No. 8 Fullerton Travels to Cal Poly for Big Conference Series
#8 CAL STATE FULLERTON at CAL POLY
APRIL 21-23rd • Baggett Stadium
FULLERTON, Calif.--- The eighth-ranked Titans hit the road and take Cal Poly in a top-three Big West showdown, beginning Friday at 6 pm PT out at Baggett Stadium. Game two will be played Saturday at 6 pm PT, while the series finale will be Sunday at 1 pm PT.
1 | Fri., April 21 (6 pm) | San Luis Obispo, Calif. (Baggett Stadium) | Live Stats | Audio | Video
2 | Sat., April 22 (6 pm) | San Luis Obispo, Calif. (Baggett Stadium) | Live Stats | Audio | Video
3 | Sun., April 23 (1 pm) | San Luis Obispo, Calif. (Baggett Stadium) | Live Stats | Audio | Video
CSF - RHP Connor Seabold (4-4, 2.67 ERA) vs. CP– RHP Erich Uelmen (2-5, 3.25 ERA)
CSF - LHP John Gavin (5-0, 2.22 ERA) vs. CP– RHP Spencer Howard (2-1, 1.79 ERA)
CSF - RHP Gavin Velasquez (3-0, 2.90 ERA) vs. CP – RHP Bobby Ay (1-3, 4.08 ERA)
First Year Played/Last Year Played: 1984/ 2016
Overall Record: 57-19
Current Streak: Lost 2
Overall Conference (Big West) Record: 48-19
Big West Conference Tournament Record: 1-0
Home Record: 34-5
Road Record: 22-14
Neutral Record: 1-0
Longest Winning Streak: 11 games (04/13/84 to 05/03/97)
Longest Losing Streak: 3 games (04/17/14 to 04/19/14)
Extra Innings: 1-2
Most Runs Scored in a Game: 27 runs (05/01/04)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent: 14 runs (05/04/97)
Largest Margin of Victory: 25 runs (05/01/04)
Largest Margin of Defeat: 10 runs (05/04/97)
Scott Hurst leads the Titans in slugging percentage (.496), runs scored (27), hits (43), triples (3), home runs (4), and total bases (70). He's scored runs in seven of the last nine games, totaling 13 runs during that span.
BRYANT SWINGS THE BAT
Taylor Bryant leads the team in on-base percentage (.434), RBI (22), doubles (12), games played (35) and games started (35).
Dillon Persinger has been one of those guys you hate to play against, but would love to have on your team. Persinger has reached base via HBP a team-leading 10 times this season, which ranks third in the conference. He also leads the Big West in stolen bases (12) and ranks second in steals per game (0.36). Titans are 7-5 when Persinger starts at second base this season, as opposed to 13-6 when he starts at first base.
THE KID CAN PLAY
Freshman Sahid Valenzuela has made his impact felt from the very beginning. He leads the team in average (.366) and multi-hit games (14). He's picked up hits in 13 of his last 15 games, with 10 of those being multi-hit performances. He's scored runs in six his last 10 games.
Once the ball is in Conine's hand the Titans don't lose. He's collected seven saves on the year without blowing one. He's gone 16 consecutive innings without allowing a run over 12 appearances. He's collected 19 strikeouts while only walking four on the year to go along with his 0.77 ERA. His seven saves rank second in the conference and 33rd in the nation.
GOING THE DISTANCE
Connor Seabold has tossed all nine innings on two separate occasions this year in nine starts. His nine starts lead the conference and 31st nationally. His two complete games rank second in the Big West and 18th in the country.
The Titans have collected double digit hits in 10 of the last 12 games.
PASSING THE TEST
Cal State Fullerton played its highest ranked team of the season on March 15, defeating then-ranked No. 12 Arizona 4-0. The win over the national runners up was its highest ranked victory since defeating No. 6 Louisville on June 8, 2015 in Super Regional play.
GOOD THINGS HAPPENING AT GOODWIN
The Titans have won 13 consecutive home games. It's the Titans' longest home win streak since winning the final 15 home games of the 2009 season.
The Titans have four shutout victories on the year thus far. They had four all of last year.
Fullerton has already taken on some of the best teams college baseball has to offer. Fullerton has gone 6-1 vs. teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season (Gonzaga, Arizona, New Mexico). The Titans have gone 2-4 against teams with top-25 RPIs.
Team RPI Rank
Long Beach State 20
MAKING EM EARN IT
The Titans currently lead the nation in walks allowed per nine innings (2.07), second in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.55), rank 11th nationally in WHIP (1.16), 13th in fielding percentage (.981) and 22nd in ERA (3.29 ERA).
Ruben Cardenas and Timmy Richards are both expected to return to the lineup this weekend. Colton Eastman still continues to be week-to-week, as he battles an elbow injury.
