#24 HOUSTON AT #22 CAL STATE FULLERTON
FEB 23-25th • GOODWIN FIELD
FULLERTON, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton prepares for its first weekend series at home, as it'll take on No. 24 Houston, beginning Friday at 7 pm PT out at Goodwin Field. The series will continue, Saturday at 4 pm PT and will conclude Sunday at noon.
1 | Fri., Feb 23 (7 pm PT) | Fullerton Calif. (Goodwin Field | Live Stats | Big West TV | Audio
2 | Sat., Feb 24 (4 pm PT) | Fullerton Calif. (Goodwin Field | Live Stats | Big West TV | Audio
3 | Sun., Feb 25 (Noon PT) | Fullerton Calif. (Goodwin Field | Live Stats | Big West TV | Audio
UH- LHP, Trey Cumbie (0-0, 3.38 ERA) at CSF - RHP, Colton Eastman (0-1, 8.31 ERA)
UH - LHP, Aaron Fletcher (1-0, 0.00 ERA) at CSF - RHP, Andrew Quezada (0-1, 8.44 ERA)
UH - RHP, Ryan Randel (0-0, 3.18 ERA) - at CSF - TBA
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 2018 season. Fullerton baseball is also on Instagram, so make sure to follow the 2018 team all season @CSF_TitansBaseball.
IT'S NOT HOW YOU START
Tuesday night's loss to Nevada marked Fullerton's fourth straight defeat to open the season, which is something that's never happened in the history of the program. However, the Titans have been swept (lost three in a row) at Stanford to begin a season four times in school history and in the previous three instances, some pretty good things ended up happening. They were swept in 2000, 2004, 2006 and here in 2018. In 2000, Fullerton made the postseason and won the Big West crown. In 2004, the Titans won their fourth National Championship and in 2006, Fullerton claimed a spot in the College World Series.
Chris Prescott is off to a hot start this season, as he returns for his senior season. His .429 batting average leads the team, as he's gone 6 of 14 from the dish so far this season. He also leads the team in multi-hit performances, as he's collected two knocks in each of the last three contests and is riding a three-game win streak.
After missing most of the 2017 campaign with a back injury, Ruben Cardenas is back in a big way. He's currently batting .312 and owns a four-game hit streak to begin the season, while claiming a team-high slugging percentage of .500. He's also the lone Titan to record a home run, as he blasted a two-run shot in the seventh inning last Sunday vs. Stanford.
WHAT A RELIEF
It hasn't been the start Fullerton was hoping for this season, but boy has the bullpen been good. Through four contests, the pen has surrendered just two earned runs in 21.0 innings for an ERA of 0.86. while fanning nine batters. Six Fullerton relievers have yet to surrender an earned run.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Ten of Fullerton's 17 newcomers have already made their Titan debuts through the first four games.
2018 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 16 letterwinners from a year ago, including two all-conference performers from 2017 in junior closer Brett Conine and sophomore infielder Sahid Valenzuela. The Titans will also be under the leadership of four-time Big West Coach of the Year Rick Vanderhook, who enters his seventh season as head coach. The returners will be joined by a recruiting class that is ranked 27th in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball. The Titans enter the 2018 season ranked in every national preseason poll, with the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association awarding Cal State Fullerton with the highest ranking of 10th.
• Cal State Fullerton finished the 2017 season with a record of 39-24 (.619), securing the 43rd consecutive winning season in program history. It was also the 43rd straight year the Titans won at least 30 games in a season. The postseason appearance was also Fullerton's 26th straight, which is the second longest streak in the nation, behind only Florida State (40).
• The Titans made their 18th trip to the College World Series and second in the last three years. The 18 appearances in Omaha ranks the Titans tied for 7th with LSU all-time behind Texas (35), Miami (25), Arizona State and Florida State (22), USC (21) and Oklahoma State (20).
