Takeaway Tuesday: 2023 Titan Baseball Alumni Game

The greatest day (in our opinion) for any Titan Baseball fan, is in the books. The 2023 crop of Titans defeated the alumni squad 12-4 on Saturday, January 28, 2023.

The annual alumni game is much more than alumni and current student-athletes competing in the game they love. The game represents an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what that current year’s crop of players might be able to produce. The game also provides the opportunity for alumni to come home, share handshakes and hugs, back slaps, inside and practical jokes and maybe a few red solo cups together in order to ensure proper hydration. For the fans, the alumni game gives them the opportunity to cheer for their favorite Titans one more time and no matter who strides to the plate or takes the mound.

Scott Hurst Sahid Valenzuela
Scott Hurst (L) and Sahid Valenzuela (R) both started for the Titans Alumni team. Hurst made his debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2021 and Valenzuela advanced to Double-A Midland RockHounds last season.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Although you can find a brief recap on the FullertonTitans.com official website, that may not be enough for those of you that could not attend. Since the alumni game was not live-streamed, those from far away may want more detailed and nuanced coverage. We took copious notes during the game and here is our breakdown and recap of what we saw this past Saturday.

2023 Titans Starting Line-up vs. Alumni

Right FieldNate Nankil
Center FieldMoises Guzman
Left FieldBrendan Bobo
1st BaseCaden Connor
2nd BaseMaddox Latta
Short StopJT Navyac
3rd BaseZach Lew
CatcherCole Urman
Designated HitterCarter White
Starting PitcherEvan Yates

The starting line-up for the alumni did not reflect what we project will be the team to take the field on February 17th vs. the Stanford Cardinal. However, due to some minor injuries or needed rest, a number of Titans did not start the game or even play. (Stay tuned for our projected starters for both the hitters and pitchers later this week.)

Evan Yates
Sophomore Evan Yates got the starting nod in Saturday’s Alumni game.
(Photo courtesy of Katie Albertson / Titan Athletics)

Top of the 1st Inning

Last season, Evan Yates started his freshman campaign out of the bullpen but by late March, made his first career collegiate start vs. UC Riverside. Three starts on Sundays pushed Yates into the Saturday role by Mid-April, the spot he would hold for the remainder of the season. By starting for the Titans in the alumni game, it appears Jason Dietrich was auditioning guys for the yet to be determined Sunday starter role. (We’re hearing the Friday and Saturday night jobs are pretty much locked up and whomever doesn’t get the ball on Fridays will get it on Saturdays.) Yates’ fastball sat 90-91 MPH and mixed in some off-speed pitches to the alumni.

Richy Pedroza (2010-13) led off for the alumni and hit a comebacker to Yates for an easy 1-3 put out.
Josh Vargas (2015-16) ran the count to 3 & 2 but eventually walked.
Scott Hurst (2015-17) hit a double on a 3-2 count and Vargas scored from first to give the alumni a 1-0 lead.
Daniel Cope (2017-19) hit a fly ball to left field but Brendan Bobo slipped trying to field it and the ball rolled to the wall. Hurst scored easily from second and Cope ended up on second base.
Hunter Cullen (2015-17) hit a slow roller to Caden Connor who recorded the out at first base unassisted to make it two outs.
Sahid Valenzuela (2017-2019) came to the plate but was unable to complete his at-bat as Cole Urman threw out Daniel Cope attempting to steal 3rd base and recorded the third out to end the top of the 1st inning.

Zach Lew tags out Daniel Cope
Zach Lew applies the tag on Daniel Cope at third base after Catcher Cole Urman executed a fantastic back pick throw.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Bottom of the 1st Inning

Peyton Jones started the game on loan for the alumni squad and looked to be in position to battle for the Sunday starting role. Jones’ fastball sat in the high 80’s but his change-up was his most effective out pitch, garnering a number of swings and misses for strike three.
Caden Connor led off for the 2023 Titans and was first aboard with a single through the right side of the infield between the first and second basemen.
Carter White flew out to Right Field for the first out.
Zach Lew hit a slow chopper down third base line, fielded by Jones for a 1-3 put out for the second out. Connor advanced to second base on the fielder’s choice.
Nate Nankil came to the plate but much like Valenzuela, was unable to complete the at-bat. Caden Connor was thrown out attempting to steal third by Catcher Daniel Cope to end the first inning.

