FULLERTON, Calif.--- Baseball is officially back in Fullerton, as the No. 8 Titans open the 2017 campaign, Thursday at 7 pm PT at Goodwin Field vs. No. 23 Stanford. This will mark the second consecutive season Fullerton has opened the regular season against the Cardinal.
CATCH ALL THE ACTION
Fans can follow the action on Big West TV, listen to the audio stream, or follow along with live stats. Links to all three are available on FullertonTitans.com.
Follow @BaseballTitans on Twitter for daily updates during the 2017 season. Fullerton baseball is also on Instagram, so make sure to follow the 2017 team all season @CSF_TitansBaseball.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
STAN- LHP Kris Bubic (0-0, 0.00 ERA) at CSF - RHP, Connor Seabold (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
STAN - RHP, Brett Hanewich (0-0, 0.00 ERA) at CSF - RHP, Colton Eastman (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
STAN - LHP, Chris Castellanos (0-0, 0.00 ERA) - TBA at CSF - RHP, John Gavin (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
In honor of Augie Garrido and his extraordinary career, a limited amount of Augie Garrido bobbleheads will be available to fans who purchase a "winning" program any time during Thursday's game. "Winning" programs will be marked with a specific stamp that will allow fans to pick up their bobblehead at the various marketing tables around Goodwin Field. Programs will be $3 and available at various marketing tables around the field. Garrido will also throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Thursday's game. The celebration will continue on Saturday, as fans will receive special edition Augie Garrido soda cups while supplies last. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!
Last year's season opener between Cal State Fullerton and Stanford was rained out. Both sides are trying to avoid the same fate this year, as the two sides agreed to move up the season opener from Friday to Thursday in hopes of avoiding inclement weather.
Cal State Fullerton is 23-21 all-time in season openers at the NCAA Division I level and are 19-8 when opening up the season at home, as opposed to going 4-13 in road openers. The Titans will open the season at home for the first time since 2014. Fullerton has won two straight home openers going back to 2011. This will be the second straight season the Titans open the season against Stanford, while it will be the fourth time in in five years the Titans have begun the season with a Pac-12 opponent. Fullerton is 2-1 during that span, falling to the Cardinal in last year's opener, but defeating Washington State (12-0) in 2014 and taking down USC (3-2) in 2013. Both wins came at Goodwin Field.
2017 SEASON OUTLOOK
For the Titans, it'll be a good mix of returners and newcomers that should make up a team worthy of its top-10 preseason ranking. Fullerton welcomes back 21 letterwinners from a year ago, including four all-conference performers from 2016 in sophomore Colton Eastman (RHP), senior Timmy Richards (INF), junior Connor Seabold (RHP) and junior John Gavin (LHP). The Titans will also be under the leadership of four-time Big West Coach of the Year Rick Vanderhook, who enters his sixth season as head coach. The returners will be joined by a recruiting class that ranked 21st in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball, which includes six pitchers, four infielders, one outfielder and one catcher. The Titans enter the 2017 season ranked in every national preseason poll, with Baseball America awarding Cal State Fullerton with the highest ranking of eighth. This is the Titans' highest placing in the poll since being ranked No. 1 in the 2014 preseason poll.
• Cal State Fullerton finished the 2016 season with a record of 36-23 (.610), securing the 42nd consecutive winning season in program history. It was also the 42nd straight year the Titans won at least 30 games in a season. The postseason appearance was also Fullerton's 25th straight, which is still the third longest active streak in the country.
• In his fifth season at the helm, head coach Rick Vanderhook led the Titans to their 21st Big West Conference title and 29th conference title overall. It was also the program's sixth conference crown in the last seven seasons and the fourth title in five seasons under Vanderhook. He now holds a 196-103 overall record in five seasons as the Titans head coach.
FULLERTON IN THE POLLS
The Titans enter the 2017 campaign ranked in the top-25 of all six major preseason baseball polls.
Baseball America: No. 8
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper: No. 10
USA TODAY Coaches Poll: No.11
NCBWA Poll: No. 14
Perfect Game: No. 15
D1Baseball: No. 16
Junior catcher Chris Hudgins will not play this weekend vs. Stanford due to a hand injury.
