Titans Travel to Cal Poly to Face No. 3 Mustangs
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton continues their seven game road stretch when they head to San Luis Obispo to take on Cal Poly, the No. 3 team in the nation; followed by a stop at Fresno State.
CATCH ALL THE ACTION: Live audio and live stats will be available for all three games from Baggett Stadium and the links can be found on the baseball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @BaseballTitans on Twitter for daily updates during the 2014 season.
ARMED FORCES WEEKEND: The Titans will host Hawai'i on Apr. 25-27 at Goodwin Field for Armed Forces Weekend. Past and present military personnel will receive two tickets for each game with a military ID.
IN THE POLLS: This week, the Titans dropped out of the Baseball America poll for the first time this season following their series loss at UC Santa Barbara. The Titans fell to No. 29 in the Collegiate Baseball poll and came in at No. 23 and No. 19 in the UCA Today Coaches Poll and NCBWA poll respectively.
RPI WATCH: According to the official NCAA RPI report released Tuesday,Cal State Fullerton's RPI moved up to No. 48 after their three-game series at UC Santa Barbara.
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.
CSF vs. CAL POLY
First Year Played/Last Year Played 1984/2013
Overall Record 54-13
Current Streak Won 2
Overall Conference (Big West) Record 45-13
Big West Conference Tournament Record 1-0
Home Record 32-4
Road Record 21-9
Neutral Record 1-0
Longest Winning Streak 11 games (4/13/84 to 5/3/97)
Longest Losing Streak 2 games (4/21/11 to 4/22/11)
Extra Innings 1-0
Most Runs Scored in a Game 27 runs (5/1/04)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent 14 runs (5/4/97)
Largest Margin of Victory 25 runs (5/1/04)
Largest Margin of Defeat 10 runs (5/4/97)
CAL POLY NOTES: The Mustangs enter their series against Cal State Fullerton boasting a No. 3 national rank in three of the four major college baseball polls. They have won seven consecutive games and have not lost consecutive games all season. They are currently 8-1 in Big West play, their only loss coming to UC Santa Barbara.
The Mustangs are led on offense by Mark Mathias, the reigning Big West Conference player of the week. Mathias is batting .379 with six doubles and 26 RBIs. He also leads the team with 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts. Nick Torres and Brian Mundell have supplied the power for the Mustangs offense as they are tied for the team lead with four home runs apiece. On the mound, the Mustangs boast a rotation that has a collective 2.96 ERA. Matt Imhof leads the Big West Conference with 88 strikeouts this season and has allowed opponents to hit just .180 against him.
WELCOME BACK: The Titans make their second consecutive trip to San Luis Obispo to take on the Mustangs. Last season, the Titans dropped the opener 2-1 before taking the final two games to clinch the important series, outscoring the Mustangs 16-9 in those games. The Titans have only lost one conference series to the Mustangs at San Luis Obispo, that coming in 2011when they dropped two of three.
CSF vs. FRESNO STATE
First Year Played/Last Year Played 1975/2010
Overall Record 51-31
Current Streak Lost 1
Overall Conference (PCAA/Big West) Record 15-15
PCAA Championship Series Record 0-2
NCAA Regional Record 9-2
Overall NCAA Postseason Record 9-2
Home Record 25-11
Road Record 20-17
Neutral Record 6-3
Longest Winning Streak 8 games, 2 times (last from 3/20/04 to 6/3/07)
Longest Losing Streak 6 games (4/29/88 to 5/14/89)
Extra Innings 2-2
Most Runs Scored in a Game 20 runs (4/14/91)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent 15 runs, 2 times (last on 5/1/88)
Largest Margin of Victory 15 runs (2/9/96)
Largest Margin of Defeat 9 runs (4/19/86)
FRESNO STATE NOTES: The Bulldogs have lost four straight games and currently sit in fifth place in the Mountain West Conference, six games behind conference leader UNLV. The Bulldogs are hitting .259 as a team and are led by Jordan Luplow, who is hitting .350 in 37 games this season. He has seven home runs and 25 RBIs to go along with a .606 slugging percentage and a .451 on-base percentage.
The Bulldogs will take on Nevada this weekend in a three-game series to wrap up a seven-game road trip. They begin a five-game homestand on Tuesday against Cal before hosting the Titans on Wednesday.
THE RULE OF THREE: The Titans are looking to avoid their third three-game losing streak of the season after dropping the final two games at UC Santa Barbara. Cal State Fullerton have two three-game winning streaks this year to go along with a season-high five-game win streak earlier in the year.
