Cal State Fullerton concluded its investigation of head coach Rick Vanderhook for “improper, unprofessional communication with student athletes” and announced that he will return to his coaching duties for the UC Irvine series starting May 16.
Vanderhook had been on administrative leave since April 17 while the university investigated his conduct.
“The University took the allegations against Coach Vanderhook seriously, and conducted a thorough review,” athletics director James Donovan said in a release. “He has received appropriate counsel regarding his conduct, and has been asked to again apologize to his team.”
Added Vanderhook in a statement: “Players and coaches alike are accountable for their actions on and off the field. I regret my behavior in this instance, and its impact on the program and on the University. I look forward to returning to my work with the team, and remain committed to Titan Baseball.”
Fullerton fell to 6-8 in games without Vanderhook with Friday’s 3-2 loss to UC Riverside, despite another fine effort from Thomas Eshelman (9 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 12 K). At 24-21 overall, 7-9 in the Big West and No. 74 in the RPI, the Titans’ unlikely regional chances look dimmer by the day.
Top 25 Showdowns
(18) Vanderbilt at (4) Florida: Carson Fulmer (9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K) threw his first career complete-game shutout in Vandy’s 3-0 win, leveling the series. In his return to his home state, Fulmer did not allow the Gators to get a runner to second base until there were two outs in the ninth inning. The Commodores scored all three of their runs in the fifth inning against the Gator bullpen.
(23) UC Irvine at (7) Cal Poly: The first-place Anteaters improved to 15-1 in the Big West with a 3-2 win at second-place Cal Poly. Andrew Morales (8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) improved to 9-0, and Sam Moore worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his 23rd save. The ‘Eaters overcame a 2-1 deficit with two runs in the fifth to beat Matt Imhof (8 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 13 K), who pitched very well in defeat.
(19) Alabama at (15) Louisiana State: Postponed by rain until Saturday.
Top 25 Upsets
(14) Rice at Texas-San Antonio: Brock Hartson (9 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) went the distance in UTSA’s 4-2 victory. The Roadrunners broke a 2-2 tie with two in the seventh to beat Kevin McCanna (6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K).
(20) Texas A&M at Arkansas: Trey Killian (8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K) carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and Arkansas won 3-2 on Joe Serrano’s walk-off single in the ninth. Daniel Mengden (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K) was strong in a no-decision for the Aggies.
Tennessee at (21) Mississippi State: The Vols chased Trevor Fitts (3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER) with four runs in the fourth, and Hunter Martin (6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) turned in a solid start to lead Tennessee to a 4-2 win. Nathaniel Maggio led the UT offense with two hits and two RBIs. Another win this weekend could put Tennessee in very good at-large position.
Other Top 25 Results
Georgia Tech at (1) Virginia: Mike Papi hit a two-out, two-run single in the seventh to lift the Cavaliers to a 4-3 win, the 500th career victory for coach Brian O’Connor. He is the second-fastest ACC coach to reach the milestone, doing it in 672 games (Florida State’s Mike Martin did it in 664 games). Austin Young, Whit Mayberry and Nick Howard worked a combined 3.1 hitless innings of relief to nail down the win.
UCLA at (2) Oregon State: The Beavers broke a 2-2 tie with two bases-loaded walks in the eighth inning and held on for a 4-2 win. Ben Wetzler (8 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K) improved to 9-1, and the first-place Beavers improved to 18-4 in the Pac-12.
(5) Florida State at North Carolina: The Seminoles clinched their eighth consecutive ACC Atlantic Division crown with a 7-0 win behind Luke Weaver (7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K). D.J. Stewart (3-for-4, 3 RBI) doubled three times to power the FSU offense.
Bethune-Cookman at (6) Washington: Jared Fisher (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 1 K), Trevor Dunlap (3 IP, 2 H, 0 R) and Troy Rallings (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R) combined on a three-hit shutout, leading the Huskies to a 4-0 win.
(8) Miami at Duke: Zack Collins (3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI) hit his eighth homer and his 11th double to power the Miami offense in support of Chris Diaz (8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K), who improved to 9-0 in Miami’s 6-1 win. The Hurricanes improved to 20-5 in the ACC and remained a game ahead of Florida State and Virginia in the overall standings.
(9) Indiana at Penn State: Scott Donley (2-for-4, 3 RBI) led a balanced 14-hit attack behind Joey DeNato (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R), who improved to 11-1 in Indiana’s 10-0 victory.
(10) Louisville at Temple: Kyle Funkhouser (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 K) was brilliant in Louisville’s 2-0 win. Alex Chittenden (3-for-3, R) led the Louisville offense.
Georgia at (11) Mississippi: Eleven Rebels recorded hits as part of a 14-hit barrage in support of Chris Ellis (6.2 IP, 10 H, 2 ER), as Ole Miss cruised to a 12-2 win.
Oklahoma at (12) Texas Christian: Brandon Finnegan (4 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) returned to action after a one-week layoff and earned the win in an 81-pitch outing, as the Horned Frogs stayed red-hot with a 10-2 win. Trey Teakell (4 IP, 3 H, 0 R) followed with stellar relief, while Cody Jones and Garrett Crain led the offense with three hits, two runs and two RBIs apiece.
(13) Oklahoma State at Kansas State: Jon Perrin (9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K) was overpowering in OSU’s 8-0 win, keeping the Cowboys tied with TCU atop the Big 12. Eight Cowboys recorded hits as part of a balanced 11-hit attack. The last-place Wildcats have lost eight straight conference games to fall to 4-15.
Missouri at (17) South Carolina: Max Schrock (3-for-4, R, RBI) led the South Carolina offense in his second game back after missing nearly a month with a back injury, and Jordan Montgomery (8.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) improved to 7-4 in South Carolina’s 8-2 win. Gene Cone added a three-run double in the fifth inning to break the game wide open.
Coastal Carolina at (22) Liberty: The Flames clinched the Big South regular-season title with a 7-1 win behind Trey Lambert (7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). The Flames are 20-1 in the conference, six games ahead of Cambpell in the loss column. Nick Laird (4-for-5, 2 R) led the Liberty offense.
Stetson at (24) Mercer: The Bears surged ahead with two runs in the sixth and held on for a 4-2 victory. Brandon Barker (5.2 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) was strong in a no-decision for Mercer, which won despite getting out-hit 13-6.