After a three-game sweep of rival Long Beach State, No. 4 Cal State Fullerton will look to keep up their stellar play against UC Riverside on the road. The Titans (39-7, 15-3 Big West) are currently on a five-game winning streak and are 8-2 in their last ten games.
While CSUF has been one of the best teams in college baseball all season, UC Riverside (10-26, 7-11 Big West) has downright struggled. The Highlanders are winless in their last five games, 1-9 in their last ten and have only won three series thus far all season.
One of the few bright spots for UC Riverside this season has been the play of outfielder David Andriese. The junior leads the team with 33 RBIs and has a more than respectable .321 batting average. Senior catcher Clayton Prestridge and sophomore second baseman Joe Chavez have also played well. Prestridge has 24 RBIs and nine doubles while Chavez leads the Highlanders with a .506 slugging percentage, 38 runs scored and 14 doubles.
The UC Riverside pitching staff has been inconsistent thus far this year. Not one starting pitcher has a winning or .500 record. Junior left-hander Ben Doucette is 2-5, leads the team with a 4.01 ERA and has given up only one home run. Dylan Stuart, another left-hander, is 3-6 with a 4.69 ERA. The junior has also pitched two complete games this season.
Contrary to the struggles of the Highlanders, the relatively young CSUF pitching staff has been nothing short of outstanding all year. As a freshman, Thomas Eshelman has asserted himself as the No. 1 starter, and with good reason. Eshelman has accumulated an 8-2 record and leads the starting pitching rotation with a 1.51 ERA. He also has struck out 56 batters and allowed only two walks in his 12 appearances. Justin Garza, another stellar freshman, remains undefeated at 10-0, holds a 2.25 ERA and is second on the team with 67 strikeouts. Sophomore Grahamm Wiest has also been an asset, as he has gone 8-2 and is the team leader in strikeouts with 70.
The Titans have also shined offensively, outscoring their opponents by a combined total of 150 runs. Outfielder Michael Lorenzen has been key for CSUF all season. The junior is batting .327, slugging .532 and leads the team in home runs (7) and RBIs (42). Sophomore infielder J.D. Davis and senior first baseman Carlos Lopez have also contributed immensely. Davis is batting .323 and is second on the team with 38 RBIs. Lopez leads in batting average (.337), doubles (9) and stolen bases (14).
Following their series with UC Riverside, the Titans will play host to UCLA on Tuesday, May 14. The Bruins hold an overall record of 31-13 and are ranked 17th in the nation. CSUF won at UCLA 9-6 on April 2.