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Another Busy Week For Big West Baseball

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11 BB Release-Week 3


Aggies Face Ranked Opponent
UC Davis is set to play its first three-game series at home this weekend and they are doing so against one of the nation's best. The 2008 NCAA national champion Fresno State Bulldogs, currently ranked 21st, travel to Dobbins Stadium for a weekend series beginning Friday, March 4 at 2:30 pm. Saturday and Sundays games begin at 1:00 p.m. Last year Fresno State took two-of-three games from UC Davis to win the series at Beiden Field in Fresno.

No Relief In Sight
Long Beach State entered the 2011 season with one of the strongest schedules in the country, ranked third overall and first in nonconference. For the third straight week, Long Beach State faces a nationally-ranked opponent in a three-game series. Long Beach State, in the midst of an 11-game homestand, opened the new year with a nonconference weekend series versus Cal State Fullerton and followed that up with a three-game stint against Arizona. Over the span, Long Beach State posted a 2-4 record, taking one game from each opponent. This week doesnt get much easier for Long Beach as former Big West coach George Horton brings the 15th-ranked Oregon Ducks to Blair Field for a three-game series.

Cal Poly Gets Hometown Support
Cal Poly, struggling in the start of the 2011 season, has yet to post a victory in its first six games, all of which were on the road. Four of the six losses were by one run and a fifth contest was shortened due to rain. In the rain-shortened contest versus USC, Cal Poly erased a 5-2 deficit by scoring six times in the top of the sixth inning, taking an 8-5 advantage. Unfortunately the runs were erased when heavy rain soaked Dedeaux Field and the game could not be continued.

Cal Poly concludes its season-opening seven-game road trip with a midweek game at No. 21 Fresno State. Following the clash with the Bulldogs, the Mustangs get the opportunity to play in front of their hometown fans with a three-game series versus Valparaiso at Baggett Stadium.

King Of The Hill
Returning all five starting pitchers, baseball fans knew UC Riverside would have a pretty solid pitching staff this season. So far, the predicted success on the mound has come true for UC Riverside. As a staff, the Highlanders are averaging 7.63 strikeouts per nine innings which is two strikeouts more per game than they recorded in 2010 (5.75). UC Riverside has given up more than four runs in a game just once in eight games this season. Last year they allowed more than four runs in five of their first eight games including three games of 10 or more runs.

Right-handed pitcher Matt Andriese is leading the pack, as he maintains a perfect 0.00 ERA after 15 innings pitched. Teammate Matt Larkins owns a conference-best 16 strikeouts, while relief pitcher Mitch Patio holds a league-leading three saves.

'Eaters Crack Top 25
Maintaining a perfect 7-0 mark through the first two weeks of the season has lifted UC Irvine into the Top 25, joining conference foe Cal State Fullerton, who was tagged as a national powerhouse at the start of the season. The Anteaters haven't just been winning, they have been simply dominating their opponents. UC Irvine has outscored their competition, 82-15, and currently pace the league in both batting average (.371) and earned run average (1.99).

Fullerton Wins Series Over Nation's Preseason Favorite
Last weekend the Titans headed to the Lone Star State to take on the nation's preseason top pick TCU. The Horned Frogs, ranked third after dropping a contest in the opening weekend, won the first contest of the three-game series. Cal State Fullerton came out strong on day two, scoring eight runs to down TCU, 8-4. In Sundays rubber match, the Titans defeated the Horned Frogs by the slimmest of margins, 2-1, to take the series. After handing TCU its first series loss since 2009, the nationally-ranked Titans improved to 4-3 on the season.

You'e Outta Here
In UC Irvine's 20-0 win over Grambling State in the final game of the MLB Invitational, the Anteaters struck out 16 batters, tying a single-game record. The last time an Anteater squad registered 16 strikeouts was against UC Santa Barbara in 2006 when Justin Cassel (15) and Chris Lopez (1) combined for the record. As a team, UC Irvine paces the league with 68 strikeouts.

UCIs Hernandez Named Lowe's Senior CLASS Candidate
Infielder Brian Hernandez has been named a candidate for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Hernandez is one of thirty baseball student-athletes to be named to the watch list and honors NCAA Division I seniors who have notable achievements in four areas of excellence community, classroom, character and competition.

Anteater alum Daniel Bibona was named the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner last year at the College World Series.

Cal State Northridge Hires New Head Coach
Matt Curtis, who for the last ten years has been a major contributor in one of the West Coast's most successful college programs, has been hired as head baseball coach at Cal State Northridge. Curtis comes to CSUN from Fresno State where he served as assistant coach for a program that has won five consecutive Western Athletic Conference titles, made four NCAA tournament appearances in the last five years, and won the 2008 College World Series.

Buckley Named Long Beach State Head Coach
Following the retirement of Head Coach Mike Weathers at the end of the 2010 season, Troy Buckley was promoted to head coach. Buckley made his return as the team's pitching coach for the 2010 season after spending two years as the Minor League Pitching Coordinator with the Pirates. That opportunity came on the heels of the tremendous success that Long Beach State's players have had both at the collegiate and professional levels. Since Buckley came to Long Beach State in 2001, the Dirtbags have earned five Big West Pitcher of the Year awards, and in 2004 Jered Weaver was named the National Player of the Year after posting a 15-1 record with 213 strikeouts and a 1.62 ERA.

Up For The Challenge
Long Beach State once again has one of the strongest schedules in the country, ranked third overall and first in nonconference strength going into the 2011 season. The Dirtbags play 17 teams out of 22 total that received votes in the preseason polls, including No. 1 UCLA, No. 8 Cal State Fullerton for six games, No. 9 Oregon, No. 10 Stanford and No. 11 Arizona State.

The Titans constructed the second-toughest nonconference schedule, ninth overall, for the upcoming year with weekend series at preseason No. 1 TCU, 2009 national champion LSU and Hawaii. Cal State Fullerton also faces No. 3 UCLA, No. 11 Arizona State, North Carolina, USC and San Diego.

Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton arent the only Big West programs taking on such a challenging schedule. UC Santa Barbara ranks 25th overall and Pacific follows in 26th place. All nine league schools rank in the Boyds World top 100 overall strength of schedule list.

Titans Unanimous Preseason Pick For 2011 Title
Cal State Fullerton is the predominate favorite in the 2011 Big West Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll, receiving all nine first-place votes. The Titans have at least a share of eight of the last 12 titles and a conference-best 15 overall. UC Irvine and UC Riverside found themselves knotted in second place with 65 votes apiece. Receiving 50 points to grab the fourth slot is Cal Poly while Long Beach State rounds out the top five with 47 points.

UC Santa Barbara secured the sixth spot with 36 total points and Pacific locked down seventh with 26 points. Garnering 22 points was UC Davis, who ranked eighth and was followed by Cal State Northridge (13 points).

Big West Vs. Top 25
Cal Poly-0-0
Cal State Fullerton-2-1
Cal State Northridge-0-0
Long Beach State-2-4
UC Davis-0-0
UC Irvine-0-0
UC Riverside-0-0
UC Santa Barbara-0-0

Live On The Net
The Big West Conference and the CBS College Sports Network are partnering to bring you exclusive coverage of Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features into your home via the Internet! Now in its sixth year, BigWest.TV covers every home and conference contest in women's volleyball as well as men's and women's basketball. Also covered are select contests in men's and women's soccer, baseball, softball, and Big West Conference Championships. A monthly subscription of $9.95 or an annual subscription of $79.95 delivers exclusive coverage to you. If you cant make it to the gym or the field, you can still catch all the action on BigWest.TV!