FULLERTON, Calif. – No. 9 Cal State Fullerton concludes a seven-game homestand this weekend when they welcome Long Beach State to Goodwin Field for a non-conference series.
CATCH ALL THE ACTION: All three games against Long Beach State this weekend will be broadcast on ESPN3. In addition, a live audio feed and live stats will be available for the weekend series. Links can be found by visiting the baseball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @BaseballTitans on Twitter for daily updates during the 2014 season.
CSF vs. LONG BEACH STATE
First Year Played/Last Year Played 1975/2013
Overall Record 130-60
Current Streak Won 7
PCA/Big West Conference Record 69-40
SCBA Conference Record 30-7
Overall Conference (PCAA/Big West and SCBA) 97-46
Big West Conference Tournament Record 4-2
NCAA Regional Record 0-1
Overall NCAA Postseason Record 0-1
Home Record 66-29
Road Record 63-30
Neutral Record 1-1
Longest Winning Streak 15 games (4/1/85 to 4/10/88)
Longest Losing Streak 5 games (5/24/02 to 3/28/03)
Extra Innings 4-3
Most Runs Scored in a Game 26 runs (5/2/80)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent 17 runs, 2 times (last on 5/19/01)
Largest Margin of Victory 17 runs (3/31/81)
Largest Margin of Defeat 12 runs, 2 times (last on 5/16/99)
LONG BEACH STATE NOTES: The Dirtbags enter this weekend's series with a 10-9 overall record, suffering a narrow 4-3 loss at Loyola Marymount on Tuesday. They have won six of nine games in the month of March after starting the year 4-6. The Dirtbags have will also be playing their eighth game against a team ranked in the top-25 when they take on the Titans this weekend. They hold a 3-4 record in those games against ranked opponents.
The Dirtbags are currently averaging 4.6 runs a game and are ranked fifth in the nation with 11 triples. Their pitching staff comes in with a collective 3.45 ERA, ranking them 95th in the country and have allowed just 44 walks in their 19 games this season, ranking them 12th in the nation.
VERSUS THE BIG WEST CONFERENCE: The Titans hold a 479-176 record against teams currently in the Big West Conference. All-time, the Titans have a winning record against all eight teams currently in the conference. The Titans also boast a 130-60 overall record against Long Beach State, the most victories against any school in the conference with the 190 contests also the most against any opponent in the conference.
The Titans are currently riding a seven-game winning streak against the Dirtbags dating back to 2012. Cal State Fullerton swept all six games against Long Beach State in 2013, although three of those games were decided by just one run while another was a two-run win for the Titans. The Titans last loss against the Dirtbags came on May 26, 2012 in a 5-1 decision at Blair Field. The Titans last loss to the Dirtbags at Goodwin Field came earlier that season on March 18, 7-2 but the Titans have still won 22 of the last 25 meetings between the teams and have not lost consecutive games to the Dirtbags since 2008.
CENTURY MARK: Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook is currently sitting on 98 career victories as a head coach after the team's win over UNLV on Tuesday. A pair of victories this weekend would make Vanderhook the second-fastest Titans coach to reach 100 victories since the team began playing NCAA Division I baseball in 1975. The legendary Augie Garrido reached the century mark in 135 games at the Division I level while it took George Horton 147 contests to win his 100th game with the Titans. Larry Cochell reached 100 wins in his 161st game as head coach at Cal State Fullerton.
KEEPING KUHL: Titans reliever Willie Kuhl earned his first victory of the season Tuesday after thoroughly shutting down the UNLV offense on Tuesday. The right-hander from Mission Viejo allowed just two hits in two and 2/3 innings of relief and struck out six of the of the 10 batters he faced.
In his last four appearances, Kuhl has gone six and 2/3 innings and allowed just three hits with 11 strikeouts and has lowered his ERA to 0.87 on the season.
