Pacific Prowls After League-Leading Cal State Fullerton
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10 BB Release-Week 11
Pacific hosts a crucial three-game Big West series against first place and nationally ranked Cal State Fullerton this weekend, needing a strong showing to stay in the hunt for a regular season title.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
Tigers Look To Pounce On Titans
The marquee series in the Big West this week is third place Pacific hosting league leader Cal State Fullerton. The Tigers (24-14, 7-5) trail the Titans (24-13, 10-2) by three games in the standings, and need a strong showing in this week’s series to remain a firm threat in the race for the title.
Pacific has taken two of three games from each of its last three conference opponents - UC Riverside, UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge. The Tigers complete a seven-game homestand this weekend after also squaring off against Santa Clara in a non-conference matchup Wednesday.
The Titans are rolling after a rough start to the season. They have won 17 of their last 21 games, including a current six-game winning streak. In that six-game span, the bats are bopping to the tune of producing 10.5 runs per game. Fullerton’s pitching hasn’t been too shabby either. The staff has allowed five or fewer runs in eight of the last nine contests.
After an early season swoon that saw the Titans sitting at 7-9 and eventually out of the national rankings, Fullerton has regained the swagger that put the program as high as No. 3 in some preseason polls. The Titans aren’t quite back to that level, but the recent success has propelled them fully back into the national discussion. In this week’s polls, CSF is No. 12 in Collegiate Baseball and No. 13 in Baseball America. The Titans are also ranked by the NCBWA (No. 16) and USA Today/ESPN (No. 18).
UC Irvine won four straight road games last week to reenter the national rankings after dipping out of them for a brief time. The Anteaters are No. 29 in both the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball polls. UCI travels to No. 5 UCLA for a single game this week before hosting Cal State Bakersfield this weekend in a break from Big West play.
Teams in the middle of the pack have important Big West encounters on tap as Long Beach State travels to Cal Poly and UC Riverside visits UC Santa Barbara. UC Davis pays a visit to Cal State Northridge to round out this week’s conference action.
Change Of Pace
Through the first 36 conference games that were played, 19 were decided by two runs or less and 10 by a single run. That trend was reversed last week as most of the games were not as closely contested. In fact, only one of the 12 conference games was decided by two runs - Cal State Fullerton’s 8-6 win over Cal Poly. Eight games were won by six or more runs.
Strike Zone Command
Big West pitchers are hitting the strike zone with regularity, at least according to the latest NCAA statistical rankings. Four Big West teams are ranked in the top 25 for fewest walks allowed per nine innings. UC Irvine’s staff is No. 2 in the nation at 2.22 walks per nine innings. Cal State Fullerton is right behind at No. 4 (2.53). UC Riverside (2.90) and UC Santa Barbara (2.91) are ranked No. 24 and No. 25, respectively. Long Beach State is on the cusp of entering the top 25, as its 2.93 walks per nine innings places it 28th on the list. Individually, UC Riverside’s Matt Andriese is ranked No. 12 nationally with just 1.21 walks per nine innings.
Brown Rises Up Steals Chart
Cal State Fullerton’s Gary Brown swiped four more bags last week to increase his Big West leading total to 26 for the season. The 26 steals is a career-high for the junior outfielder. In addition, Brown climbed to the No. 6 spot on the Big West career steals list at 76. He needs just three steals to overtake Long Beach State’s Cobi Cradle (1990-93) for No. 5.
More Brown Banter
Steals is not the only category that Cal State Fullerton’s Gary Brown leads in the Big West statistics. Not even close. The No. 2 hitter in the Titan order, Brown is No. 1 in the conference in average (.454), slugging percentage (.712), on base percentage (.497), runs scored (48), hits (74), triples (8) and total bases (116).
Juarez Declaws Tigers
Cal State Northridge starting pitcher Ryan Juarez shut down a potent Pacific offense in Friday’s 8-1 win in Stockton. The junior held the Tigers, which enter this week with a .329 team batting average, to seven hits and one run in the complete game triumph. Juarez lowered his ERA to 3.88 with the outing. He has gone at least six innings in each of his three Big West starts.
Cusick’s Hit Streak Halts
UC Irvine’s Jeff Cusick saw his Big West leading 25-game hit streak came to an end following an 0-for-5 performance in last weekend’s Big West series opener at UC Davis. Cusick came back with consecutive 2-hit games against the Aggies, and now has multiple hits in seven of his last eight outings. The longest current hit streaks now belong to Long Beach State’s Brennan Metzger (17) and Cal State Fullerton’s Nick Ramirez (16).
UC Irvine senior hurler Daniel Bibona is having another All-American type season in the blue and gold. Named an All-American by numerous publications in 2009, including a first-team nod by Collegiate Baseball, Bibona continues to deal zeros a majority of the time on the mound. The southpaw is 7-2 with a sparkling 2.28 ERA, striking out 84 in 75.0 innings pitched. He tops the Big West in ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts and opposing batting average (.198). He is also tied for the conference lead in wins. With a career record of 29-7, he is just two victories shy of making the Big West career top 10 list.
Pacific senior Hunter Carnevale has tossed 22.0 consecutive scoreless innings over his last seven appearances for the orange and black. The right-hander has allowed just two unearned runs during that stretch. In that span, he has lowered his ERA from 5.14 to 2.88 and has picked up three wins along the way. Carnevale has only walked two and struck out 18 in that 22-inning span as well.
Lohman Above .400
Long Beach State junior Devin Lohman is riding an 11-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games. In that 11-game span, Lohman is hitting .408 (20-for-49) to raise his season average to .403, which ranks third in the Big West. He is batting nearly 100 points higher than his 2009 mark of .307.
College Baseball Foundation Names Six To Watch Lists
The College Baseball Foundation released the first watch lists for the Brooks Wallace Award and Pitcher of the Year, and the Big West was represented by six players. The Brooks Wallace Award, which recognizes the nation’s top shortstop, includes Cal State Fullerton junior Christian Colon, UC Santa Barbara senior Matt Valaika and Pacific senior Ben Gorang on the list of 54 players being considered by the CBF. On the 49-player Pitcher of the Year Watch List, UC Irvine seniors Danny Bibona and Eric Pettis join UC Santa Barbara junior Mario Hollands as Big West representatives.
Colon was one of two finalists for the 2009 Wallace Award that appeared on the initial 2010 list. The other player was Jedd Gyorko of West Virginia. Both awards will be presented on July 2 in Lubbock, Texas, as part of the College Baseball Awards Show.
Big West Vs. Top 25
Cal Poly 0-4
Cal State Fullerton 2-4
Cal State Northridge 2-1
Long Beach State 5-3
UC Davis 0-1
UC Irvine 0-2
UC Riverside 0-4
UC Santa Barbara 1-3
Most Multi-Hit Games
Gary Brown, Cal State Fullerton 22
J.B. Brown, Pacific 22
Brian Martin, Pacific 22
Mike Walker, Pacific 18
Carlos Lopez, Cal State Fullerton 18
Most Multi-RBI Games
Nick Ramirez, Cal State Fullerton 13
Jeff Cusick, UC Irvine 11
Dominic D’Anna, Cal State Northridge 10
Ryan Pineda, Cal State Northridge 10
Brian Hernandez, UC Irvine 10
Longest Hitting Streaks
Jeff Cusick, UC Irvine 25
Dominic D’Anna, Cal State Northridge 18
Carlos Lopez, Cal State Fullerton 17
*Brennan Metzger, Long Beach State 17
*Nick Ramirez, Cal State Fullerton 16
* Current streak
Live On The Net
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