Valenzuela Connor Tag at 3rd_base
Caden Connor (5) is dead meat after attempting to steal 3rd. Sahid Valenzuela applies the tag after receiving a laser throw from Alumni Catcher Daniel Cope.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Top of the 2nd Inning

Evan Yates returned to the mound for the second inning.
– Valenzuela hit a fly ball down the right field line but Nate Nankil caught is just before foul territory for the first out.
Hank LoForte (2016-19) hit a fly out to Left Fielder Brendan Bobo.
Mitchell Berryhill (2018-19) struck out swinging on a 3-2 count.

Peyton Jones
Junior Peyton Jones got “loaned” to the alumni squad for the first three innings of the alumni game.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Bottom of the 2nd Inning

Peyton Jones back to the mound for a second inning of work and during the first at bat showed a dirty 73 MPH change up.
Nate Nankil flew out to right field
Cole Urman roped a double to right center field
Maddox Latta grounded out 4-3.
JT Navyac swinging strike out on a high fastball and Urman stranded on second.

Top of the 3rd Inning

Evan Yates back to the mound for his third inning of work.
Joe Scott (2006-09) swinging strike out on a 79 MPH change up.
Jake Jeffries (2013-15) swinging strike out on an 81 MPH change up.
Richy Pedroza swinging strike out on a 91 MPH fastball.

Richy Pedroza Strikeout
Richy Pedroza strikes out to end the 3rd inning on a 91 MPH fastball from Evan Yates.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Bottom of the 3rd Inning

Peyton Jones back to the mound for his third inning of work
Brendan Bobo pop out to second baseman Joe Scott
Moises Guzman legged out a single hit to Short Stop Pedroza who could not field it cleanly moving to his right.
Caden Connor swinging strike out on a 77 MPH change up.
Carter White popped up to Short Stop.

Seth Tomczak
Seth Tomczak, a transfer from Northern California Junior College powerhouse San Joaquin Delta, entered the game in relief of Evan Yates for the 2023 Titans.
(Photo courtesy of Katie Albertson / Titan Athletics)

Top of the 4th Inning

Seth Tomczak comes into the game in relief of Yates. Tomczak is a 6’4″ 195 lb. right hander originally from Ione, CA. He arrives at Fullerton via San Joaquin Delta College and was at Arizona State before that.
Jake Vargas lead off walk.
Scott Hurst to the plate and the alumni put on a hit & run play. Hurst hit a grounder that was fielded cleanly but with Vargas in motion on the pitch, Hurst was out at first but Vargas advances to second.
– Cope hit a chopper back to the pitcher for a 1-3 put out to advance Vargas to third. Two outs.
– Cullen walked
– Valenzuela RBI Single to center field scores Vargas from third. Throw from center field off line and Cullen advances to third.
– LoForte hit a grounder to second baseman Latta who flipped to SS Navyac for the force out on Valenzuela to end the inning.

Ryan Faulks
Right hander Ryan Faulks, a transfer from San Diego State, gave up one hit and no runs in his two innings of work vs. the Alumni.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Bottom of the 4th Inning

Ryan Faulks relieves Peyton Jones. Ryan is a 6’3″ 190 lb. RHP originally from Rancho Santa Margarita and arrives at Fullerton via the transfer portal from San Diego State.
Zach Lew grounder to short for a 6-3 put out.
– Nankil fly out to Center field
– Urman hits a triple over the head of the center fielder.
– Latta swinging strike out on a 78 MPH change up.

Cole Urman Triple
Cole Urman slides safely into third base after hitting a triple over center fielder Hunter Cullen.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Top of the 5th Inning

Tomczak returns to the mound for his second inning of work
– Berryhill strikes out on three straight pitches, all fastballs ranging from 89 to 90 MPH.
Joe Scott bunt single
Jake Jeffries hit a single to right field to advance Scott to second.
Niko Pacheco (2014-17) swinging strike out on a 3-2 count on an 80 MPH change up.
– Pedroza base on balls
– Vargas swinging strike out on 89 MPH fastball.

Niko Pacheco strikeout
Niko Pacheco strikes out on a filthy off speed pitch in the dirt from Seth Tomczak.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Bottom of the 5th Inning

Faulks returns to the mound for second inning of work.
– Navyac swinging strike out on 87 MPH pitch
– Bobo strike out looking
– Guzman grounder to short stop but an overthrow to first allows him to advance to second.
– Connor flied out to left field.

