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Big West Baseball Hits Final Countdown

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11 BB Release-Week 16


Final Countdown
The 2011 Big West Baseball Championship is Cal State Fullerton's to lose. With the final week of the regular season upon us, the Titans (17-4) own a two-game lead over second place UC Irvine (15-6). That means if Cal State Fullerton, winning eight of the last nine contests, is victorious in just one contest in its three-game series versus Cal State Northridge, who is 5-16 in the Big West, it will claim at least a share of its 25th conference title. If the Titans win the series, they lock out UC Irvine to grab sole possession of the crown. The Anteaters battle Long Beach State in their final home series of the year.

Cal Poly, who concluded its conference schedule last week, currently sits third with a 15-9 record.

All Eyes On Anteater Ballpark
The matchup of the week takes place at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark with the nationally-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters entertaining the Long Beach State 49ers. Both teams are hoping to end the season on a strong note, making a final push towards postseason play. With an RPI of 41, UC Irvine seems to be on the inside track for their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, while Long Beach State looks to be on the outside of the bubble with a 77 RPI (RPI is according to Boyd's World). A series win for either team would be a positive addition to their resume. The Anteaters hold a 59-45-1 series lead over Long Beach State and recorded a series sweep last season at Blair Field.

2011 NCAA Selection Show
The 16 regional site selections will be announced at at approximately 12:30 p.m. (PDT), Sunday, May 29. The site selections will also be shown on the BottomLine of the ESPN Networks throughout the evening. The 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.

Mustangs Explode In Final Conference Game Of Season
Held to just four runs and 10 hits in the first two games of the series versus Pacific, Cal Poly exploded for seven runs and nine hits in the first four innings Sunday, belted four home runs in the seventh inning and coasted to a 21-0 victory over the Tigers in the finale of a Big West Conference baseball series at Klein Family Field. Cal Poly produced season highs for runs (21) and hits (22) and has won five of its last six games, earning its sixth series win of the year. The 21 runs scored by the Mustangs are the most by any Big West team this year.

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 39-30 mark in the one-run nonconference decisions. Pacing the conference in one-run decisions is Long Beach, playing 17 tightly-contested battles. The 49ers have won 13 down-to-the-wire contests, three in extra-innings.

Statistically speaking
Not surprising, the top two teams on the leaderboard are also holding the top spots in the Big West statistics. League-leading Cal State Fullerton owns a conference-best 2.79 earned run average while UC Irvine sits second with a 2.97 ERA. On the offensive side of the ball, the two teams flip-flop with the Anteaters registering a .301 batting average and closely followed by the Titans .286 clip.

Ramirez Duo Rewriting Big West Annals
Nick Ramirez has lifted 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. Ramirez currently owns a 1.76 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 .184 batting average. With eight wins under his belt, he is tied for second with Cal Poly's Mason Radeke. In conference play, Ramirez is even more impressive, registering an astonishing 1.07 ERA.

CSUNs Roberts Pitched Lights-Out
Vincent Roberts allowed just four hits en route to the first complete game shutout thrown by a Matador in over five years as Cal State Northridge blanked the Long Beach State Dirtbags 2-0 at Blair Field on Friday night. Roberts' masterpiece was the first such game pitched for Northridge since Edwin Quirarte accomplished the feat on April 30, 2006 at UC Santa Barbara. Roberts faced 34 batters and needed just 95 pitches to give the Matadors their first road conference win of the season.

Pill Named Dick Howser Semifinalist
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, working in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the College Baseball Foundation, released the list of semifinalists for the 2011 Dick Howser Trophy, given to the top player in collegiate baseball, and Cal State Fullerton's Tyler Pill made the cut.

In 82.2 inning pitched, Pill owns a league-best 91 strikeouts and sits fourth in ERA at 2.29. A two-way player, who spends time in the outfield, Pill is seventh in the Big West in on-base percentage (.425). He also ranks fourth on the Titans' squad with a .321 batting average and fifth in hits (42) and RBI (22).

This year's 25th anniversary of the Dick Howser Trophy presented by Easton Foundations will be made even more special by the awarding of this years honor at TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, the new home of the College World Series. The award will be presented on Tuesday, June 21 at 10:00 a.m. CT, prior to the fourth day of the 2011 CWS.

Long Beach States Jered Weaver received the honor back in 2004.

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.

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 2-6
UC Santa Barbara 2-9
Pacific 3-5
Total 30-61

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!