FULLERTON IN THE POLLS
The Titans enter the second week of the 2018 campaign ranked in the top-25 in four of the six major preseason baseball polls.
Baseball America: No. 13
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper: NR
USA TODAY Coaches Poll: No.11
NCBWA Poll: No. 22
Perfect Game: NR
D1Baseball: No. 22
CSF vs. HOUSTON • ALL-TIME SERIES
First Year Played/Last Year Played 1982/2017
Overall Record 10-3
Current Streak Won 1
NCAA Regional Record 1-0
Overall NCAA Postseason Record 1-0
Home Record 3-1
Road Record 6-2
Neutral Record 1-0
Longest Winning Streak 7 games (5/28/82 to 3/11/01)
Most Runs Scored in a Game 11 runs (2/21/04)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent 7 runs, 2 times (last on 3/1/02)
Largest Margin of Victory 11 runs (2/21/04)
Largest Margin of Defeat 4 runs (3/1/02)
INSIDE THE SERIES
The Titans and Cougars will face off for the 14h time in series history on Friday. The two teams split a pair of contests in Houston last year before the series finale was rained out. The Cougars claimed the first game of the series 7-4, while Fullerton bounced back to win game two 4-1. The Titans are 1-1 all-time against ranked Cougar squads. The last time the Titans faced a ranked UH team was on March 1, 2002 as a part of the Kia Baseball Bash at Goodwin Field. Fullerton lost 7-3 to No. 25 Houston. That was also the last time these two sides met in Fullerton.
- Houston is 2-1 on the year with a series win over Holy Cross in its last outing.
- Trey Cumbie was tabbed National Pitcher of the Week by Collegiate Baseball after striking out a career-high 12 in 5.1 innings of work.
- Cougar pitching struck out 46 Holy Cross hitters during Opening Weekend, while only walking four in three games.
- Cooper Coldiron has reached base in 12 straight games (dating back to 2017). He belted the game-tying home run and tallied the game-winning RBI in the walk off win on Sunday.
- 20 Cougars saw action in Sunday's finale and three true freshmen appeared in the starting lineup.
- Lael Lockhart leads the offense after three games with a .400 average (4x10), 2 RBI, 2 walks
- Junior LHP Aaron Fletcher made his first career start on Saturday, striking out a career-high six in a career-long 5.0 innings of work for the win.
- Junior RHP Ryan Randel made his Houston debut as the Sunday starter, fanning eight in 5.2 innings.
- The pitching staff owns a 1.61 ERA and held Holy Cross hitters to a .162 average.
HOW THE (BIG) WEST WAS WON? HOPEFULLY
The Titans have claimed the Big West title six out of the last eight seasons and the Titans are the favorites to do it again in 2018. 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 73 points and six of nine first place votes in the poll, while Long Beach State tallied 65 points and two first place votes to finish second.
2018 Coaches Poll Results
1. Cal State Fullerton - 73 (6)
2. Long Beach State - 65 (2)
3. Cal Poly - 64
4. UC Santa Barbara - 49
5. CSUN - 48
6. UC Irvine- 43 (1)
7. Hawai'i - 27
8. UC Riverside - 26
9. UC Davis – 10
( ) First-place vote
BEST IN THE WEST
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 760-270-1 (.738) conference record over 43 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, has compiled a 105-38 Big West Conference record in his six seasons and has led Fullerton to the conference crown in four of his six 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 584-224-1 (.722; 35 years) PCAA/Big West Conference record
TITAN PRIDE NEVER GRADUATES
Cal State Fullerton held its annual Alumni Game back on Jan. 27th and it was the Titans coming up with a 6-3 victory over the Alumni. The win Fullerton's ninth win in 10 tries over the Alumni squad.
