It’s been five long years, 1,816 days since the Titans participated in the NCAA postseason. June 10, 2018 was the night when Washington defeated the Titans in Game 3 of the 2018 Super Regional at Goodwin Field.
But that streak will come to an end at 7 pm on Friday, June 2, 2023. The Titans are officially back in the postseason after gaining the automatic qualifier bid from the Big West Conference. Due to UCSD ineligibility to participate in the NCAA postseason because they are still transitioning from Division 2 to Division 1, Cal State Fullerton placed second and held the tiebreaker over Cal State Northridge.
Despite the controversy regarding the UCSD ineligibility, the Titans travel to Palo Alto for the Stanford Regional and will face No. 2 seeded Texas A&M in their first game.
Join us as we look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly that was Titan Baseball this past week at Cal Poly and preview the weekend regional series at Stanford.
(First score listed is visiting team score, second number is the home team’s score)
Thursday, May 25, 2023 at Cal Poly: WIN – 9-4
Friday, May 26, 2023 at Cal Poly: WIN – 7-4
Saturday, May 27, 2023 at Cal Poly: LOSS – 4-5
Season to date stats
Overall Record: 31-22
Conference Record: 20-10
Streak: Lost 1
Last 10: 3-7
Runs Scored: 324
Home Runs: 34
Team Batting Avg: .274
On-Base %: .371
Slugging %: .401
Extra base hits: 158
Total bases: 739
Hit by pitch: 57
Stolen Bases: 38
Fielding %: .976
Double Plays turned: 43
Passed Balls: 7
Stolen Bases allowed: 25
Team ERA: 4.94
Batting average against: .281
Hits allowed: 529
Total Runs Allowed: 290
Walks Issued: 215
Ks per 9 innings: 8.72
Home runs allowed: 47
Polls and RPI Tracker
D1Baseball: Not Ranked
Baseball America: Not Ranked
Collegiate Baseball: Not Ranked
NCBWA: Not Ranked
College Baseball Nation: Not Ranked
USA Today Coaches Poll: Not Ranked
11.7 Mid-Major Power Rankings: 14
Titans of the Week
Winners chosen via Twitter poll
Pitcher of the Week
Tyler Stultz: 7.2IP – 6H – 3ER – 4BB – 9K – 3.52 ERA – 1W
Trevor Hinkle : 2.2IP – 3H – 1ER – 0BB – 3K – 3.38 ERA
Jojo Ingrassia: 3IP – 2H – 0ER – 0BB – 2K – 0.00 ERA – 1S
Peyton Jones: 6IP – 6H – 2ER – 1BB – 3K – 3.00 ERA – 1W
Vote on this week’s Pitcher of the Week Nominees*:
T. Hinkle: 2.2IP – 3H – 1ER – 0BB – 3K – 3.38 ERA@Jojoingrassia35: 3IP – 2H – 0ER – 0BB – 2K – 0.00 ERA – 1S@peytonjonesy: 6IP – 6H – 2ER – 1BB – 3K – 3.00 ERA – 1W@Tyler_Stultz5: 7.2IP – 6H – 3ER – 4BB – 9K – 3.52 ERA – 1W
— Cal State Omaha (@CalStateOmaha) May 31, 2023
Batter of the Week
Eli Lopez: 8-for-12 – .670 – 0R – 4RBI – 1BB – 2K
Zach Lew: 4-for-15 – .270 – 4R – 4RBI – 1BB – 3K – 2HR
Cole Urman: 5-for-13 – .380 – 5R – 2RBI – 1BB – 2K
Carter White: 7-for-13 – .540 – 3R – 2RBI – 0BB – 1K
Vote on this week’s #CalStateOmaha Batter of the Week Nominees*:@zachlew20: 4/15 – .270 – 4R – 4RBI – 1BB – 3K – 2HR@elixeli7: 8/12 – .670 – 0R – 4RBI – 1BB – 2K@cole_urman: 5/13 – .380 – 5R – 2RBI – 1BB – 2K@carter__white: 7/13 – .540 – 3R – 2RBI – 0BB – 1K#TusksUp
— Cal State Omaha (@CalStateOmaha) May 31, 2023
Back in the Postseason
We alluded to it in the open, but it bears repeating. The Titans will play in Palo Alto this weekend marking the 41st time in the postseason.
