from the Big West Conference for the 2014 MLB Draft. Davis, a 2013 Big West First Team Selection, was ranked as the No. 3 prospect from the Big West Conference for the 2014 MLB Draft.
TOP 100 JUNIORS: Matt Chapman and J.D. Davis were also ranked in the top 40 of Perfect Game's evaluation of the top 100 juniors in college baseball. Chapman was ranked No. 16 while Davis placed No. 40. Furthermore, Perfect Game ranked Chapman as the top prospect from the Big West Conference for the 2014 MLB Draft and predicted he would be drafted in the first or second round. Davis was ranked as the fourth best prospect from the Big West Conference for the 2014 MLB Draft and was predicted to be taken in the second or third round.
TITANS IN THE BIG LEAGUES: The Titans have had 53 former players ascend to the major leagues since their first products, Dan Whitmer and Tim Wallach, got there in 1980. Khris Davis became the 53rd player in 2013 when he made his MLB debut on April 1st in a pinch-hitting appearance for the Milwaukee Brewers. Davis would go on to play in 56 games and make 30 starts in left field. He hit .279 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs in 136 at-bats. He posted 10 doubles and a .949 OPS. Davis was one of eight former Titans (Kurt Suzuki, Justin Turner, Ricky Romero, Vinnie Pestano, Brett Pill, Reed Johnson, Mark Kotsay) to play a MLB game in 2013. Davis is currently listed at the top of the Brewers depth chart in left field for the 2014 season. In his three seasons (2007-09) as a Titan, Davis played in 150 games, starting in 122 of them, an hit .296 with 20 home runs and 92 RBIs. He also stole 32 bases in 36 attempts.