FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton begins a four-game road swing this weekend with a Big West Conference showdown against Long Beach State.
CATCH ALL THE ACTION: Live stats and live audio will be available for all three games from Blair Field against Long Beach as well as the midweek road game versus UCLA from Jackie Robinson Stadium. In addition, Tuesday's game against the Bruins will be broadcast on the PAC-12 Los Angeles. Check your local listings for the channel in your area.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @BaseballTitans on Twitter for daily updates during the 2014 season.
IN THE POLLS: This week, the Titans moved up a spot to No. 28 in the NCBWA top-30 poll after going 3-1 last week, powered by their sweep over Hawaii. They also received votes in the USA Today Coaches' Poll.
RPI WATCH: According to the official NCAA RPI report released Tuesday,Cal State Fullerton's RPI dropped to No. 64 despite going 3-1 and sweeping Hawaii last week.
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 prior to 2014.
CSF vs. LONG BEACH STATE
First Year Played/Last Year Played 1975/2014
Overall Record 132-61
Current Streak Won 1
PCA/Big West Conference Record 69-40
SCBA Conference Record 30-7
Overall Conference (PCA/Big West and SCBA) Record 97-46
Big West Conference Tournament Record 4-2
NCAA Regional Record 0-1
Overall NCAA Postseason Record 0-1
Home Record 68-30
Road Record 63-30
Neutral Record 1-1
Longest Winning Streak 15 games (4/1/85 to 4/10/88)
Longest Losing Streak 5 games (5/24/02 to 3/28/03)
Extra Innings 4-3
Most Runs Scored in a Game 26 runs (5/2/80)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent 17 runs, 2 times (last on 5/19/01)
Largest Margin of Victory 17 runs (3/31/81)
Largest Margin of Defeat 12 runs, 2 times (last on 5/19/99)
LONG BEACH STATE NOTES: The Dirtbags come into this weekend's series against the Titans having won three straight games against ranked opponents. They became the first team to beat No. 4 Cal Poly in a three-game series this season and also handed the Mustangs consecutive losses for the first time this year. They followed that with a 7-0 rout over Pepperdine on Wednesday. The Waves came into that game ranked in three of the four major baseball polls.
The Dirtbags are currently sitting in third place in the Big West Conference, one game ahead of the Titans and four behind first-place UC Irvine. They are led offensively by shortstop Garrett Hampson, who is batting .316 in 42 games this year. He leads the team with 11 doubles and 29 runs scored. Hampson is also nominated for the Brooks Wallace Award, which is given annually to the best collegiate shortstop in the country.
LAST MEETING: The Titans took two out of three from the Dirtbags in their non-conference series at Goodwin Field back on Mar. 21-23. The Titans outscored the Dirtbags 14-8 in the series but the last two games were each decided by one run. After Thomas Eshelman led the Titans to a 5-1 win in the opener, the Dirtbags responded with a 3-2 comeback victory to even the series in game two. In the rubber match, the Titans jumped out to a 6-0 lead through four innings before the Dirtbags began to chip away. They plated three runs in the fifth to cut the deficit in half and then scored twice in the top of the ninth off J.D. Davis to get within a run. But Timmy Richards' excellent play on a line-drive by Colton Vaughn put an end to any comeback hopes and secured the win for the Titans.
CSF vs. UCLA
First Year Played/Last Year Played 1975/2014
Overall Record 64-30-2
Current Streak Won 1
NCAA Regional Record 4-2
NCAA Super Regional Record 3-4
Overall NCAA Postseason Record 7-6
Home Record 34-14-1
Road Record 27-15-1
Neutral Record 2-1
Longest Winning Streak 7 games, 2 times (last from 2/24/07 to 3/5/08)
Longest Losing Streak 4 games (5/7/86 to 4/22/87)
Extra Innings 2-5
Most Runs Scored in a Game 19 runs (4/22/98)
Most Runs Scored in a Game by Opponent 16 runs, 2 times (last on 4/22/87)
Largest Margin of Victory 15 runs (2/22/84)
Largest Margin of Defeat 10 runs (2/16/82)
UCLA NOTES: Before the Bruins play host to the Titans on Tuesday, the defending NCAA National Champions will welcome Stanford to Jackie Robinson Stadium for a three-game set. The Bruins have lost three of their last four games, with the lone exception being a 5-5 tie at UC Santa Barbara.