STREAKING: Sophomore Tanner Pinkston has reached safely in 15 straight games, the best streak by any Titans player this season. Matt Chapman has reached in 10 straight, his second double-digit streak of the season after the junior got aboard in the first 13 games of the season.
J.D. Davis saw his nine-game hitting streak come to an end at UC Santa Barbara while, leaving Keegan Dale with the current longest hitting streak on the team, recording a base hit in six straight games.
TALENT SHOW: The series between the Titans and Cal Poly will feature three players named to the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, the award given to the top amateur baseball player in the nation. The Titans boast two of those players in Friday-night starter Thomas Eshelman and two-way player J.D. Davis while the Mustangs trot out left-hander Matt Imhof on Thursday night.
Eshelman leads the nation with a 26.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio and is second in the country allowing 0.26 walks per nine innings. Davis leads the Titans in hitting and has also been the team's closer, recording four saves in five opportunities.
As for Imhof, the lefty leads the nation with 88 strikeouts and is second in the country, averaging 12.98 strikeouts per nine innings. He's also been named the Big West Conference pitcher of the week three times this year.
IT'S LONELY OUT THERE: Cal State Fullerton's pitchers have allowed opponents to hit just .212 with the bases empty this season.
NO FREE PASSES HERE: Through games played up to April 14, 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 1.42 free passes a game in 291.1 innings pitched. Houston is second with a 1.73 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 255 batters in 291 innings while allowing just 46 walks, a mark of 5.54. TCU ranks second with a 3.83 mark. The Titans are also ranked third in the nation in WHIP (1.01), and are ninth in the country with a 2.22 ERA.
STATION TO STATION: Cal State Fullerton pounded out 34 hits in their three-game series at UC Santa Barbara over the weekend, the second most they have accumulated in a three-game series this season. But only three of those hits went for extra-bases, all of them doubles. It was the second time this season the Titans have lost a series despite outhitting their opponent, the last time coming at Baylor.
GOLDEN SPIKES MIDSEASON WATCH LIST: Cal State Fullerton sophomore right-hander Thomas Eshelman and junior two-way player J.D. Davis were named to the Golden Spikes Award 50-man midseason watch list by USA Baseball on Thursday, bringing the organization one step closer to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country.
Cal State Fullerton was tied for the most nominees on the midseason watch list with eight other teams including Florida State, Oregon State and Virginia.
Eshelman appears on the midseason watch list for the second consecutive season. He was a semifinalist for the award as a freshman in 2013. Vanderbilt's Tyler Beede and Aaron Nola of Louisiana State were also semifinalists in 2013 that made the 2014 midseason watch list.
Eshelman was also named to the preseason watch list to start this season, one of four Titans named to that list along with Davis, Matt Chapman and Justin Garza.
Eshelman is currently 5-1 as the Friday-night starter for the Titans this season with a 1.43 ERA. The Carlsbad, Calif. native leads the nation with a 48:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He leads the Big West Conference in walks allowed per nine innings with a 0.14 mark, which also ranks second in the nation.
Eshelman is also tied for first in the conference with two complete games and leads the team with 63 innings pitched. The sophomore's 0.75 WHIP leads the Big West Conference and ranks ninth in the nation. He leads the Titans with seven quality starts and went 26 straight innings without allowing an earned run.
As for Davis, the junior was also named to the preseason watch list and leads the Titans with a .349 batting average. His .541 slugging percentage also leads the team and ranks fifth in the Big West. Davis has also started in all 28 games for the Titans this season.
He is coming off a nine-game hitting streak, a team-high, and has reached safely in 10 consecutive games.
Along with the bat, Davis has also served as the hammer in the back end of the bullpen for the Titans, leading the team with four saves in five opportunities. He's 1-0 in six appearances for the Titans. He had his best outing on Tuesday when he shut down UCLA for two innings, holding the Bruins hitless while striking out three.
The Titans have produced three Golden Spikes winners in the program's history: Tim Wallach (1979), Phil Nevin (1992) and Mark Kotsay (1995).
The midseason list sees the departure of sophmore pitcher Justin Garza and junior third baseman Matt Chapman after each was named to the preseason watch list.
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 31st in avearage attendance. The Titans had drawn an average of 2,093 fans in 16 home games this season. The Titans have attraceted a total of 33,490 fans to Goodwin Field at the time of the report released Monday, ranking them 32nd in the nation.
CENTURY MARK: Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook earned his 100th career head coaching victory when the Titans edged Long Beach State 6-5 on Sunday afternoon at Goodwin Field. Vanderhook became the second fastest head coach in Titans baseball history to reach the mark, doing so in 139 games. Augie Garrido reached 100 wins in 135 games and it took George Horton 147 games to earn his 100th win with the Titans.
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.
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.
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.