Josh Howitt
Josh Howitt returns to the Titans for his second year after transferring from LA Valley College in 2021.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Top of the 6th Inning

Josh Howitt relieved Tomczak. Howitt struggled last season but had a good summer in the Northwoods League and looked solid in the fall, showing command and confidence.
Scott Hurst lead off walk on a 3-2 count.
Hunter Cullen swinging strike out on a 90 MPH fastball
Sahid Valenzuela hit an RBI double to right center to score Hurst from first base.
Hank LoForte strike out looking.
Jackson Lyon (2019-2022) grounded out 6-3 to end the inning.

Jesse Alfaro
Jesse Alfaro was the third Titan pitcher on loan to the alumni squad.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Bottom of the 6th Inning

Jesse Alfaro, a freshman from Moreno Valley, in relief of Ryan Faulks.
Carter White strikes out swinging on 83 MPH
Zach Lew ground out 6-3.
Nate Nankil aboard on a base on balls
Max Ortega, a freshman from Stockton, Calif., entered the game and flew out to right field.

JT Navyac Alumni Game
JT Navyac tosses across the diamond on Joe Scott’s grounder to record the second out of the top of the 7th inning.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Top of the 7th Inning

Josh Howitt remains in the game
– Berryhill swinging strikeout on 87 MPH
– Joe Scott 6-3 ground out
Greg Velasquez (2011-14) swinging strikeout on 90 MPH fastball

Andrew Morones
Andrew Morones, a Junior college transfer from San Joaquin Delta College looks to bolster the Titan bullpen with a veteran presence.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Bottom of the 7th Inning

Andrew Moronez, a JC transfer from San Joaquin Delta College in relief. Moronez would sit 91-92 with an 80 MPH change up.
Maddox Latta had a solid hit to center field that tipped off the fielder’s glove resulting in a double.
JT Navyac singles up the middle
Brendan Bobo strikes out swinging.
Luke Mistone RBI single to score Latta from third.
Caden Connor RBI single through the right side of the infield to score Mistone
Carter White fly out to left field
(Coach Thomas Eshelman brings in Mitchell Berryhill to relieve Moronez)
Zach Lew foul out to 1st base

Gavin Meyer
Sophomore Gavin Meyer entered in the top of the eighth inning, with his 2023 Titans team trailing 4-2. After a scoreless frame followed by a ten-run rally in the bottom of the frame, he was the winning pitcher.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Top of the 8th Inning

Gavin Meyer, now a sophomore, comes into the game in relief. Meyer made 22 appearances and pitched 29 innings last season with mixed results. Recorded a 2-1 record and 5.59 ERA in 2022. He had a single game career-high six strikeouts against Pepperdine on March 4th.
Jake Jeffries strikes out on an 87 MPH pitch
Richy Pedroza pop out to short stop.
Jake Vargas foul out to 3rd base

Max Ortega HR Trot
Freshman Max Ortega hit a 2-Run home run to tie the game 4-4 and is seen ready to celebrate with his teammates about to round third base.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Bottom of the 8th Inning

Mitch Berryhill, who was a Center Fielder while with the Titans in 2018 & 2019, remains in to pitch. His velocity was low 60 MPH while topping out at 72 MPH.
– Nankil lead off bunt for a single
Max Ortega 2-run home run over left center field wall
– Latta bunts for a single
– Navyac reaches base safely due to an E5.
– Bobo hits a bloop single to center field
Luke Mistone hits into a 4-3 fielder’s choice but records the RBI
Caden Connor hits an infield single between 3rd and short stop and stretched it into a double.
Carter White Fly out to Center field.
Zach Lew RBI single
Draven Nushida, freshman from Hawai’i, pinch hits for Nankil and hits an RBI single
(Eshelman mound visit and hands the ball to Hunter Cullen.)
– Latta walks
JT Navyac hit a fly ball to right field but drops for 2 RBI
(Despite not recording three outs, the coaches decided to turn over the inning and let the alumni hydrate more.)

Scott Hurst Swinging K
Scott Hurst can’t catch up to the Jojo Ingrassia 90 MPH fastball for the first out of the top of the 9th Inning.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Top of the 9th Inning

JoJo Ingrassia enters the game to close it out. Ingrassia is a transfer from San Diego State and in warm up showed a 90-92 MPH fastball and an 82 MPH change up.
Scott Hurst swinging strike out on 90 MPH Fastball.
Niko Pacheco Swinging strikeout on 91 MPH fastball
Tanner Pinkston (2013-16) single up the middle.
Hunter Cullen swinging strike out on 90 MPH fastball.