CSF vs. STANFORD • ALL-TIME SERIES
First Year Played/Last Year Played 1979/2016
Overall Record 44-58
Current Streak Won 1
NCAA Regional Record 1-2
NCAA Super Regional Record 0-2
NCAA College World Series Record 3-7
Overall NCAA Postseason Record 4-11
Home Record 29-22
Road Record 12-29
Neutral Record 3-7
Longest Winning Streak 4 games, 2 times (last from 2/27/09 to 6/5/10)
Longest Losing Streak 8 games (2/12/89 to 2/8/92)
Extra Innings 2-5
Most Runs Scored in a Game 13 runs (1/31/85)
Most Runs Scored by Opponent 17 runs (2/2/02)
Largest Margin of Victory 10 runs (1/28/94)
Largest Margin of Defeat 16 runs (2/2/02)
INSIDE THE SERIES
The Titans and Cardinal will face off in a three-game set for the third straight season after a three-year hiatus from the longtime rivalry. The Titans have played Stanford more than any other Pac-12 program in history and will meet for the 103rd time on Friday. Fullerton's last home win over the Cardinal was a 4-2 victory on Feb. 21, 2015. Seven of the last 10 contest between the Titans and the Cardinal have been decided by two runs or less, while five of those games were decided by just a single run.
- The Stanford Cardinal was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 according to a vote by all 11 coaches in the conference. The Cardinal received 89 points and two first place votes, just behind Pac-12 favorite Oregon State. The Beavers collected eight first place votes and 97 total points.
- Junior Colton Hock, junior Quinn Brodey and sophomore Tristan Beck have all earned spots on All-America teams this preseason.
-This opening weekend road trip for Stanford will be four games. That will equal its longest road swing of the season.
- The Cardinal returns every regular starter from last year except shortstop Tommy Edman. The Cardinal also returns its entire weekend rotation.
TITANS AGAINST THE PAC-12
The Titans currently hold a 290-219-3 mark against teams from the Pac-12 conference, with their most victories (67) coming against UCLA in 99 games. The Titans have also played Arizona 98 times, holding a 63-35 record. Fullerton has played Stanford on 102 (44-58) occasions and is one of just three teams in the conference to hold a winning record over the Titans all-time along with Arizona State (27-32) and Washington State (5-7). Fullerton went 3-6 against Pac-12 opponents last season. The Titans are scheduled to play 11 teams from the Pac-12 this season, which will be the most teams Fullerton will play from one conference besides the Big West.
HOW THE (BIG) WEST WAS WON? HOPEFULLY
After claiming their 21st Big West Conference title a year ago and their sixth in the last seven years, the Titans are the favorites to do it again in 2017, as Cal State Fullerton has been picked as the team to beat in the Big West Conference, according to the nine league coaches that voted on the Big West baseball preseason poll. Fullerton received a total of 76 points and eight of nine first place votes in the poll, while Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara tied for second, as each tallied 65 points.
2017 Coaches Poll Results
1. Cal State Fullerton (8) - 76
T2. Long Beach State - 65
T2. UC Santa Barbara - 65
4. Cal Poly - 55
5. UC Irvine (1) - 48
6. CSUN - 33
7. UC Riverside - 27
8. Hawai'i - 23
9. UC Davis - 13
( ) First-place vote
BEST IN THE WEST:
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 745-261-1 (.741) conference record over 42 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, has compiled a 90-29 Big West Conference record in his five seasons and has led Fullerton to the conference crown in four of his five seasons at the helm. The four conference titles for Vanderhook is the second most in school history, only behind Augie Garrido (14). Overall, the Titans have won 29 conference titles.
A further breakdown has the Titans winning three PCAA conference championships (1975-76, 1987), eight straight SCBA titles (1977-84), and 18 while playing under the Big West name (1990-91, 94-95, 1997, 1999-2001, 2004-06, 2008, 2010-13, 2015-16). The Big West absorbed the PCAA records in 1990 upon its formation, giving the Titans 20 total Big West championships and a 569-215-1 (.725; 34 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record
TITAN PRIDE NEVER GRADUATES
Cal State Fullerton held its annual Alumni Game back on Jan. 28th and it was the Alumni squad coming up with a 5-3 victory over the Titans. The win marked its first over the Titans since 2007, snapping what was an eight-game losing streak. However, the news isn't all bad for the Titans. The last time Fullerton dropped a contest to the Alumni, the team put together a magical season that ended up seeing the Titans in Omaha.
THERE'S A STANDARD HERE
Fullerton has won 30-plus games in each of its 42 seasons at the Div. I level and is 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.
Consecutive 30+ win seasons (active)
1. Arizona State 54
2. Miami, Fla. 46
3. Cal State Fullerton 42
IT'S COOL TO STAY IN SCHOOL
Ten Titans on the current roster have been selected previously in the MLB First-Year Players draft. Newcomer Dillon Persinger has actually been selected twice, in 2015 by the Cleveland Indians (31st round) and in 2016 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He decided to attend Cal State Fullerton instead.
