#11 Cal State Fullerton Baseball 2018 Preview

Cal State Fullerton Titans
Overall Rank: #11
Conference Rank: #1 Big West
Cal State Fullerton made a superb run during the 2017 NCAA Tournament and has clearly marked their place as one of the best teams in the country. The Titans came into the tournament as the second seed in the Stanford Regional, but cruised past the Cardinal and set up a thrilling Super Regional against conference foe Long Beach State. Following a 3-0 in the Super Regional opener, Fullerton crushed the 49ers 12-0 in game two and won the finale 2-1. At the College World Series things did not go well for Coach Rick Vanderhook and company, but they played relatively well in losses to Oregon State and Florida State.
2017: 39-24, 15-9
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rick Vanderhook
Key Departed Players:
Scott Hurst, OF, .328 BA, 12 HR, 40 RBI
Taylor Bryant, IF, .266 BA, 3 HR, 35 RBI
Dillon Persinger, IF, .292 BA, 3 HR, 31 RBI
Hunter Cullen, OF, .264 BA, 6 HR, 30 RBI
Timmy Richards, IF, .302 BA, 6 HR, 31 RBI
Chris Hudgins, C, .240 BA, 5 HR, 33 RBI
Connor Seabold, P, 2.96 ERA, 11-5 W-L, 127.2 IP, 122 SO
John Gavin, P, 2.67 ERA, 8-2 W-L, 104.1 IP, 90 SO
Key Returning Players:
Sahid Valenzuela, IF, .314 BA, 1 HR, 24 RBI
Gavin Valasquez, P, 4.45 ERA, 4-3 W-L, 62.2 IPO, 34 SO
This team does lose a lot of talent, but they are bringing in quite a bit as well. In total there are 17 newcomers, many of whom are experienced junior college transfers. The Titans will have to rely quite heavily on those new faces. That may cause a few problems early in the season, but by May those newcomers will help the Titans look for another deep tournament run. In the meantime, a few returning players will lead the way. Sahid Valenzuela had a very productive freshman campaign, batting .314. On the mound, Gavin Valasquez and Brett Conine are back. Valasquez started eight games as a sophomore, posting a 4.45 ERA. Conine led the Big West with an impressive 15 saves. He boasted a 1.39 ERA and struck out 43 batters in 45.1 innings of work. Assuming Cal State Fullerton can get to the ninth inning with a lead every once in a while, they have a closer who will almost always get the job done.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament