FULLERTON — The NCAA has declared Cal State Fullerton pitcher Matt Wagner ineligible for the upcoming season because of a violation of NCAA rules and Wagner has left the team.
Titan Coach Augie Garrido Monday confirmed Wagner's ineligibility, but would not comment on the reason. Other university officials also declined to comment.
Wagner, reached by telephone, also declined to discuss specifics, saying: "I'd rather just keep it to myself. It's a rules violation, and that's where I want to leave it right now. I just wish I could be out there pitching."
Wagner, Big West pitcher of the year last season as a sophomore, said he plans to remain at the university this year, and see what develops in the June pro draft.
"He could have been reinstated after one year, but he chose not to participate on those terms," Garrido said. "There will be some interest in him by professional teams, and he has interest in that as well. I expect that will be what will happen."
Under NCAA rules, Wagner could have practiced with the team this season had he chosen to do so, Garrido said.
Wagner was a key figure for the Titan team that was 47-16, shared the Big West championship, won the NCAA Regional at Oklahoma State and advanced to the College World Series in Omaha. The Titans were eliminated by Georgia Tech in the semifinal round.
Wagner, a 6-foot-5 right-hander from Plano, Tex., had a 12-1 record during the regular season, the third-best won-loss mark in the nation, and his 2.15 earned-run average ranked 30th among college pitchers. He held opponents to a .212 batting average.
Wagner didn't fare as well in postseason play, however. Wagner started two games and appeared in four, with no decisions. His ERA soared to 7.45 for the postseason. He pitched only four innings in Omaha, starting one game, and gave up five runs.
Wagner's loss will leave the Titans without four starting pitchers from last year's team. Dan Ricabal (12-1), Mike Parisi (11-4) and Chad Rolish (7-4) signed pro baseball contracts and played in the minor leagues this past summer.
Wagner transferred to Fullerton after pitching for Abilene Christian as a freshman. He started the 1994 season in the bullpen, but moved into the starting rotation after a series of strong performances in long relief early in the season.