Tristan Hildebrandt 2014 16th round St. Louis Cardinals
Connor Seabold 2014 19th round Baltimore Orioles
Dillon Persinger 2014 17th round Los Angeles Dodgers
Colton Eastman 2015 20th round Minnesota Twins
Chris Hudgins 2014 35th round New York Yankees
Ruben Cardenas 2015 37th round Miami Marlins
John Gavin 2014 39th round Milwaukee Brewers
Timmy Richards 2013 40th round Miami Marlins
TITANS IN THE BIG LEAGUES
The Titans have had 61 former players ascend to the major leagues since their first products, Dan Whitmer and Tim Wallach, got there in 1980.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
In 2017, the Titans will face five teams that qualified for the 2016 NCAA Tournament in Gonzaga, Arizona, New Mexico, Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara. Both UCSB and Arizona advanced to the College World Series last year, while the Wildcats finished as the national runner-up in Omaha.
SHUTTING EM DOWN
For the third time in the last four seasons, the Titans set a new program record for lowest earned run average in a single season. Fullerton posted a 2.22 ERA in 2016, leading the nation in the category and besting its previous school record (2.24) set in 2014. Prior to that, the 2013 Titans set the ERA record with a 2.47 mark. In 2016 the Titans surrendered just 132 earned runs, the second fewest in program history behind the 1975 squad that allowed 131 earned runs. The 2014 squad that previously held the ERA record allowed 136 earned runs, now ranked the third fewest in program history. Along with setting a new ERA record, the Titans pitching staff set new program bests in opponents' batting average (.212), fewest runs allowed (166) and fewest hits allowed (403) in a single season.
All three weekend starters of an overall pitching staff that set records last season are back in 2017. All-Conference performers Colton Eastman, Connor Seabold and John Gavin are expected to hold down the weekend rotation once again this season. The three combined to win 17 games for the Titans in 2016.
Sophomore right-handed hurler Colton Eastman has earned a spot on USA Baseball's 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list. The Golden Spikes Award is given out to the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2017 season. Last year as a freshman, Eastman proved why deserves to be on this list, as he compiled an 8-3 record to go along with a 2.24 ERA with a freshman school-record equaling 100 strikeouts in 100.2 innings pitched. He racked up numerous honors last season, as he was named a Baseball America Freshman All-American, D1Baseball.com Freshman All-American, NCBWA Freshman All-American, the Louisville Slugger Freshman Pitcher of the Year, Louisville Slugger All-American Third Team member, the Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year and a member of the Big West All-Conference team.
In addition, he finished his freshman campaign ranked 23rd nationally in WHIP (0.97), 38th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.00), 41st in ERA, 49th in wins and 91st in walks allowed per nine innings (1.79). He also led the team in wins, strikeouts and games started.
LOOK'S LIKE A PRO
Connor Seabold was named to the Big West All-Second Team a year ago after claiming two Big West Pitcher of the Week honors during the season and boasting an overall 7-6 record to go along with a 2.48 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 83.1 innings pitched. He's been named on Baseball America's Top-100 Prospects list coming into this season.
MADE IN FULLERTON
Titans head coach Rick Vanderhook collected his 1,100th win as a member of the Cal State Fullerton coaching staff on May 1 at UC Irvine, a 7-2 victory. He has recorded 1,109 victories in 26 seasons as a member of the Titans coaching staff. He was a part of 913 wins as an assistant coach with the Titans (1985-88, 1991-2007) and has recorded 196 victories in five seasons as head coach of the Titans. Overall, Vanderhook has posted a 1109-502-2 record as a member of the Titans coaching staff.
Cal State Fullerton will dedicate the 2017 season to Coben Swanson. Eight year old Coben Swanson of Yorba Linda, Calif., is on the road to recovery from a Nov. 2015 diagnosis of T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), brain hemorrhage, craniectomy and cranioplasty. He is currently battling the side effects of chemotherapy and has been tested at Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) since his diagnosis. He is the son of Jon and Brittany Swanson, and big brother to sister, Saffryn (5). Through the help of Team IMPACT, the Titans have joined Coben in his fight against ALL and made him a permanent member of the Titan family. Throughout the 2017 season you'll see #TEAMCOBEN imprinted on the right side of the Titan batting helmets. Coben has part of his right skull removed last year to repair some damage as a part of his recovery.
Cal State Fullerton outscored its opponents 36-13 in the first inning of games this season and put up at least one run in the opening frame 23 times in 2016. They were 19-4 when scoring in the first inning this season.
The Titans were 26-6 when scoring first in a game and 10-17 when the opponent scored first last season
THOSE WHO FALL BEHIND, GET LEFT BEHIND
The Titans were nearly unbeatable when holding a lead late in a game a year ago. Fullerton was 31-1 when leading after six innings, 32-2 when ahead after seven innings and 34-1 when leading after eight innings.
Fullerton played 21 one-run games this year and went 9-12 in those contests a year ago.