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Race To The Finish

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11 BB Release-Week 15


Race To The Finish
Two weeks left of the 2011 regular season and defending champion Cal State Fullerton is in the driver's seat with a league-leading 17-4 mark. UC Irvine sits second with a 13-5 mark and is followed by Cal Poly at 13-8. There is a three-way tie for fourth between Long Beach State, UC Riverside and UC Davis, all owning a 10-8 mark. In 2010, UC Davis finished eighth and Long Beach State ranked ninth and this year they find themselves fighting for the fourth spot.

The Titans take a break from conference play this week before closing out the season at Cal State Northridge. The Anteaters, winning eight of the last nine contests, have yet to face the Highlanders (5/20-22) and 49ers (5/27-29). Cal Poly, who is firing on all cylinders now that the injury bug is gone, plays its final conference series this weekend at Pacific and then visits Bakersfield for a season-ending three-game series.

Road Trippin'
Tuesday, May 17 marks the final home contest of the season for the Cal Poly Mustangs as they welcome Santa Clara to Baggett Stadium. Following the showdown with the Broncos, Cal Poly embarks on a seven-game road trip that includes weekend series at Pacific and Cal State Bakersfield. Cal Poly, looking to end the season on a strong note, has struggled on the road this season, logging a 5-14 mark.

Homeward Bound
Prior to last weekend's sweep by Cal Poly, UC Davis had strung together seven win over a nine-game span. Of the seven victories, five took place in the familiar confines of Dobbins Baseball Complex to improve its home record to 8-9. Fortunately for the Aggies, they play seven of their final eight contests in front of their hometown fans, starting off with a nonconference contest versus California Wednesday afternoon.

Ramirez Duo Rewriting Big West Annals
Nick Ramirez collected three saves last week, lifting his season total to a league-best 14 saves, which ties him for seventh all-time in the Big West. His 32 career saves also earns him a spot in the Big West record book - fifth. He is now two 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.

For the second straight year Noe Ramirez is leading the Titans' pitching staff and this year he is doing so in dominating fashion. Ramriez currently owns a 1.78 ERA in 75.2 inning pitched, ranking him sixth in single-season ERA in the Big West records. The junior from East Los Angeles, Calif., is holding his opposition to a league-leading 1.86 batting average. With eight wins under his belt, he is tied for first with Cal Polys Mason Radeke and UC Irvines Matt Summers.

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. A week later 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.

Power 'Eaters
The second place UC Irvine Anteaters seem to have the upper hand in the Big West Conference when it comes to the offensive side of the game. They currently lead the league in a multitude of statistical categories, including batting average (.299), runs scored (296), hits (472) and RBI (266). Individually, D.J. Crumlich owns the top spot in runs scored (46), while teammates Brian Hernandez and Drew Hillman hold the top spot in hits (69) and RBI (42). Hernandez is also knotted in second place in batting average with a .356 clip.

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 38-28 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.

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.

Trio Makes Midseason Watch Lists
At the start of May, 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 nations 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.

Crumlich's 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.

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).

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 team's 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 - 23
Matthew Carvutto, Pacific - 20
Trevor Hairgrove, UC Riverside - 20
Dustin Torchio, Pacific - 19
Sean Williams, UC Santa Barbara - 19

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 8-17
UC Davis 1-8
UC Irvine 2-3
UC Riverside 1-4
UC Santa Barbara 2-9
Pacific 3-5
Total 29-59

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 can't make it to the gym or the field, you can still catch all the action on BigWest.TV!