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Quest For The 2013 Big West Crown Begins Thursday

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13 BB Release-Week 7

3/25/2013

Big West At A Glance
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• The quest for the 2013 Big West Conference baseball championship begins this weekend.  Prior to the start of the season, No. 5 Cal State Fullerton was selected to successfully defend its Big West Conference title, according to 2013 Big West baseball preseason coaches poll.  In 2012, the Titans captured their 26th Big West Conference championship and 10th in the last 14 years after tallying a 17-7 league mark which sent the Titans to their 34th postseason appearance. 

The defending champions, who currently sit atop the Big West standings with a near-perfect 21-3 record, kickoff conference play hosting Pacific in a three-game series at Goodwin Field.  No. 21/23 Cal Poly (17-5) welcomes UC Davis (8-12) to Baggett Stadium, No. 21/22 UC Irvine (15-5) visits UC Riverside (10-9) and Cal State Northridge (10-12) and Long Beach State (9-15) are set to battle at Blair Field.   All matchups this week are being played in an usual Thursday-Saturday three-game series due to the Easter holiday.   

• The University of Hawai’i seems to have found its winning ways as it enters its first season competing in Big West Conference play.  After opening the year with a 1-15 mark, eight of those losses were against top-10 opponents, the Rainbow Warriors have won four of their last five outings, including two shutouts.  They kick off league action hosting the Gauchos (12-10) in a three-game conference series, Thursday-Saturday, and a single, nonconference scoring contest on Sunday, March 31.

• Following an impressive 5-0 mark last week, Cal State Fullerton cracked the top 5 in this week’s  Baseball America poll, its highest ranking of the 2013 season.  Cal Poly and UC Irvine continue to be ranked in the top 25 of a variety of baseball polls.  The Mustangs’ highest mark is 21st in the Collegiate Baseball poll and the Anteaters are ranked 21st in the NCBWA poll.

• UC Irvine has been nop-notch in all aspects of the game.  The Anteaters sit number one in the Big West statistics in batting average (.304) and fielding percentage (.991) and rank second in earned run average (2.66).  While it is a collective effort, a few individuals stand out when looking at the numbers.  Anteaters Connor Spencer and Ronnie Shaeffer sit one-three in batting average with  clips of .405 and .366.  Andrew Morales paces the UCI pitching staff with a 2.01 ERA and league-best six wins, while Shaeffer and Chris Rabago own a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

• Cal State Fullerton junior utility player Michael Lorenzen has added his name into the Big West record book for the second consecutive year.  Not even halfway through the 2013 season and the preseason All-American has already tallied eight saves, half of his 16-save total from 2012, to increase his career total to 24.  His 24 career saves has landed him in 10th place in the conference’s career records.  Last year he ranked fifth in the Big West annals for single-season saves (16), a feat he may match or surpass this season.

• 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. Head to ‘thisweek’ for weekly event schedules.