Top 25 Showdowns Highlight Week Two
Big West Baseball Release - Week 2
BIG WEST TID BITS
• Battle of the top 25 takes place at Goodwin Field this week as No. 13 Cal State Fullerton hosts No. 24 Houston for a weekend series. This is the second consecutive week the Titans take on a nationally-ranked opponent. The Dirtbags head to the Lone Star state this week to take on No. 7 TCU in a three game series. Sunday’s showdown is slated to air live on FOX Prime Ticket at 11:00 a.m. (PT). Also facing top 25 opponents this week are UC Davis, who faces No. 9 Stanford in a midweek contest, and Cal Poly battles No. 3 Arkansas in game one of the Tony Gwynn Legacy.
• Hawai‘i was the lone Big West school to make it out of opening weekend unscathed. The Rainbow Warriors perfect 3-0 record is the best start for them since the 2006 season. They outscored their opponents 10-2 in the series for a 0.72 ERA to rank fifth in the nation. After sweeping Air Force last weekend, they look ahead to a four-game home series versus BYU.
• The Dirtbags pitching staff, with the help of starting pitcher Zak Baayoun’s 12 strikeouts, combined for a total of 17 strikeouts opening night. This marked the most for a Long Beach State pitching staff since striking out 18 batters in 12 innings against Wichita State on Feb. 29, 2008.
• Versus the Nation: CSUN blasted seven home runs opening weekend to rank third in the nation....UC Irvine was perfect in fielding, along with 10 other schools around the country...UC Davis’ Brad Pluschkell registered 10 hits to rank 2nd....UCR’s Connor Cannon and CSUN’s Albee Weiss lead the way with three home runs each.
• UC Irvine head baseball coach Mike Gillespie announced he will retire at the end of the 2018 season and will be replaced by associate head coach Ben Orloff, UCI athletic director Mike Izzi announced. Gillespie has amassed 361 wins since joining UCI in 2008. His lifetime record on the Division I level is 1,124-696-2, ranking 35th historically and 10th among active head coaches. Under Gillespie’s guidance, UC Irvine made five trips to the NCAA postseason, including a College World Series (2014), the year he was named National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Coach of the Year. He has been named Big West Conference Coach of the Year five times and West Region Coach of the Year on three occasions.
• Cal State Fullerton was selected to claim the 2018 Big West Conference Baseball Championship, according to the nine conference coaches that voted. The Titans earned six first-place votes en route to a total of 73 points. Defending Big West Champion Long Beach State sits second with two-first place votes and 65 total points and Cal Poly is one point back after collecting 64 points to hold the third slot. UC Santa Barbara, who showcases the 21st-best recruiting class in the country, according to DI Baseball, sits fourth with 49 points and is closely followed by CSUN and its 48 points. The Anteaters of UC Irvine, who earned one first-place vote and a total of 43 owns the sixth slot, while Hawai’i (27) clinched the seventh slot. UC Riverside ranked eighth (26) and UC Davis (10) rounded out the nine-team field.
• The top three teams in the Big West Baseball Preseason Coaches poll will be featured on ESPNU this season. Cal Poly, hosting an ESPNU regular season game for the first time since May 9, 2010, welcomes Long Beach State to Baggett Stadium on Friday, April 20. The Dirtbags will also host rival Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, May 24. It’s a rematch of the 2017 best-of-three NCAA Super Regional at Blair Field, which the Titans won to advance to their 18th College World Series.