Many pundits and fans alike saw the improvement the Titans made from 2021 to 2022 and were looking forward to 2023 as a year for more improvement. Many saw a 30-win season as a positive improvement and would continue the upward trajectory of the program.
The prospect of potentially winning the Big West Conference or advancing back to the postseason was a pie in the sky scenario before the season started. But here we are, on the eve of the first postseason baseball game in five years.
Big West Honors
The Big West Conference announced their players of the year along with the First Team, second team and honorable mentions lists today. The lists featured Titans scattered throughout with Right Fielder Nate Nankil appearing on the First team.
Senior Caden Connor found his name on the Second Team All-Big West team along with Closer Jojo Ingrassia.
The entire weekend rotation of Tyler Stultz, Fynn Chester and Evan Yates made Big West Honorable Mention. The man they all threw to behind the plate, Cole Urman, also made Honorable Mention.
Senior Zach Lew also appeared on the Honorable Mention list bringing the total number of Titans honored to seven.
— Titans Baseball (@FullertonBSB) May 27, 2023
Zach Lew for Two
Speaking of Zach Lew, Zach had himself a nice weekend on the Central Coast going yard not once but twice.
The two home runs for Lew gave him seven on the year, tying Brendan Bobo for the regular season home run title.
— Titans Baseball (@FullertonBSB) May 26, 2023
Eli Lopez Shines on the Central Coast
Freshman Eli Lopez shined this past weekend, and his 8-for-12 (.670) 4 RBI performance earned him the Cal State Omaha Batter of the Week honor.
Filling in for Maddox Latta, Lopez performed admirably giving Titan fans comfort that if Latta remains out for the Regionals, Lopez will have the confidence and experience to fill the role nicely.
— Titans Baseball (@FullertonBSB) May 30, 2023
Returning to the Scene of the Crime(s)
We mentioned the last postseason appearance by the Titans came in the 2018 Super Regionals hosted at Goodwin Field. The Regional the Titans won to advance to host that Super Regional? Palo Alto.
And when you say Palo Alto Regional in 2018, one thing comes to mind for Titan fans. The now infamous “Jumbo Jack”.
Could there be another miraculous performance coming this weekend? We shall see.
— Titans Baseball (@FullertonBSB) May 27, 2023
Carter White back to being Carter White
Prior to the Arizona State mid-week series, Carter White was hitting at an unreal pace. His performance started to drop off with that ASU series and he ran into a cold streak that lasted until the final game vs. Long Beach State.
In that stretch, the Titans went 5-10 and included an eight-game losing streak. Coincidentally, during that 15-game stretch, Carter White’s performance at the plate appeared to match the Titans win/loss record. Over those 15 games, White batted 4-for-49 (.082)
The good news? White found his groove during the Sunday game vs. Long Beach State and continued to hit into the Cal Poly Series. In one game vs. Long Beach State and the three vs. Cal Poly, White hit 9-for-15 (.600).
The one game he recorded only one hit? The loss on Sunday to Cal Poly. Safe to say that as White goes, the Titans’ fortunes go.
Let’s hope that Carter White is listed in the top of the line-up on Friday and has himself a great day. His success could bode well for the Titans advancing into the winners’ bracket on Saturday.
Let’s check in on the streaks heading into this past weekend’s series and see how those players fared:
- Moises Guzman entered the Cal Poly series with a 21-game on-base streak. Guzman extended the streak to 22 games on Friday by going 4-for-5 but unfortunately it ended. On Saturday, Guzman went 0-for-5 and did not walk or get hit by a pitch.
1 shy of Conference Championship Share
With UCSD finishing the season with a 21-9 conference record, they clinched at least a share of the Big West title entering the final weekend. Had Cal State Fullerton swept up in San Luis Obispo, they would have shared the title with the Tritons. They didn’t.
The loss 5-4 on Sunday relegated the Titans to a tie for second place with Cal State Northridge who swept at Cal State Bakersfield. The tiebreaker fell to the Titans by virtue of beating CSUN 2-to-1 games in late April.
Although getting the post-season berth is quite nice, it would have been even sweeter to win a 31st Division 1 conference championship.
UCSB on the Rock and UC Irvine Snub
Yet again, the Big West Conference and west coast baseball got the screw job from the NCAA selection committee on Monday.
The lion’s share of college baseball pundits projected that UC Irvine would get an at-large berth into the regionals based on their strength of schedule and RPI. They didn’t and the Anteaters were left at home.
