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Big West Faces Nation's Best This Week

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11 BB Release-Week 6

3/15/2011

Cal Poly Tackles NCAA Runner-Up
Cal Poly closes out a 10-game homestand this weekend when it hosts 2010 NCAA Runner-Up No. 15 UCLA in a three-game series. Due to finals for both schools, the two teams meet Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. followed by a 2:00 p.m. contest Sunday and the series finale Monday at 6 p.m. The Bruins are the second ranked opponent the Mustangs have faced this season. Back on March 1, the Mustangs won an 11-4 contest versus then-ranked No. 21 Fresno State.

No Relief In Sight For Long Beach State
To start the season, Long Beach State was tabbed with the toughest nonconference schedule in the country by Boyds World. The 49ers kicked off 2011 with a three-game nonconference series with then-No. 8 Cal State Fullerton and followed that up with back-to-back Pac-10 series versus No. 17 Arizona and No. 15 Oregon. Add that to single games against No. 18 Rice and No. 20 California, the 49ers have played 11 games against the nations best and tallied a 5-6 record over the span.

It doesn't get any easier for Long Beach State, as it welcomes No. 23 Oregon State to Blair Field March 19-21 and then visits No. 12 Stanford the following weekend. Game times for the clash between Long Beach State and Oregon State are slated for 6:30, 5:30 and 1:00 p.m.

Tough Time In The Bayou
Nationally-ranked Cal State Fullerton suffered its first series loss of the season last weekend after being swept by then-ranked No. 8 LSU. The Tigers won the first two games by a score of 7-6 and later tallied a 10-2 victory in game three, securing the sweep. Next up for the Titans is a midweek contest at No. 12 Texas A&M and then a weekend series versus Washington at Goodwin Field. Cal State Fullerton is 2-4 against ranked opponents this year.

UCI Notches Win Over Top 25
UC Irvine picked up its first win over a nationally-ranked opponent last week with a 5-4 victory at Anteater Ballpark. The Anteaters next opportunity to face one of the nation's best wont come until conference play where UCI opens Big West action against No. 11 Cal State Fullerton.

LMU Takes On The Big West
By looking at West Coast Conference member Loyola Marymount, one would think it is part of the Big West Conference, seeing how it has played 10 of its first 17 games against Big West teams. Over that span, the Lions have posted a 7-4 mark. The Big West stretch continues for LMU this week when it plays No. 13 UC Irvine in a three-game series. The Lions then play their fourth weekend series against the Big West March 25-27 against Cal State Northridge. In all, LMU faces seven of the nine Big West schools and plays 21 of its 34 (62%) nonconference contests versus the Big West.

The Big West-heavy schedule might have something to do with LMU head coach Jason Gill and assistant coach Ted Silva, who both have tenures in the Big West. Gill and Silva acquired coaching stints on the Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine squads.

By An Inch
There have been a multitude of tightly-contested battles on the diamond this season for the Big West Conference. In fact, 36% of the games played have been decided by one run. The nine league schools hold a 23-23 mark in the one-run decisions.

Gillespie Earns 900th Win
A 5-3 win over Sacramento State on Saturday, March 12 handed UC Irvine Head Coach Mike Gillespie his 900th career victory. The fourth-year skipper of the Anteaters now owns a 901-526-2 record in his 23rd year of Division I coaching.

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 Coasts 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 States 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.

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).

Best Of The Big West
Of the nine current members in the Big West Conference, six of them have won the Big West title - Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and the most recent addition, UC Irvine, who won its first-ever title two years ago with a near perfect conference mark of 22-2.

Most Multi-Hit Games
Jordan Fox, UC Irvine - 10
Ryan Goetz, UC Riverside - 8
Matthew Carvutto, Pacific - 7
Jordan Fox, UC Irvine - 7
Tony Nix, UC Riverside - 7
Richy Pedroza, Cal State Fullerton - 7
Sean Williams, UC Santa Barbara - 7

Longest Hitting Streaks
Drew Hillman, UC Irvine - 11
Brett Morgan, UC Davis - 11
D.J. Crumlich, UC Irvine - 10
*Richy Pedroza, Cal State Fullerton - 10
Steven Keller, Cal State Northridge - 10
*Drew Hillman, UC Irvine - 9
Evan Busby, Cal Poly - 8
* - active streak

Big West Vs. Top 25
Cal Poly 1-0
Cal State Fullerton 2-4
Cal State Northridge 0-0
Long Beach State 5-6
UC Davis 0-2
UC Irvine 0-0
UC Riverside 0-1
UC Santa Barbara 0-1
Pacific 0-0

Live On The Net
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