THERE'S A STANDARD HERE
Fullerton has won 30-plus games in each of its 43 seasons at the Div. I level and is tied for second 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. Miami, Fla. 47
2. Cal State Fullerton 43
2. Clemson 43
TITANS IN THE BIG LEAGUES
The Titans have had 65 former players ascend to the major leagues since their first products, Dan Whitmer and Tim Wallach, got there in 1980.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
In 2018, the Titans will face six teams that qualified for the 2017 NCAA Tournament in Stanford, Houston, UCLA, Oregon State, Long Beach State and San Diego State. Oregon State advanced all the way to Omaha last year, while Fullerton knocked out LBSU in Super Regional play Stanford in Regional play.
The Titans finished the regular season 11-3-1 in weekend series last season. The 11 series wins were the most since claiming 14 in 2013. They finished with 13 total series wins total if you want to count the dominating sweep at the Stanford Regional and Fullerton's 2-1 Super Regional series win over Long Beach State.
In 2017, Conine established himself as one of the best Titan closers of all-time. He picked up 15 saves on the season, which was sixth best nationally, best in the Big West and was the fourth-most saves any Titan has ever picked up in a single season.
Overall, the Orange, California native compiled a 1.39 ERA in 45.1 innings pitched while collecting 43 strikeouts while only walking six in 2017. Conine earned All Big-West First Team honors, Collegiate Baseball All-American Second Third Team honors and was a finalist for the Gregg Olson award, which goes to the nation's best closer a year ago. He also picked up a six-out save in game three of the Long Beach Super Regional to send the Titans to the CWS.
Conine was named to NCBWA's Preseason All-American Second Team, Collegiate Baseball's Preseason All-American Second Team, Perfect Game's Preseason All-American Third Team and D1 Baseball's Preseason All-American Second Team and was placed on NCBWA's Initial Stopper of the Year Watch List.
Junior right-handed hurler Colton Eastman has earned a spot on USA Baseball's 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list for the second straight season. The Golden Spikes Award is given out to the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2018 season. Eastman is one of just five athletes on the list to be featured now in back-to-back seasons with preseason recognition and the lone member from the Big West Conference.
He put together one of the most heroic seasons in college baseball in 2017. After being injured most of the season, Eastman came back just in the nick of time. The Fresno, California native compiled a perfect 2-0 mark to go along with a 2.14 ERA and 37 strikeouts in only eight appearances.
He saved his best performance for the biggest game of the season, as he tossed seven innings, struck out eight, surrendered just one hit and zero earned runs en route to a 2-1 victory over Long Beach State to send the Titans to Omaha. Conine picked up the six-out save in that game.
In addition to the Golden Spikes Award recognition, Eastman has been placed on Collegiate Baseball's Preseason All-American Second Team, D1Baseball's Preseason All-American Third Team, and has been named to Baseball America's Top-100 Prospects list.
LOOK'S LIKE A PRO
It may be just Andrew Quezada's first year at Cal State Fullerton, but he's already getting the love from the pros. The Bellflower, California was nearly unhittable at Cypress College, as he compiled a microscopic 1.17 ERA and led his team to a state semifinal berth. He also recorded the first no-hitter in program history. D1Baseball has placed Quezada on its Top-100 MLB Prospects List.
Thirty-Two of the 36 players (89 percent) on the roster are from California, two are from Arizona (Tyler Smith and Sahid Valenzuela), one is from Utah (Mitchell Berryhill) and one is from Washington (Jairus Richards).
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD
The Titans were 30-10 when scoring first last season, 20-5 when scoring in the first inning, while they're 29-2 when leading after the sixth frame, 33-2 when leading after seven and 36-1 when leading after eight. They're also 25-4 when holding their opponent to two runs or less. They 5-1 when scoring first in last year's postseason.
While it was definitely good news when the Titans took an early lead last season, Fullerton also showed the ability to get the job done in the late stages of games last year. The Titans have outscored their opponents 42-23 in the seventh, 37-23 in the eighth and 24-10 in the ninth frame this season. They've outscored their opponent 103-56 in those three innings combined.