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Play Ball: Defending Champs Kick Off Season With First Pitch Friday


Big West Baseball Release - Week 1

CSF, LBSU Tested Out Of The Gates:
The defending Big West champions, Cal State Fullerton, opens the 2019 season at the MLB Collegiate Tournament in Surprise, Calif., which features a competitive lineup.  The Titans battle No. 17 TCU on Friday before facing the No. 1 team in the country, Vanderbilt, on Saturday.  They close the event with a Sunday matinee against Virginia.  Long Beach State will also be challenged from the get-go as it visits No. 3 Florida in a three-game series.


Titans Picked To Repeat As Big West Champ:
The Cal State Fullerton Titans have been tabbed to repeat as the Big West Conference Baseball Champions in 2019, according to the nine conference coaches that voted on the Big West baseball preseason poll.   The defending Big West Champions earned three first-place votes en route to a total of 70 points.   UC Irvine sits second with four-first place votes and 67 total points while Long Beach State is five points back in third after collecting one first-place vote and 62 points. Cal Poly, who earned one first-place vote, sits fourth with 60 points and is followed UC Santa Barbara and its 49 points.  With a total of 43 points, Hawai’i holds the sixth spot and CSUN owns seventh with 29 points.  UC Davis secured the eighth slot with 19 points and UC Riverside (17) rounded out the nine-team field.

CSF, UCSB Showcase Top 40 Recruiting Class:
Cal State Fullerton’s incoming 2018 recruiting class has been ranked as the 13th best in the nation according to D1 Baseball. The Titans bring in a stacked group of 18 newcomers made up of 12 freshman and six junior college transfers to join a group that fell just one win shy of reaching their 19th College World Series in program history. Fullerton’s recruiting class was ranked 16th in the country by Baseball America and 33rd according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.   UC Santa Barbara was also recognized by Collegiate Baseball with a ranking of 39th.

Preseason Honors: UC Irvine’s Andre Pallante begins the season garnering preseason All-America First Team honors by multiple publications, including Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA.  The starting pitcher was also named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes preseason watch list.  Hawai’i’s Dylan Thomas, who collected second team preseason All-America honors by NCBWA, also was named to the preseason Stopper of the Year watch list.  Complete preseason honor list.

A New Era Begins At UC Irvine:
Ben Orloff, former Anteater shortstop and Big West Player of the Year, begins his head coaching career in 2019 as the ninth head coach in program history taking over for Mike Gillespie who led the program to 393 of his 1,156 career wins. For the program, it’s the 41st season of Anteater baseball, 33rd in Division I, and 18th since the program returned in 2002. He is assisted by former UCI teammate, Daniel Bibona, who enters his seventh year as the Anteaters’ pitching coach and J.T. Bloodworth, who joins the staff this year after spending six seasons at UC San Diego.

Big West’s 50/35: The 2018-19 season marks the 50th anniversary for men’s sports in the Big West Conference, and the 35th for women’s.  Did You Know - Eighteen different schools have represented the Big West Conference in the sport of baseball.  Former members include Cal State LA, Fresno State, Nevada, New Mexico State, Pacific, Fresno State, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV.