IRVINE, Calif. – Head coach Rick Vanderhook was named Big West Coach of the Year and Colton Eastman was named the league's Pitcher of the Year, while a leauge-high eight Titans were placed on all conference squads, the league announced on Wednesday.
In addition to Eastman and Vanderhook's honors, Blake Workman, Hank LoForte and Eastman were named to the All-Big West First Team. Jacob Pavletich, Ruben Cardenas and Tommy Wilson earned All-Big West Second Team accolades, while Daniel Cope and Mitchell Berryhill claimed honorable mentions.
Titans led the league with eight all-conference members, while Fullerton claimed 10 awards total.
Eastman opened conference play with a bang, as he tossed the fifth no-hitter in school history to garner his third career Big West Baseball Pitcher of the Week award as well as national accolades. The right-hander allowed just one walk and struck out seven as he went the full nine innings in a 3-0 win over UC Santa Barbara on March 29. Eastman joined Longo Garcia (1987), Ted Silva (1995), Kirk Saarloos (2001) and Justin Garza (2014) in the Titan no-hitter club, but was the first among that five to throw the no-hitter on the road.
Starting 15 games, Eastman (9-3) threw 103.2 innings and struck out 108 en route to a 2.26 earned run average, placing him third in the league. He's part of a Titans pitching staff that ranks seventh in the country in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.04) and fifth in walks allowed per nine innings (2.69). He becomes the 14th Titan to earn pitcher of the year honors.
Vanderhook earned his fifth Big West Conference Coach of the Year honor after guiding Cal State Fullerton to its 22nd league title with an 18-6 mark. After dropping its conference-opening series to UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton ran the table and won the final seven league series to capture the crown. In earning the Big West's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Titans qualified for postseason for the 40th time in program history – and will be making its 27th straight NCAA appearance as it slated to compete in the NCAA Stanford Regional. The Titans' dominance continued with the 2018 trophy in possession as the Titans have captured 14 of the 20 championships (12 outright, 2 shared), dating back to 1999. This marks the 15th coach of the year accolade in school history for Cal State Fullerton. The five honors by Vanderhook ties George Horton for the most in school history.
.Workman was excellent all season long, but really stepped up in league play, as he went 1-1 while boasting a 2.81 ERA, while even collecting three saves as Fullerton's primary setup man. Workman's 2.81 ERA is ranked seventh in conference play, while is 15 appearances are tied for first and his 12.27 strikeouts per nine innings led the league.
LoForte has been off the charts as of late. He currently boasts a team-best 39-game on-base streak while collecting at least one hit in 27 of his last 28 games in addition his current 16-game hit streak. The Elk Grove, California native is batting .395 (66-for-167) with 31 RBI, four doubles, six triples, a home run a .509 slugging percentage and a .434 on base percentage over his last 39 games. His overall .341 batting average is fourth best in the league, while his conference .398 batting average was third best. He's also come through with a team-high six game-winning RBI for Fullerton this season.
Pavletich was the definition of consistent all season long, sporting the third highest average on the team during league play at .303. He batted .284 overall to go along with 10 doubles and 19 RBI.
After missing most of the 2017 campaign with a back injury, Cardenas came back in a big way in 2018. He's currently batting .295 and has boasted two separate hitting streaks of at least seven games. He currently leads the team in total bases (94) and stolen bases (12). He's also smashed four triples, 12 doubles and three homers on the season.
Wilson has been nothing short of spectacular so far this year He's surrendered 24 earned runs in seven appearances out of the pen this season and 11 starts. He's pitched 76.2 innings total, while fanning 72 batters. He's a perfect 6-0 on the year, while the Titans are 8-2 in games he's started this year. The Los Angeles, California native has recorded six quality starts, while his 2.93 ERA is fifth lowest in the league.
Cope had himself a fantastic sophomore campaign, as he led the Titans in RBI (40) and home runs (5). His 40 RBI rank fourth in the league, while his 25 RBI during league play led the conference.
Berryhill also had himself a superb season, batting .308 to go along with a .384 slugging percentage. His .308 average ranked 13th in the league, while he's third in the country in sacrifice bunts with 20 for the season.
Titans open up the Stanford Regional, Friday at 2 pm PT vs. Baylor.
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