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Big West's First Pitch

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11 BB Release-Week 7


Big West's First Pitch
The 2011 Big West Conference baseball season gets underway this weekend. Defending champion and nationally-ranked Cal State Fullerton travels to Northern California to face the UC Davis Aggies in a three-game series. The Titans have won eight of the last nine contests, while UC Davis has struggled to find success, winning just three games.

Joining the Titans up north is Long Beach State, who tackles the Pacific Tigers at Klein Family Field. The 49ers are already battle-tested, having played 17 of their first 23 contests against ranked opponents.

Cal Poly welcomes UC Riverside to Baggett Stadium for a three-game series while, UC Irvine, who suffered its first series loss of the year last weekend, hosts Cal State Northridge.

The Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara must wait one more week before entering conference play. On tap for the Gauchos this week is a midweek contest versus Loyola Marymount and a weekend series at San Jose State.

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).

Anteaters Offense Halted, Drop First Series Of The Season
The UC Irvine Anteaters concluded the nonconference portion of their schedule with a season-high four-game losing skid, falling to 14-6 but still maintaining the top spot in the league. UC Irvine dropped a 4-3 midweek contest to UNLV before suffering its first sweep of the year to the hands of the Gonzaga Bulldogs. UC Irvine, who leads the league in runs scored, only managed to cross home plate once in the Gonzaga series. The Anteaters fell to the Bulldogs by scores of 4-1, 3-0 and 3-0.

Prior to last week, UC Irvine had only lost two games this season. With last week's results, the Anteaters took a dive in the latest baseball poll with their highest ranking is 19th in the USA Today/ESPN poll.

Santa Barbara Ends OSU's Streak
On Friday evening, UC Santa Barbara did what no other baseball team has done so far this year, score against Oregon State starting pitcher Sam Gaviglio. Gaviglio, carried a 38.2 consecutive scoreless inning streak into Friday's game, gave up two runs against the Gauchos. Unfortunately the Beavers' offense was too much for the Gauchos as Oregon State went on to defeat UC Santa Barbara 6-3.

Titans Dominating The Mound
Boasting three pitchers in the Big West Conference's top 10 in earned run average, it is no surprise that Cal State Fullerton leads the conference with a 2.66 ERA. Jake Floethe holds a league-best 1.89 ERA and is followed by teammate Tyler Pill (2.15) in the fourth slot. Rounding out the trio is Noe Ramirez, who owns the eighth-best earned run average of 2.36.

Closer Nick Ramirez is also sporting an impressive 1.04 ERA in eight appearances. His five saves ties him with Long Beach State's Eddie Magallon for first in the conference.

Going, Going, Not Gone
There has been many discussions on whether the new bats have impacted the game of college baseball. The saying "numbers dont lie" could come in play regarding this particular situation. Last season Cal State Fullerton averaged one home run per game (65) to lead the league. This year, with 23 games completed, the Titans have only managed to blast five long bombs. Cal Poly, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara join Cal State Fullerton in the lack of explosiveness department. The only team that seems to have found some rhythm are the Cal State Northridge Matadors, who pace the Big West with 11 homers. Last year the Matadors tied for third with 49 home runs.

By An Inch
There have been a multitude of tightly-contested battles on the diamond this season for the Big West Conference. In fact, 30% of the games played have been decided by one run. The nine league schools hold a 31-26 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.

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. 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.

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
Matthew Carvutto, Pacific - 10
Richy Pedroza, Cal State Fullerton - 10
Sean Williams, UC Santa Barbara - 9
Ridge Carpenter, Cal State Northridge - 9
Ryan Goetz, UC Riverside - 8
Brian Hernandez, UC Irvine - 8
Tony Nix, UC Riverside - 8
Trevor Whyte, UC Santa Barbara - 8

Longest Hitting Streaks
Drew Hillman, UC Irvine - 11
Brett Morgan, UC Davis - 11
Matthew Carvutto, Pacific - 10*
D.J. Crumlich, UC Irvine - 10
Jordan Leyland, UC Irvine - 10
Richy Pedroza, Cal State Fullerton - 10
Steven Keller, Cal State Northridge - 10
* - active streak

Big West Vs. Top 25
Cal Poly, 2-1
Cal State Fullerton, 3-6
Cal State Northridge, 0-0
Long Beach State, 7-10
UC Davis, 0-3
UC Irvine, 0-0
UC Riverside, 0-1
UC Santa Barbara, 1-3
Pacific, 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!