Takeaways from the 2023 Titan Baseball Alumni Game

– A number of players expected to play significant roles in 2023 did not play against the alumni. Notably Tyler Stultz and Trevor Hinkle did not pitch. Both Stultz and Hinkle are the odds on favorites to win the Friday and Saturday night starting nods. Coach Jason Dietrich may have given them rest and let the guys like Yates and Jones see more innings and compete for the possible Sunday starter role.

– Highly regarded Right Handed Pitcher Jason Blood did not pitch on Saturday. The coaching staff is extremely high on Blood, a JC transfer from Golden West College. He did not pitch, and we are unsure if it was for rest or possibly a minor injury that prevented him from pitching in the Alumni Game.

Jason Blood
Jason Blood
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

Colby Wallace did not play and we are projecting him to take the regular center field position come February 17th. He could have a minor injury as well that requires rest and could be ready come opening weekend. From what we saw in the fall ball scrimmages and intrasquad games, Wallace, a transfer from the University of Washington, looks to be the real deal both at the plate and in the field.

Washington transfer Colby Wallace appears to have the inside track for regular starts in the outfield in 2023.
Photo courtesy of Don Hudson

– Freshman Eli Lopez was noticeably missing on Saturday as well. In the fall, we were highly impressed with his energy, ability to get on base, be a pest when on the bases and overall, embody the true essence of being a “Titan”. He may not be very big, (5’9″ 155 lbs.) but what he lacks in size he sure makes up for it with heart and the immeasurables of doing the right things. We’re hopefully he is not injured and will be a major contributor for the Titans in 2023.

Freshman Eli Lopez was an unexpected surprise contributor during the Washington State scrimmage.
Photo courtesy of Don Hudson

Cole Urman‘s defense has not skipped a beat from last season heading into 2023. His ability to throw opponents out on the base paths will be a deterrent for any would be base stealers. The back pick to third to throw out Daniel Cope in the first inning demonstrated how deadly his arm will be for the Titans. Although the Alumni did not attempt a steak at second, Urman’s throws down there after warm-ups showed his pop time is still sub-2 seconds. His ability to receive pitches combined with blocking balls in the dirt will go a long way. We’re confident that home plate umpire Tony Norris appreciated having Urman in front of him all game.

Cole Urman digs out an off-speed pitch in the dirt during the Washington State scrimmage.
Photo courtesy of Don Hudson

– It was good to see Andrew Moronez, Jesse Alfaro and Seth Tomczak on the mound. Fans did not see much of those guys in the fall and they all showed well. Tomczak induced ground outs but did issue a few walks in his first inning of work. He followed it up with three strike outs in his second inning while giving up a single and another walk. Alfaro had nearly a three up and three down inning minus issuing one walk to Nate Nankil.

– The Brendan Bobo and Nate Nankil power bats were on full display during batting practice. Although it did not materialize in the Alumni Game, look for both to improve on their home run numbers from last year. We’ll save our predictions on both guys for the hitters preview piece coming soon. Make sure to come back for that coming up shortly.


Deetz Post Game
Head Coach Jason Dietrich addresses the current and alumni players after the completion of the 2023 Alumni Game.
(Photo courtesy of Don Hudson)

In true Titan Baseball tradition, the Alumni Game did not disappoint with many alumni returning home. Guys representing all the generations of Titan Baseball could be seen in the First Base dugout from the 1979 championship team to guys like Jackson Lyon who played for the Titans as recently as last season.

After the game was over and all the high fives, handshakes, fist bumps and hugs were doled out, Head Coach Jason Dietrich addressed the Alumni and 2023 Titans after the game. He expressed heartfelt gratitude for all who participated in the game and for those who attended the Dinner with the Titans event on Friday.

He also recognized the great tradition established on the shoulders of generations of Titans players and coaches, and encouraged their ongoing support that is so vital for getting the program back where we all want it to be.

Deetz encouraged current players to get to know the former players and tap into their vast experience and extensive knowledge of what it means to be a Titan.

Make sure check back for our two part series Projecting the 2023 Titan Baseball Roster for both pitchers and position players.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prove you are human * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.