DAVIS LOOKING FOR A NEW STREAK: Cal State Fullerton's J.D. Davis had two streaks come to an end on Tuesday. He went 0-for-4 to bring his five-game hitting streak to an end and also failed to reach base safely for the first time after doing so in 12 consecutive games. This season, Davis has had at least one hit in 14 of the 18 games he's played and has failed to reach base just twice, the other time coming in the Titans' 19-inning loss to San Francisco on Feb. 21.
GOOD TIMES AT GOODWIN: The Titans will finish up a stretch of seven straight games at Goodwin Field after their series with Long Beach State comes to an end. They are currently 3-1 through the first four games of the homestand. This season, the Titans are 7-3 at Goodwin Field and have outscored their opponents 57-34.
NO FREE PASSES HERE: Through games played until March 19, the Titans pitching staff has made sure to pound the strike zone. Cal State Fullerton's pitching ranks No. 1 in the nation in walks allowed per nine innings, giving up just 1.24 free passes a game in 166.2 innings pitched. Houston is second with a 1.58 walks per game avearge.
TOP-1O STAFF: The Cal State Fullerton pitching staff continues to impress as they are ranked in the top-10 of a number of categories. Along with leading the nation in walks allowed per nine innings, Titans pitching also ranks first in strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Titans have fanned 152 batters in 166 innings while allowing just 23 walks, a mark of 6.61. TCU ranks second with a 4.76 mark. The Titans are also ranked fifth in the nation in WHIP (0.95), and are just outside the top-10 in ERA, ranking 13th in the nation with a 2.16 team ERA.
THERE'S NO COMING BACK FROM THIS: The Titans currently hold a 7-1 record this season when holding a lead after six innings. That mark increases to 8-1 when leading after seven frames and the Titans are undefeated when holding the lead through eight, boasting a 9-0 record in those situations.
The Dirtbags come in with a 7-0 record when leading after five innings and are just 1-8 on the season when trailing through five frames.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Cal State Fullerton will have 12 of its games broadcast on ESPN3 this season, the Big West Conference announced Wednesday. A total of 19 Big West baseball games will be carried on ESPN3 with the Titans making up the bulk of the schedule beginning with this weekend's non-conference series against Long Beach State at Goodwin Field.
Of the 12 Titans games on ESPN3, 11 of them will take place at Goodwin Field. The Titans Big West Conference opener against UC Davis on April 4 will be showcased on the network. Other games on the television schedule for the network include the opening game of the Titans home series against Hawaii on April 25, the entire series with UC Riverside from May 9-11 and the final series of the season against Cal State Northridge from May 22-24. The lone road game for the Titans featured on ESPN3 will be their series opener at UC Irvine on May 16.
SUPPORTING THE TITANS: According to this week's attendance report released by the NCBWA, Cal State Fullerton is ranked in the top-35 in both avearage and total attendance. The Titans had drawn a total of 19,267 fans to Goodwin Field at the time of the report released Monday, ranking them 33rd in the nation. The Titans are also averaging 2,140 fans per game, good for 30th in the country.
Those figures account for nine home games at Goodwin Field. Amongst teams that had hosted less than 10 games at the time of the report, the Titans ranked ninth in average attendance and fourth in overall attendance.
SMART BASEBALL: Junior outfielder Austin Diemer was named the Big West Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, it was announced on March 3.
In 2013, Diemer was named to the Capital One Academic All-District VIII Team and to the Big West Conference All-Academic Team. The Communications/Broadcast Journalism major participates in the annual "Challenger Clinic", working closely with individuals with special needs, and he volunteered at the Barnyard Wiffle Ball Invitational. Carrying a 3.77 GPA, Diemer has earned Dean's List honors in each of his semesters as a Titan.
BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST: Titans backstop Jared Deacon was one of 43 catchers named to the initial Johnny Bench Award Watch List on March 6. He was the only catcher from the Big West Conference named to the list. He is looking to become the first Titans catcher to win the award since Kurt Suzuki took home the honor in 2004.
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 ).
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 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.