Busy Week For Big West Baseball
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11 BB Release-Week 4
Coming off its second straight series win and holding a six-game win streak, Cal State Fullerton heads to the land of Mardi Gras this weekend to battle the eighth-ranked LSU Tigers. The 2009 National Champions opened the season winning 11 straight before suffering their first loss of the year versus Princeton last Sunday. While the Titans are battle-tested, having already played preseason No. 1 TCU, No. 15 North Carolina ball club and USC, the Tigers are facing their first ranked opponent in Cal State Fullerton.
LBSU Leaves Home For Tourney
Long Beach State opened the 2011 season playing a nonconference contest at Cal State Fullerton. Since then, the 49ers have played 11 straight at Blair Field but the home field advantage comes to an end this week when they head to San Francisco for the AT&T Invitational. Long Beach State is slated to face No. 18 Rice, California and San Francisco at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. The matchup with the Owls marks the 10th ranked opponent Long Beach State has battled in its first 13 games.
The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are also slated to compete in the AT&T Invitational March 11-13. The Gauchos open the three-day event facing San Francisco and follow that up with a showdown with Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday and nationally-ranked Rice on Sunday.
Welcome Home Party
Cal Poly opened the year dropping six straight contests, all of which were on the road. In the final game of a seven-game road trip, the Mustangs posted their first victory. With the monkey of their back, the Mustangs opened the home portion of their schedule with a series sweep over Valparaiso. Playing 16 of the next 17 contests at home, Cal Poly enters the week riding a four-game win streak. This weekend pits Cal Poly against Loyola Marymount in a four-game weekend series in San Luis Obispo.
And The Hits Keep Coming
Fans are getting their money's worth this year when it comes to Big West baseball. With three weeks in the record book, and nine conference schools have already combined for nine extra-inning contests. This is a huge leap from last season where only four games extended playing time. So far this season, the Big West is 6-3 in extra-inning contests.
By An Inch
There have been a multitude of tightly-contested battles on the diamond this season for the Big West Conference. In fact, 32% of the games played have been decided by one run. The nine league schools hold a 15-15 mark in the one-run decisions.
Success A Plenty For UCI
UC Irvine has been stellar in the first few weeks of the young season. The Anteaters rattled off seven straight victories before dropping a 1-0 contest to Saint Mary's on Saturday. They picked up the series win with an 8-7 11-inning victory on Sunday to improve to 8-1. Over the three-week stretch, UC Irvine has outscored its opponents 90-23 and they currently pace the Big West in runs scored and batting average (.336).
This week No. 18 UC Irvine battles No. 19 UConn in a midweek contest, the first nationally-ranked opponent for the 'Eaters this season. They follow up the Huskies contest hosting a three-game series against Sacramento State.
Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Junior Colin OConnell seems to be leading the charge for the Cal State Fullerton pitching staff this season. In three starts, the righty from Riverside, Calif., owns a 0.82 ERA in 22.0 innings pitched with a 2-0 mark. He ranks third in the league in ERA and fellow Titan pitchers Noe Ramirez (1.71) and Tyler Pill (1.86), sit eighth and 10th, respectively. As a team, the Titans pace the Big West Conference with a 2.09 earned run average.
Tossing 14.0 innings, UC Riverside's Eddie Orozco holds a league-best 0.64 ERA and UC Irvine's Sunday starter, Crosby Slaught (2-0), sits second with a 0.77 ERA in 11.2 innings pitched.
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 teams 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. The Titans constructed the second-toughest nonconference schedule, ninth overall, for the upcoming year with weekend series.
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).
Most Multi-Hit Games
Ryan Goetz, UC Riverside - 8
Jordan Fox, UC Irvine - 7
Matthew Carvutto, Pacific - 6
Richy Pedroza, Cal State Fullerton - 6
Mike Miller, Cal Poly - 5
Longest Hitting Streaks
*Steven Keller, Cal State Northridge - 9
*Drew Hillman, UC Irvine - 9
D.J. Crumlich, UC Irvine - 8
*Brett Morgan, UC Davis - 7
*Richy Pedroza, Cal State Fullerton - 7
Marty Bowen, Cal State Northridge - 7
Brett Christopher, Pacific - 7
Matt Duffy, Long Beach State - 7
* - active streak
Big West Vs. Top 25
Cal Poly 1-0
Cal State Fullerton 2-1
Cal State Northridge 0-0
Long Beach State 4-5
UC Davis 0-2
UC Irvine 0-0
UC Riverside 0-1
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!