February 26, 2014

Titans Prepare to Face Oregon in Battle of Ranked Teams

Weekly Release (PDF)

EUGENE, Ore. – No. 5 Cal State Fullerton makes their first road trip outside the state of California when they take on No. 9 Oregon, beginning Friday at 6 p.m.

 

CATCH ALL THE ACTION: Live stats for all three games at Oregon will be available at fullertontitans.com. In addition, a live video stream will also be provided courtesy of PAC-12 livestream. A live audio will also be available and all links can be found on fullertontitans.com.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @BaseballTitans for daily updates during the 2014 season.

 

CSF vs. OREGON

First Year Played/Last Year Played            2010/2013

Overall Record           2-3

Current Streak          Lost 1

NCAA Regional Record          0-1

Overall Postseason Record   0-1

Home Record 2-2

Road Record  0-1

Neutral Record          0-0

Longest Winning Streak       2 games (3/1/13 to 3/2/13)

Longest Losing Streak           2 games (2/19/10 to 6/2/12)

Most Runs Scored in a Game           8 runs (3/1/13)

Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent            9 runs (3/3/13)

Largest Margin of Victory     6 runs (3/1/13)

Largest Margin of Defeat     8 runs (3/3/13)

 

OREGON NOTES: The Ducks were picked to finish second in the PAC-12 conference by a vote of the conference head coaches. They received 86 points in the poll, trailing only Oregon State. The Ducks won a school-record 48 games in 2013 before ending their season in the Regionals in Eugene. The Ducks return six position player starters in 2014 behind a pitching staff that features first-team All PAC-12 pick Tommy Thorpe along with nine other pitchers from last year's team that finished second in the conference.

 

In 2014, the Ducks have gotten off to a hot start, winning their first eight games of the season, all on the road. They opened the year with a sweep in Hawaii and followed that by taking all three games at Loyola Marymount. It's the Ducks best start since 1963 when they won their first 10 games of the season. This weekend's series against the Titans is part of a 15-game homestand for the Ducks, which started with a 8-2 victory over Portland on Tuesday.

 

VERSUS THE PAC-12 CONFERENCE: The Titans hold a 278-207-3 record against teams currently in the PAC-12 conference. They are currently 2-2 against the conference this season after taking two of three from Washington State in the season opening series at Goodwin Field, which was followed by a 6-1 loss on the road at USC. Despite the split, the Titans hold a 24-19 edge on the scoreboard against the PAC-12 this season.

 

In 2013, the Titans went won seven of eight contests against PAC-12 teams, outscoring them 48-31.

 

TITAN CONNECTIONS: Ducks head coach George Horton spent 17 seasons at Cal State Fullerton serving as the Titan head coach from 1997-07, and as an assistant from 1991-96. During his time as head coach, CSF made 11 consecutive postseason appearances, including six trips to the College World Series and a national championship in 2004. He recorded a 490-212-1 (.698 winning pct) in his time with the Titans including a 198-69 (.742) mark in the Big West Conference. Horton also played for the Titans for two years (1975-76), earning all-conference honors as a first baseman during both seasons.

 

Horton recorded his 900th career victory as a head coach in the Ducks' 10-2 victory at Hawaii on Feb. 17 after 23 years as a head coach. Prior to coaching the Titans, Horton compiled 226 victories as the head coach at Cerritos College in six season (1985-90). He's added 188 victories in his five years at Oregon and is within 22 wins of 700 NCAA Division I victories.

 

FIRST TIME'S A CHARM: The Titans took the last two games of their home series against San Francisco over the weekend. It was the first series between the two teams in the Titans' 39-year NCAA Division I baseball history. The Titans outscored the Dons 21-7 in the series including a 16-1 edge in the final two games.

 

HIT PARADE: The Titans are averaging 11 hits a game this season after tallying 77 total knocks through seven games. They are tied for second in the Big West Conference in total hits as well as extra-base hits (20). They are also currently undefeated this season when they out hit their opponent (4-0) and have yet to record a victory when their opponent has the advantage in the hits column.

 

NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET: The Titans are currently hitting .296 (29-for-98) with two outs and they displayed more of that clutch hitting in their series win over San Francisco. They had five RBIs with two outs over the weekend, capped off by Austin Diemer's two-out RBI single in the sixth inning in the Sunday finale. Meanwhile, Titans opponents are hitting just .224 (19-for-85) with two outs.

 

TIMELY HITTING, STINGY PITCHING: Cal State Fullerton is currently hitting .329 with runners in scoring position through seven games. Clay Williamson leads the Titans, hitting .500 with RISP, followed closely by Tanner Pinkston and Greg Velazquez, who are both hitting .444 with RISP. In contrast, Titans pitchers are allowing opponents to hit just .204 with men in scoring position.

 

'GO UP THERE AND STEP INTO ONE!': Life at the plate was a bit painful for the Titans as they have collectively been hit by 15 pitches through seven games in 2014. Freshman outfielder Tyler Stieb has the most bruises on the team, having been plunked four times while Matt Chapman, Jared Deacon and Austin Diemer have each worn the baseball twice.

 

THE .400 CLUB: Five Titans currently have an on-base percentage of .400 or better this season, led by Jared Deacon and Tanner Pinkston who both have a .500 OBP. Pinkston has 12 hits and two walks this year while Deacon has four hits and three free passes. Clay Williamson is next in line as he is getting on base at a .480 clip after collecting 10 hits and one walk in seven games. J.D. Davis leads the team with seven walks this year to go along with his nine hits while Matt Chapman rounds out the list with a .421 on-base percentage.

 

FANNING THE FLAMES: Cal State Fullerton pitchers had some filthy stuff on the mound for visiting San Francisco over the weekend. The Titans pitching staff combined to strike out 41 Dons in the three game series. Three pitchers set new career highs in strikeouts on three different days. Koby Gauna fanned a new career-best eight batters in Friday's 19-inning opener and Justin Garza followed with 12 strikeouts in Saturday's 11-0 victory. Grahamm Wiest then capped off the weekend, getting 10 Dons to whiff en route to his fifth career complete game.

 

SUPPORTING THE TITANS: The Cal State Fullerton faithful have come out in force to support their Titans through two weekend series at Goodwin Field. Against San Francisco, the Titans drew 5,790 fans to Goodwin, with a series-high 2,144 taking in the historic 19-inning game on Friday night.

 

The Titans are averaging 2,183 fans per game at Goodwin Field, ranking them No. 27 in the nation but 11th amongst teams that have had at least six home games in 2014. They have drawn a grand total of 13,099 fans, ranking the Titans No. 18 in the nation.

 

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 mid season 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.

 

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.

 

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.

Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 695-239-1 (.743) overall 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 ).

 

The Ducks will play 20 games against teams ranked in the preseason top-25 in at least one of the five major polls, including the Titans. This series marks the first time each team will face a ranked opponent in 2014.

 

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

            Clemson         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 100 FRESHMAN: Phil Bickford was also ranked as the top freshman in the country in Perfect Game's evaluation of the top 100 freshman in the country.

 

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.