College World Series: Everything you need to know about Cal State Fullerton
Cal State Fullerton battled back from a Game 1 super-regional loss to knock off Big West rival Long Beach State in three games on the road. Up next is a second College World Series appearance in three years.
Here's everything you need to know about the Cal State Fullerton Titans.
Team nickname: Titans
School mascot: Tuffy the Titan
Conference affiliation: Big West
Home field: Goodwin Field (capacity 3,500)
Notable baseball alumni: Tim Wallach (1978-79), Mark Kotsay (1994-96), Aaron Rowand (1996-98), Justin Turner (2003-06), Khris Davis (2007-09)
Number of NCAA tournament appearances: 39
College World Series appearances: 1975, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2017
CWS championships: 1979, 1984, 1995, 2004
Season record: 39-22 (15-9 Big West)
Coach: Rick Vanderhook (six seasons)
Coaching record: 235-125
Notable pre-NCAA tournament wins: Stanford (Feb. 16, 18), at Houston (March 4), UCLA (May 9)
How they got here: 3-0 in regionals (beat BYU, Stanford twice); 2-1 in super regionals (beat Long Beach State)
Next up: Oregon State (54-4) in first stage of CWS
How the Titans rank
Final D1baseball.com ranking: No. 20
NCAA tournament national seed: N/A
RPI: No. 43
Team batting average: .270 (160th)
Team ERA: 3.57 (23rd)
Players to watch
Top hitter: Junior first baseman Dillon Persinger has been a pest for opposing pitchers all tournament long, recording at least a run scored in five of six games while going 8-for-21 at the plate. He scored the game-winning run in a 2-1 super regional-clinching victory on Sunday. He only has 11 extra-base hits out of the No. 3 hole, but he's batting .296 with a .417 on base percentage and 18 steals on the year. Persinger always seems to be in the middle of the Titans' rallies, which is important for a team that makes every run count with its strong pitching.
Top starter: Cal State Fullerton got a valuable late-season bolster to its postseason run in the form of stud pitcher Colton Eastman. The sophomore righty missed nearly three months due to injury following an 8-3 freshman campaign. He was limited to just five starts and 19.1 innings in the regular season, but he's returned to prime form since the calendar flipped to June. In two NCAA tournament starts, Eastman is 2-0 with just two earned runs in 13.2 frames. He joins Connor Seabold and John Gavin in a scary three-deep starting force that can wreak havoc in a best-of-three.
Top reliever: The Titans can rest easy with a ninth-inning lead with Big West first-team closer Brett Conine at their disposal. The sophomore is tied for sixth in the nation with 15 saves and is 3-for-3 so far in this tournament with one run allowed. Two of those postseason saves were two-inning outings. He struck out three in a pair of innings against Long Beach State to help the Titans hold onto their 2-1 win on Sunday to close out the super regionals.