LAST MEETING: The Titans defeated UCLA 4-3 when the teams met at Goodwin field on April 8. The Titans put together a three-run fifth inning and it proved to be the difference as they came back from an early 2-0 deficit to win the game. Matt Chapman and Tanner Pinkston each went 2-for-4 and combined to drive in three of the team's four runs on the day. Miles Chambers picked up his second victory of the season after going two and 1/3 innings of solid relief while J.D. Davis recorded his fourth save of the year, striking out three of the six batters he faced.
WORKING OVERTIME: The Titans have played nine extra-inning games in 2014, the most since the 2004 National Championship squad played seven. They are currently 4-5 in extra-inning games this season. In addition, the Titans have played the longest game in the program's history (19 innings on Feb. 21 vs. San Francisco) dating back to 1984, the last set of box scores on file at Cal State Fullerton. The Titans have also played 33 extra frames in 2014, the equivalent of three full games and two-thirds of another.
ESHELMAN EARNS FOUR PITCHER OF THE WEEK NODS: Sophomore Thomas Eshelman received four pitcher of the week awards after pitching a 10-inning complete-game shutout against Hawaii on Apr. 25. Eshelman was named one of the Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week by Collegiate Baseball and the National Pitcher of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). The Carlsbad, Calif. native also received recognition from the NCAA as one of the top perfromers of the week and also received Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week honors.
DIEMER EARNS ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Titans outfielder Austin Diemer was named to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-District VIII First Team on Thursday. It was his second consecutive selection after being named to the team in 2013 as a sophomore. The Communications/Broadcast Journalism major currently boasts a 3.77 GPA and has earned Dean's List honors in each of his semesters as a Titan.
FEELING STREAKY: The Titans currently have three players in the midst of hitting streaks. Shortstop Keegan Dale leads the way with a seven-game hitting streak while Tanner Pinkston and Austin Diemer have each hit safely in six straight games. J.D. Davis boasts a five-game hitting streak while Clay Williamson is riding a four-game stretch with at least one hit. In addition, Williamson has also reached safely in 13 consecutive games, tied for the second longest streak of the season by a Titans player.
CHAPMAN ON A ROLL: Third baseman Matt Chapman has been swinging a hot bat, capped off by a career-night on Saturday when he went 5-for-5 in the Titans 17-4 win over Hawaii. In his last nine games, Chapman is hitting .412 (14-for-34) with three doubles and nine RBIs. He's slugging .588 in that stretch and has also drawn seven walks. He has gotten on-base at a .524 clip in that span and has three stolen bases.
THREE SPOT: The Titans have outscored their opponents by 60 runs this season, but have struggled to win games when scoring less than three runs a game. Cal State Fullerton boasts a 19-6 record this year when scoring three or more runs in a game, but are just 3-12 when they score two runs or less. However, two of their victories over Hawaii on the weekend came with the Titans scoring two runs or less as they recorded a 1-0 win on Friday night and 2-1 victory in Sunday's finale.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Titans are coming off a five-game homestand in which they went 4-1 at Goodwin Field. This season, the Titans hold a 16-6 record at home.
GIVE THEM A 10: Thomas Eshelman became the first Titans pitcher to toss 10 innings since Jason Windsor did so in a 2-1 victory over Jared Weaver and Long Beach State on May 21, 2004. Eshelman tossed a complete-game shutout in the team's 10-inning walk-off victory over Hawaii on Friday night. Two days later, Grahamm Wiest followed Eshelman's lead as the red-shirt junior went 10 frames and throwing just 106 pitches in the process. The Titans were unable to reward Wiest with a pitcher-win but they would eventually secure the sweep over Hawaii on Jared Deacon's walk-off bunt-single in the 11th inning.
NO FREE PASSES HERE: Through games played up to April 30, 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 1.43 free passes a game in 383.1 innings pitched. Houston is second with a 1.85 walks per game avearge. In their weekend sweep of Hawaii, Titans pitchers did not allow a walk for the first time in a three-game series this season.
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 325 batters in 383 innings while allowing just 61 walks, a mark of 5.33. TCU ranks second with a 3.88 mark. The Titans are also ranked third in the nation in WHIP (1.03), and are fifth in the country with a 2.21 ERA.
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 April 10, 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.
As for Davis, the junior was also named to the preseason watch list and has consistently been one of the team's best hitters. He also serves as the team's closer out of the bullpen.
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 the 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 32nd in avearage attendance. The Titans had drawn an average of 2,112 fans in 20 home games this season. The Titans have attracted a total of 42,256 fans to Goodwin Field at the time of the report released Monday, ranking them 34th 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 WashingtonNationals
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.