CSF-LBSU Showdown Highlights This Week's Docket
Big West Baseball Release - Week 6
• With one week before conference play starts, Big West fans will get a little sneak peek into conference play this weekend when Long Beach State (10-8) hosts Cal State Fullerton (14-5) in a non-conference scoring three-game series. While the Titans, who have won 10 of their last 11 contests, are ranked as high as No. 5 in the national polls, the Dirtbags, riding a four-game win streak are receiving votes, making this local rivalry a must-watch series. Friday’s contest starts at 6:00 p.m. and is followed by 2:00 and 1:00 pm starts over the weekend.
• In mid-week contests last week, both Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton shut out ranked opponents. On Tuesday, the Dirtbags handed third-ranked TCU a 7-0 loss and the Titans downed No. 5 Arizona, 4-0, Wednesday evening. Both teams are now 3-1 against the Top 25.
• The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) released its National Player of the Week awards for the period ending March 19 and Cal State Fullerton junior left-handed pitcher John Gavin was named National Pitcher of the Week. Gavin scattered just two hits over eight scoreless innings against New Mexico and struck out a career-high 14 batters to earn the victory in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel. He tallied the most strikeouts by a Titan since Thomas Eshelman also fanned 14 against Arizona State on May 30, 2015. The San Jose, California native retired 16 straight Lobos to end his day, helping the Titans to stretch their winning streak to seven straight.
• UC Irvine is pacing the conference with a .308 batting average thanks to a trio of Anteaters owning three of the top four spots individually. Evan Cassolato owns the top spot with a .446 clip, and is followed by Keston Hiura in second hitting .419 and Adrian Damla fourth with a .390 batting average. The ‘Eaters are also sporting the nation’s fourth-best fielding percentage at .984.
On the mound, the Cal State Fullerton pitching staff has produced a league-leading 2.05 ERA to rank third in the nation. The Titans are led by junior John Gavin and his 1.65 earned run average. UC Irvine closer Calvin Faucher finds himself a top the national standings in saves with eight. In 12.0 innings tossed he has allowed just two earned runs for a 1.50 ERA, while striking out 17.
• The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced the official watch list for the 2017 Johnny Bench Award and three Big West catchers made the elite list - UC Santa Barbara’s Dempsey Grover, Cal State Fullerton’s Chris Hudgins and Cal Poly’s Nick Meyer. The award is given annually to the top division one collegiate catcher, the list will be updated to include other candidates until May 1, 2017.
• USA Baseball announced the coaching staff for the 2017 Collegiate National Team and Dave Snow, Troy Buckley (Long Beach State), Rick Vanderhook (Cal State Fullerton) and Larry Lee (Cal Poly) join manager John Savage (UCLA).
• In the fall a pair of Big West Conference baseball teams earned recognition for their incoming recruiting classes. UC Santa Barbara’s earned its highest national ranking in program history at No. 9 in Collegiate Baseball’s ranking. CSF’s recruiting class was ranked No. 21 in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball’s annual evaluation in September.
• Cal State Fullerton is set to host UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara in nationally televised ESPNU games on Saturday, April 29 and Friday, May 12. The Titans are also slated to host a pair of contests on FOX Prime Ticket against UC Santa Barbara (May 13) and Long Beach State (May 27).
A selection of Big West baseball games will also be carried on ESPN3 this season with all games originating from Southern California member institutions Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Riverside.