#12 CAL STATE FULLERTON vs. San Diego
APRIL 4 • FULLERTON, CALIF.
FULLERTON, Calif. The Titans take a quick break from conference play, as they welcome in San Diego for a midweek on affair, Tuesday at 6 pm PT out at Goodwin Field.
USD, RHP Louis Crow (2-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. CSF - RHP, Joe Wills (3-0, 6.05 ERA)
CSF vs. San Diego • ALL-TIME SERIES
First Year Played/Last Year Played: 1976/2017
Overall Record 56-12-2
Current Streak Won 3
Overall Conference Record (SCBA) 20-3-1
NCAA Regional Record 1-0
Overall NCAA Postseason Record 1-0
Home Record 33-7-1
Road Record 20-5-1
Neutral Record 2-0
Longest Winning Streak 16 games (4/7/87 to 3/2/97)
Longest Losing Streak 4 games (3/5/13 to 3/10/15)
Most Runs Scored in a Game 17 games, 2x (last on 4/9/91)
Most Runs by Opponent 11 runs, 2x (last on 4/4//81)
Largest Margin of Victory 17 runs (4/9/91)
Largest Margin of Defeat 5 runs, 2x, (last on 3/10/15)
To say this guy does it all offensively for Fullerton is an understatement. Bryant leads the team on base percentage (.440), runs scored (18), RBI (18), Doubles (10), walks (17) games played (24), and games started (27).
Dillon Persinger has been 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 seven times this season, which ranks fourth in the conference. He also leads the Big West in stolen bases (9) and steals per game (0.36), stealing 9-of-11 bases this year.
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 seven straight home games. The seven-game home win streak is the most since Fullerton won nine straight home games from April 1 – April 23, 2016. Fullerton's pitching staff owns a 1.64 ERA in home games as opposed to a 3.92 ERA on the road.
NONE FOR YOU
The Titans have four shutout victories on the year thus far. They had four all of last year.
As the Titans set to enter league play, 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 2-1 against teams with top-10 RPIs.
Team RPI Rank
MAKING EM EARN IT
The Titans currently ranks second in walks allowed per nine innings, rank seventh in the nation in strikeout-to-walk radio, fourth in WHIP, eighth in fielding percentage and ninth in ERA.
Ruben Cardenas is on the mend and should be back on the diamond in about a week after dealing with a lower back injury. Colton Eastman still continues to be week-to-week, as he battles an elbow injury.
JOHNNY BE GOOD
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 3-0 record with a 1.63 ERA in 38.2 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. Overall, Gavin has tossed 17 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball. Gavin hasn't allowed a run in his last three appearances (17 innings).
Hunter Cullen has found new life of late and is fully taking advantage of his time in right field due to the Ruben Cardenas injury. He had a career night in Fullerton's 13-4 throttling of Arizona State back on March 8, as he collected a career-best four hits in five at bats, while scoring two runs and recording a double. Even more impressive is what he accomplished a few days later on March 11 vs. Gonzaga. The Newport Beach, Calif. native saved the day and won the game for the Titans, as he blasted a two-run triple into the right field corner with Fullerton trailing 3-2 in the eighth inning. The hit eventually stood as the game-winner. Cullen went 3-of-3 from the plate that night, while that triple was the first his career. He also picked up a career-tying high two RBI and two hits in Fullerton's win over #12 Arizona. Cullen is batting 13-of-26 (.500) from the dish with two outs this season.
Timmy Richards currently has an on-base streak of 19 consecutive games, which is the longest of any Titan this season. He also boasts a nine-game hit streak, which is tied for the second highest of any Titan so far this year. Taylor Bryant at one point had a 10-game hit streak.
Fullerton has blasted seven home runs in its last eight ballgames. Before this five-game stretch, the Titans had hit just three home runs through the first 19 games of the season. Seven of Fullerton's nine total blasts have come away from Goodwin Field.
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD
The Titans are 14-4 when scoring first this season, 8-1 when scoring in the first inning, while they're 12-1 when leading after the sixth frame, 14-2 when leading after seven and 17-1 when leading after eight. They're also 13-2 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 14-3 in the seventh, 19-6 in the eighth and 14-3 in the ninth frame this season. They've outscored their opponent 47-12 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 2.67 ERA. Fullerton has surrendered two runs or less on 15 separate occasions this season, including eight of its last 13 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
Seabold tossed 7.0 innings of shutout baseball in Fullerton's opening night 1-0 victory over #23 Stanford last Thursday to earn him Big West Pitcher of the Week honors this week. He scattered five hits, struck out one and walked just five batters. It marks the third time in his career Seabold has claimed conference pitcher of the week honors.
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 get 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 206-113 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.
FULLERTON IN THE POLLS
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. 12
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper: No. 16
USA TODAY Coaches Poll: No.15
NCBWA Poll: No. 14
Perfect Game: No. 10
D1Baseball: No. 12
Cal State Fullerton ranks 20th in the latest RPI, while San Diego is 55th
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
( ) First-place vote
BEST IN THE WEST
Overall, Cal State Fullerton has posted a dominant 747-262-1 (.741) conference record over 42 seasons. Rick Vanderhook, the school's fifth Div. I head coach, has compiled a 92-30 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.
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.
DINOSAURS ARE EXTINCT
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.
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.
Titans in the Draft (by round):
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.
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.
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.