John Gavin has been more than just good to start 2017. He currently boasts the lowest ERA and most wins over any Titan starter, owning a 5-0 record with a 2.22 ERA in 52.2 innings pitched this season. Gavin was named Big West Pitcher of the Week and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's National Pitcher of the Week after pitching a career-high 8.0 innings against New Mexico 3/19. In his eight innings, the San Jose, Calif. native allowed just two hits, zero earned runs, zero walks and struck out a career-high 14 batters. The 14 strikeouts were the most any Titan had accumulated since Thomas Eshelman also collected 14 on May 30, 2015 vs. Arizona State.
Cullen is batting 15-of-32 (.469) from the dish with two outs this season. He's also been able to advance runners at a .566 percent clip (30-of-53) when at the plate. He's collected at least one hit in 11 of his last 12 games, including notching multi-hit games in six of those. He's also scored at least one run in eight of the last 10 games and has reached base in 12 consecutive games.
Fullerton has blasted 13 home runs in its last 16 ballgames. Before this nine-game stretch, the Titans had hit just three home runs through the first 19 games of the season.
The Titans are 18-5 when scoring first this season, 11-2 when scoring in the first inning, while they're 16-1 when leading after the sixth frame, 19-2 when leading after seven and 22-1 when leading after eight. They're also 16-2 when holding their opponent to two runs or less.
While it's definitely good news when the Titans take an early lead, Fullerton has shown the ability to get the job done in the late stage of games this year. The Titans have outscored their opponents 28-7 in the seventh, 26-10 in the eighth and 17-7 in the ninth frame this season. They've outscored their opponent 72-23 in those three innings combined.
RIGHT WHERE THEY LEFT OFF
The Titan pitching staff recorded a program record-low 2.22 ERA last season, and it's on its way to another special year, as the staff currently boats a 3.29 ERA. Fullerton has surrendered two runs or less on 18 separate occasions this season, including 11 of its last 21 contests.
HUDGINS NAMED TO JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST
Chris Hudgins is one of 85 catchers to be named to the initial Johnny Bench Award Watch List. The award handed out to the best college catcher in the nation for the 2017 season. The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, whom will be announced on May 17. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced on June 5, while a final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced the 20th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 29th.
SEABOLD NAMED BIG WEST PITCHER OF THE WEEK…AGAIN
Connor Seabold has claimed Big West Pitcher of the Week on two separate occasions this year. He earned his first honor on Feb. 20 after pitching 7.0 innings of shutout baseball while allowing five hits and a walk in Fullerton's season opening victory over #23 Stanford. He won the award again on April 10, tossing Fullerton's first complete-game shutout since 2015 in Fullerton's 6-0 win over UC Davis. He went 9.0 innings of shutout baseball, allowing just three hits and striking out 11.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS…
What happens in Vegas doesn't necessarily stay in Vegas. Fullerton's 5-0 win on Feb. 26 over UNLV marked the Titans' first road shutout over an opponent since blanking Hawai'i 4-0 back on May 15, 2015. That's a stat the Titans got to take all the way back to Fullerton.
TO ANOTHER 200
Fullerton's victory of UNLV on Feb. 26 marked Rick Vanderhook 200th win as Cal State Fullerton's head coach. Vanderhook is 212-115 in his sixth seasons as the skipper for the Titans. Here's to another 200 more coach.
RICK VANDERHOOK NAMED TO TEAM USA COACHING STAFF
Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook has been named as an assistant coach on Team USA's Collegiate National Team coaching staff this summer. He's one of four assistants on the staff.
The Titans enter the seventh week of the 2017 campaign ranked in the top-25 of all six major preseason baseball polls.
Baseball America: No. 8
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper: No. 8
USA TODAY Coaches Poll: No. 9
NCBWA Poll: No. 9
Perfect Game: No. 8
D1Baseball: No. 8
Cal State Fullerton ranks 26th in the latest RPI, while USC is 143rd
TITANS ON THE TUBE
Cal State Fullerton baseball will appear on television a league-leading seven times this season.
Cal State Fullerton Television Schedule
Fri., 4/7 UC Davis at Cal State Fullerton 7:00 pm ESPN3
Sat., 4/29 UC Irvine at Cal State Fullerton 7:00 pm ESPNU
Fri., 5/12 UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton 6:00 pm ESPNU
Sat., 5/13 UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton 7:00 pm ESPNU
Thurs., 5/25 Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton 6:00 pm ESPN3
Fri., 5/26 Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton 7:00 pm ESPN3
Sat., 5/27 Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton 7:00 pm FSPT
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
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
BEST IN THE WEST
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 750-262-1 (.741) conference record over 42 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, has compiled a 95-30 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.
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.
Cal State Fullerton earned a 4-3 victory over the NC Dinos on Tuesday night. The contest marked the third straight year the two sides had gotten together for an exhibition game. The Titans now own a 2-1 lead in the all-time series, as they defeated the Dinos 8-7 in 2015 and lost a 10-1 decision in 2016.
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
3. Clemson 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.