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Cal State Fullerton Continues To Lead Conference Race

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11 bb release-Week 13


Conference's Depleted Offense
The effects of the new bats has been a hot topic all season, and for good reason. Most offenses seemed to have lost some power, which holds true in the Big West Conference. After 120 conference-only contests, 631 runs have been scored, compared to 765 during the same time frame in 2010. The nine teams are averaging 5.3 runs per game, over a run less than last years average of 6.4. Forty-three home runs have been recorded so far, where as 90 blasts left the park in 2010.

LBSU Continues Treacherous Schedule
As if Long Beach State hasn't played a tough schedule already, it has four more contests against ranked opponents on tap this week. The 49ers, who were slated to play the nations toughest schedule (according to Boyd's World), have already participated in 21 games against ranked opponents and own a 7-14 record during that span. The most recent encounter was a three-game series last weekend at No. 6 Arizona State where Long Beach State went 0-3. The 49ers looks to rebound this week with a midweek contest versus No. 13 UCLA and a weekend series at No. 9 Cal State Fullerton. The 49ers and Titans opened the 2011 season with a nonconference series that Cal State Fullerton won, 2-1.

Matadors Notch Series Win
Cal State Northridge recorded its first conference series win of the season last weekend against UC Santa Barbara. The Matadors shutdown the Gauchos in a 4-0 victory Friday, snapping a six-game skid. Friday's shutout was a first for UC Santa Barbara since a scoreless encounter with UC Irvine back on May 14, 2010. Cal State Northridge carried its momentum in to Saturday's contest, downing the Gauchos, 4-2. The Matadors were unable to complete the sweep, falling to the UCSB, 5-1, in the final game of the series.

Highlanders Swept Away
UC Riverside entered last week having won eight of the last nine contests and looked to be coming on strong when it counted most. But all that changed when league-leading No. 10 Cal State Fullerton came into town with its broom in hand. In a tightly-contested series, the Titans handed the Highlanders their first sweep of the 2011 season by scores of 4-1, 5-3 and 3-2. Next up for UC Riverside is a five-game road trip that kicks off Tuesday, May 10 at San Diego, followed by a weekend series at Cal State Northridge.

Ramirez Climbing Big West Annals
Nick Ramirez collected three saves last week, lifting his season total to a league-best 12 saves. His 30 career saves places him fifth in the Big West record book. He is now four saves shy of claiming the fourth spot, which is currently occupied by former Titan Chad Cordero (2001-03). The junior from Anaheim, Calif., tallied 11 saves during his sophomore season and seven during his freshman campaign.

The Big 3-0
Back on May 1, league-leading Cal State Fullerton became the first Big West team to notch its 30th win of the season. Over the weekend, UC Irvine joined the ranks as it collected it 30th win with a 6-2 victory over Cal Poly Friday evening. This is the eighth consecutive season the Anteaters have reached the 30-win threshold.

By An Inch
There have been a multitude of tightly-contested battles on the diamond this season for the Big West Conference. The nine league schools hold a 37-26 mark in the one-run nonconference decisions. Pacing the conference in one-run decisions is Long Beach, playing 15 tightly-contested battles. The 49ers, who rank among the top 10 in the nation in most one-run decision games played, have won 11 down-to-the-wire contests, three in extra-innings.

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.

Trio Makes Midseason Watch Lists
Last week, the College Baseball Hall of Fame released the midseason watch lists for the Wallace Award, the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award and the Pitcher of the Year award and the Big West Conference had representation on all three lists. The Wallace Award recognizes the nation's top shortstop and the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, recognizes a player who makes an impact both on the mound and at the plate.

UC Irvine shortstop DJ Crumlich made the cut for the Wallace Award, along with 24 players from 14 conferences. The ACC and SEC lead the pack with four selections each. Offensively, the junior from Irvine, Calif., owns a league-leading 42 runs scored along with 23 RBIs.

Crumlichs teammate Brian Hernandez was tabbed one of the nation's top 25 two-way players and was joined by Cal State Fullertons Nick Ramirez. Hernandez, who paces the Big West Conference with 63 hits, ranks sixth with a .350 hitting percentage. He also holds a 3.18 ERA, with nine saves and 3-1 record in 22.2 innings pitched.

Ramirez, who also received a nod on the Pitcher of the Year award watch list, has proven his power at the plate, blasting a league-best eight home runs this season while scoring a third-best 34 runs. On the bump, the junior southpaw owns a miniscule 0.93 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched and is tied for first in the Big West with a league-high 12 saves.

Both awards will be presented on July 3 in Lubbock, Texas, as part of the College Baseball Hall of Fames Night of Champions.

Back on April 21, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced the midseason watch list for the seventh annual NCBWA Stopper of the Year award, which is given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. Included in the elite field were three representatives from the Big West Conference - Brian Hernandez (UC Irvine), Eddie Magallon (Long Beach State) and Nick Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton).

2011 NCAA Selection Show
The 16 regional sites/hosts will be announced on Sunday, May 29 and the 2011 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship 64-team field, with first-round regional pairings and site assignments, will be revealed in a live, half-hour telecast on ESPN at 9:30 a.m. (PDT), Monday, May 30. The regionals take place June 3-6 and the super regional games are played June 10-13. The College World Series runs June 18-June 28/29 in Omaha, Neb.

CSUN 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. Since Buckley came to LBSU 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.

Most Multi-Hit Games
Brian Hernandez, UC Irvine - 21
Matthew Carvutto, Pacific - 19
Trevor Hairgrove, UC Riverside - 19
Sean Williams, UC Santa Barbara - 19
Dustin Torchio, Pacific - 18
Brian Martin, Pacific - 17
J.J. Thompson, Cal Poly - 17

Longest Hitting Streaks
Adam Barry, Cal State Northridge - 15
Josh Simms, Pacific - 15
Trevor Hairgrove, UC Riverside - 14
Mike Marjama, Long Beach State - 13
* - active streak

Big West Vs. Top 25
Cal Poly 6-4
Cal State Fullerton 6-7
Cal State Northridge 0-3
Long Beach State 7-14
UC Davis 1-8
UC Irvine 2-3
UC Riverside 1-4
UC Santa Barbara 1-6
Pacific 3-5
Total 27-53

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!