Major League Baseball pitcher, Michael Lorenzen, returned home on Friday for Cal State Fullerton’s Dinner With the Titans fundraiser, helping his former team raise over $100,000 for the upcoming season.
“I want to see this organization succeed more than anything,” said Lorenzen, who donated $20,000 before giving his speech as the keynote speaker of the evening.
“I personally feel responsible for helping this organization and making sure that we’re building back up to being the powerhouse that we’ve always been and never looking back. That’s my goal for this program, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make that happen.”
Around 420 people attended the event, including current players, coaches, friends, family and alumni. Among the crowd were several former CSUF baseball players who have made successful careers in MLB, including Connor Seabold, Scott Hurst, Tyler Peitzmeier and Phil Nevin.
Growing up in Anaheim, Lorenzen said he was obsessed with baseball, and after seeing his oldest brother, Jonathan, get drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers when he was 8 years old, he knew he wanted to play professionally.
“I played for all these teams growing up, and all these kids were Titans fans, and I hadn’t heard of Cal State Fullerton. My brother was drafted by the Dodgers, so all I knew was pro ball. I went to a couple games at Goodwin Field, and it was love at first sight,” said Lorenzen. “I wanted to be a Major League Baseball player, but first, I wanted to be a Titan.”
Lorenzen joined the Titans in 2011, quickly gaining recognition as the 2011 Big West Conference Freshman of the Year. Later in his collegiate career, his strength and athleticism earned him a spot on the mound, where he had a 5-0 record, 35 saves and 42 appearances after two years of pitching.
He was drafted in 2013 as the 38th overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds, and after a couple years in the minor leagues, made his major league debut in April 2015. Lorenzen spent most of his career in Cincinnati before joining the Los Angeles Angels last season. After a brief stint as a free agent in 2022, the former Titan was signed by the Detroit Tigers and will be joining them for the 2023 season.
“There’s a level of play that’s expected at Cal State Fullerton, and when you don’t meet that standard, you’re held accountable to it. It’s something that’s extremely special to this program,” said Lorenzen. “I’m going into my ninth season in the majors and the standard of play here is beyond anything that I’ve ever experienced in any of my major league career.”
Throughout his career in MLB, Lorenzen has come in contact with several former Titans, and he said he’s proud to be in company with athletes who are hardworking, driven and passionate about the game.
“The Justin Turners, the Kurt Suzukis — those are the players we see come out of this program,” explained Lorenzen.
Nevin, the current manager of the Angels, added that it’s important for a player to remember their roots. After headlining last year’s fundraiser, he returned this year to show his support for the program.
“You don’t forget where you came from. This program has been a building block for everything I’ve done in my life, along with my high school days. I was fortunate enough to play for a great college coach and a great program with continued success,” said Nevin.
President Fram Virjee reflected on the program’s progress in the past year, highlighting the construction of the new baseball complex and Head Coach Jason Dietrich’s first season. Echoing Lorenzen’s focus on the future, Virjee also encouraged the team to start thinking about the 2023 College World Series.
“These players and coaches, past and present, are and will forever be a huge part of my soul. Titan baseball will forever be the pulse of the Titan family,” said Virjee. “I want to thank everyone for supporting this team and continuing to take this program to new heights. Remember, it’s only 1,544 miles to Omaha, so let’s enjoy the ride.”
This spring, the team will welcome 22 new and 17 returning players. They’ll kick off the 2023 season at Goodwin Field on Feb. 17 against Stanford University.
“We want these players to get a little better every day and continue to grow. We’re excited to see what this team can do this season. If you look at our schedule, you’ll see that’s what the Titans do. We play the best because we feel that we are the best,” said Dietrich.