Play Ball: First Pitch Slated For Friday
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13 BB Release-Week 1
Big West At A Glance
• Cal State Fullerton was selected to successfully defend its Big West Conference title this season, according to the ten conference coaches that voted on the 2013 Big West Baseball Preseason Coaches Poll. The Titans earned nine first-place votes en route to a total of 99 points and was followed by UC Irvine, who collected the remaining first place vote and posted an overall 82 point total. Rounding out the top three after securing 75 points was Long Beach State. Cal Poly's 68 points earned them the fourth slot, UC Santa Barbara finished fifth with 58 points and was closely followed by newcomer Hawai’i with 57 points. UC Riverside collected 38 points to nab the seventh slot, Cal State Northridge picked up 34 points to slide into eighth and UC Davis (25) and Pacific (14) closed out the 10-team field.
• Defending the Title: The Titans, looking for their fourth straight conference title, return a very experienced squad from the 2012 season, including All-American Michael Lorenzen and Big West Freshman of the Year, Matt Chapman. In addition, all-conference first team 2012 selections Richy Pedroza and Carlos Lopez are expected to return to the Titan lineup along with second-team pick Anthony Hutting.
On the mound, right-hander Grahamm Wiest (5-5, 3.12) returns as well as Big West second team pick Willie Kuhl. The right-hander made 18 relief appearances in 2012, striking out 36 in 26 and 2/3 innings. In addition, Titan fans will get the opportunity to watch Cal State Fullerton’s freshman class, which was ranked the No. 23 recruiting class in the nation, according to Baseball America’s annual evaluation.
• Long Beach State, notorious for playing one of the toughest schedules on a yearly basis, kicks off the 2013 season visiting the Music City to take on second-ranked Vanderbilt in a three-game series. Hawai’i is also facing top-notch competition out of the gates, as they welcome No. 6 Oregon to Les Murakami Stadium for a weekend series. UC Riverside is the final Big West team to face a Top 25 opponent this week. The Highlanders tackle No. 6/10 Oregon State in game three of the Palm Springs Tournament.
• In the offseason, Baseball America tabbed UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton as having two of the top 25 best recruiting classes in the country. The Gauchos, under second-year coach Andrew Checketts, landed in the recruiting class rankings for the first time ever, checking in at No. 12, while the Titans grabbed the 23rd spot. The Big West duo also made an appearance in the Collegiate Baseball’s Top 25 recruiting classes with CSF sitting 17th and UCSB 18th.
• A few players have received some preseason recognition from the major college baseball publications. Cal State Fullerton junior Michael Lorenzen was touted Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball Preseason Player of the year as well as earning a spot on multiple preseason All-America First Team lists. UC Santa Barbara’s Andrew Vasquez received preseason All-America third team honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCWBA).
The most recent accolade was handed out to Lorenzen and UC Irvine’ Race Parmenter just last week, as they were named to the NCBWA 2013 Preseason Stopper of the Year Award Watch Lis.
• Despite just one full season as head coach, UCSB Baseball’s Andrew Checketts is quickly being recognized as a rising star in collegiate baseball. Already named a “Coach on the Rise” by Perfect Game, Checketts was named to Baseball America’s “Top 10 College Head Coaches Under 40” list early last month. The publication cited Checketts’s eye for pitching talent and knack for player development as his main strengths.
• For the eighth year, institutions will air all home and conference matches on BigWest.TV. For the 2012-13 season, all BigWest.TV events will air free of charge. Head to thisweek for weekly event schedules.
Big West.TV brings together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West’s 10 member institutions. Now in its eighth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including 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 Championships.