Oscar Hirschkorn has been the Head Baseball Coach at Fresno Pacific University since the program's first season (2006) and has taken the program a long way in just six years. After two years of building the program, FPU baseball made its postseason debut in just its third season, making a regional for the first time in 2008.
Coming off of another regional appearance in 2011, the Sunbird baseball team has now qualified for four straight NAIA Championship Opening Round appearances and has been in the NAIA Top-25 for four consecutive years. In 2009, in just its fourth season, the FPU baseball program reached the NAIA World Series. In the last four years, FPU has a total record of 143-73, including a 96-48 GSAC record.
In six seasons at FPU, Hirschkorn has coached 12 all-conference players, one GSAC Pitcher of the Year, one NAIA All-American, one NAIA Gold Glove winner and one player who went on to reach the major leagues.
In September of 2011 Chris Schwinden made his major league debut with the New York Mets after earning Mets' minor league pitcher of the year honors and making the Triple-A All-Star Game. Chris Schwinden, who was drafted in 2008, became Fresno Pacific's first big-leaguer in the program's young but successful history.
Jordan Keener joined the FPU coaching staff in 2009. A graduate of Clovis West High School, Keener helped the Golden Eagles win their first CIF championship before attending Fresno Pacific, where he was part of the baseball program's inaugural season in 2006.
Keener played four years under head coach Oscar Hirschkorn and compiled a team-best 1.86 ERA his junior season. Throughout his four years as a player, Keener sustained arm injuries and a surgery which prohibited him from much action during his first two years and his senior season. As a senior, he was an instrumental leader on FPU's first trip to the NAIA World Series along with fellow assistant coach Matt Souza.
Following his playing career, Keener was the first former player to be hired onto the coaching staff the following season. His duties included: assistant pitching coach, first base coach and strength & conditioning.
In 2011, he took over the pitching staff and guided them to the best season in FPU history. In addition to his pitching staff's Golden State Athletic Conference-leading and 3.38 ERA (15th in the NAIA), his staff set school records in ERA (3.38) and opposing batting average (.247). The year culminated with ace Jesse Darrah being drafted in the 8th round of the MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 244th overall selection. He was the first NAIA player taken in the draft and accredited much of his success to Coach Keener.
Matt Souza was born and raised in Hanford, Calif. and graduated from Hanford High School in 2005.
After excelling with the Bullpups, Souza played two seasons under Coach Jack Hacker at Reedley Junior College where he was team MVP his freshman year. Following his junior college career, Souza took his hard-nosed work ethic to Fresno Pacific.
During his junior season, he played a pivotal role on FPU's first ever NAIA World Series team, along with fellow assistant coach Jordan Keener. As a senior, Souza set a school record with 24 stolen bases, and committed just four errors all season for fielding percentage of .978. He was a team captain his senior season, contributing to the team by using a wide skill-set from push-bunt singles to homeruns from the leadoff spot where he batted .338.
In Souza's first year coaching with the Sunbirds, he guided his infield to a GSAC-best .974 fielding percentage which was second in the NAIA. His infield was regarded as one of the best in the country at any level. Shortstop Alec Mehrten was named the conference's Gold Glove winner, while second baseman Andrew Douglas signed a free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox after the season.
After serving as Senior Associate Athletic Director for four years, Mike Rupcich joins the FPU baseball coaching staff. He brings with him a wealth of experience as a player and a coach, having worked as the head assistant at Fresno State from 1976-2002.
While at Fresno State, he was the team's hitting coach, third base coach and recruiting coordinator. He was a part of 15 conference championships, 19 NCAA Regional appearances, and two College World Series teams. The Bulldogs compiled a 968-510 record during his tenure with the program and he would coach 25 NCAA All-Americans. Rupcich was inducted into the Fresno State Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.
Rupcich played baseball at Arizona State from 1970-1972, spending time at shortstop, third base and catcher. As one of the team's most feared hitters, he helped the Sun Devils to a 144-41 record in his career, including a College World Series Runner-Up finish in 1972.
In 1970, Rupcich batted .367 and would set Arizona State's school record for most RBIs in a game with seven against Wisconsin.
Bob Jacobsen attended Roosevelt High School, and then went on to play baseball at Fresno State. In his time at Fresno State, he was primarily a relief pitcher. He led the Bulldogs in ERA (2.72) in 1982 and in saves (8) in 1984. He ranks 3rd in career saves at Fresno State.
Jacobsen was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 14th round in 1984. He played for three years in their organization.
He began his coaching career as an assistant at Clovis West High School. He then took over as head coach at Roosevelt High School, and later was the first head coach at Sunnyside High School. He is known as one of the best pitching coaches in the area.
Jacobsen was the Sunbirds' pitching coach for three seasons (08-10). In that time, he coached GSAC Pitcher of the Year and All-American Chris Schwinden, who went on to become the first FPU player to reach the major leagues. He also coached three All-Conference pitchers. His 2008 pitching staff led the GSAC in ERA, strikeouts and fewest hits allowed, and was 2nd in walks allowed. His 2009 pitching staff was 2nd in the GSAC in ERA and strikeouts, and led the conference in walks allowed.