UC Santa Barbara entered the final weekend in a position to not only share in the Big West title but earn their way into the postseason on the strength of their RPI. The Gauchos not only got swept by Hawai’i on the road but lost by a combined run total of 38-17. Although margin of victory should not factor into RPI, UCSB did themselves no favors by losing that badly on the rock.
The UCI snub and the Gauchos destroying their chances to end the season, the Big West remained a one-bid league. The last time the Big West received multiple bids came in 2021 when both UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara made the field.
The Titans travel north to Palo Alto for the third consecutive postseason appearance. The Titans traveled to Starkville, Mississippi in 2016 but have visited Palo Alto in the 2017 and 2018 postseasons.
The Regional includes No. 1 seed and No. 8 overall seeded Stanford, No. 4 seed San Jose State, winners of the Mountain West Conference and No. 2 seed, Texas A&M, the SEC tournament runner-up.
The Titans will face Texas A&M in the second game of Day 1 at 7 pm pacific time. Should the Titans win on Friday, they most likely will play in the Saturday night game between the winner of the San Jose State/Stanford game. Should they lose, they will play in the loser’s bracket game vs. the loser of the San Jose State/Stanford game in the early Saturday game.
For a complete regional preview, we suggest reading the D1Baseball preview that includes in-depth analysis of all four teams.
Taking a closer look of the assured first opponent, the Titans face Texas A&M for the 14th time in program history with the Titans holding a 7-5 advantage. The first meeting between the Titans and Aggies came in 1983 and the most recent in 2013. The Titans hold a 1-0 record vs. the Aggies in Regionals and a 1-0 record in the College World Series.
At the Plate
Jack Moss is the one player to watch when the Aggies bat. Moss leads the team with a .361 average and 14 doubles. Hunter Haas is the next closest and is the only other hitter going .300-plus at .316. Despite having the lowest batting average of the four Stanford Regional combatants, they do hit the ball out of the yard.
The Aggies have blasted 81 home runs, led by freshman Jace LaViolette’s 19 bombs and Trevor Werner’s 14. The Aggies have also stolen 90 bases, which was the most in the SEC.
On the Bump
The Aggie arms enter with a 5.57 team ERA. That may seem high, but you need to consider the Aggies had to face a gauntlet of an SEC schedule which included LSU’s, the Florida’s and the Alabama’s of the world in conference play.
The strength of this staff is in the bullpen where Evan Aschenbeck (8-1, 3.63) and Shane Sdao (3-1, 4.78) have combined for 44 appearances and 99.2 innings of work. RHP Nathan Dettmer was expected to be an All-SEC/1st-round draftee type this season but has had his struggles, with a 6.34 ERA and the Aggies have lost games in five of the last six starts he’s had. But he possesses a big arm (hit 99 last fall) and features a devastating sinker ball. He’s joined in the rotation by LHP Troy Wansing (3-3, 4.83 in 13 starts) who we project to get the Friday start.
The Titans are a veteran group with guys like Caden Connor, Zach Lew, Tyler Stultz, Cole Urman and Carter White headed to their first post-season. We guarantee that these guys will be leaned on heavily to provide leadership and poise up in Palo Alto.
Head coach Jason Dietrich designed the non-conference schedule of Stanford, Texas, Michigan, Pepperdine and TCU with the post-season in mind. The thinking bears out that if the Titans face adversity in a regional game, they can draw on their experiences in the non-conference to gain confidence and reset focus.
Although many fans were not expecting this level of success in just the second year of the rebuilding process, please don’t tell the players that. They are not headed to Palo Alto with plans to go 0-2 and leave with their tails between their legs. These seniors that came to Cal State Fullerton to experience winning and the post-season want to make the most of this opportunity while still wearing the Blue and Orange.
The Titans are truly ahead of schedule and enter the regionals with nothing to lose. A team with nothing to lose could just as well go out there and shock a few people along the way.
Friday, June 2: LHP – Tyler Stultz (7-4, 4.53 ERA) vs. LHP Troy Wansing (3-3, 4.83 ERA)
Saturday June 3: RHP – Evan Yates (2-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. TBA
Sunday, June 4: TBA vs. TBA
Times listed are Pacific time:
June 2, 2023 (Friday) vs. Texas A&M – 7:00 PM
June 3, 2023 (Saturday) vs. Stanford or San Jose State – TBA
June 4, 2023 (Sunday) vs. TBD – TBA