Vanderhook Adds Dan Ricabal to Staff as Pitching Coach

Long Beach State Athletics/John Fajardo
Long Beach State Athletics/John Fajardo

FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton Baseball and Head Coach Rick Vanderhook have announced the hiring of pitching coach Dan Ricabal who joins the coaching staff after spending the last three years at Long Beach State.

"We are lucky to be able to add someone with the knowledge and experience that 'Rico' (Dan Ricabal) has to our coaching staff," Vanderhook said. "He definitely knows the rich history we have of great pitchers at Cal State Fullerton from his time as a Titan and will be a great addition to this program." 

Ricabal brings coaching experience at multiple levels of baseball, having coached in the junior college ranks, at multiple Division I programs along the West Coast, and within the minor league system of the Los Angeles Angels.

After beginning his college career at Cerritos, Ricabal came to Cal State Fullerton in 1993 and immediately proved to be a standout pitcher. He lead the team in wins as a junior with 11 and while also leading the team in strikeouts with 106. 

As a senior he helped lead the Titans to the College World Series in Omaha and finished the season with a 12-1 record, giving him the ninth best winning percentage in a single season in the history of the program. Over his two-year career Ricabal finished with a 23-4 record which ranks seventh all-time in career winning percentage.

Following his outstanding career as a Titan, Ricabal was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994 and pitched a handful of seasons in the minor leagues. He then turned to coaching in 2000, serving as the pitching coach at College of the Canyons.

In 2001, Ricabal returned to Fullerton as an administrative assistant, then spent the next three seasons at UC Santa Barbara as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. From there, he moved to the Angles minor league system, where he would spend six years as a pitching coach at various levels of the organization. During his time with the Angles, Ricabal coached a number of future big leaguers like Garrett Richards, Jordan Walden, Tyler Chatwood, Sean O'Sullivan, Trevor Bell and others. 

Ricabal oversaw a record-setting season on the mound for Long Beach State pitchers in 2018, led by First Team All-Big West selection Clayton Andrews. LBSU pitchers earned eight of the 15 Big West Pitcher of the Week awards during the season, with Andrews claiming five by himself and each of the last four awards given. Under Ricabal's tutelage, Andrews finished the season with a 1.99 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 99.2 innings pitched, becoming the first Dirtbags pitchers since Jered Weaver in 2004 to lead LBSU in ERA, innings pitched, and strikeouts in the same season. 

In his first season with the Dirtbags, Ricabal guided a successful Dirtbags pitching staff that had a team ERA of 3.07 and produced a pair of All-Americans in starters Darren McCaughan and Dave Smith. LBSU ranked second in the country in shutouts with 12, third in WHIP with a mark of 1.12, and seventh in the country in ERA in 2017. McCaughan was named Big West Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season, and Smith and closer Chris Rivera were tabbed second team All-Big West selections.

During his tenure at LMU, Ricabal's pitching staffs posted Top-10 LMU season ERAs in each of his five years. Ricabal is also responsible for developing four of LMU's Top-10 best individual season ERAs, including Sean Watkins' 1.89 in 2015 (third-best) and Colin Welmon's 2.30 ERA in 2013 (sixth-best). Prior to Watkins and Welmon, no Lion pitcher had turned in a sub-2.31 ERA in a season since 1971. Training under Ricabal throughout his four-year career, Welmon posted the third-best ERA in LMU history (2.82).

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