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Light Week As Players Prep For Finals

3/18/2014

Big West Baseball Release - Week 6

BIG WEST
• This week’s nonconference-scoring, weekend series between Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton at Goodwin Field kicks off the ESPN3 Big West baseball portion of its schedule.  The series is part of the Big West’s partnership with ESPN to bring as many as 60 Big West events to ESPN3 utilizing full ESPN production standards.  The broadcast will be produced by the Big West’s mobile production unit built in consultation with ESPN.
 
ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Xbox, Apple TV and Roku. It is available in more than 85 million households nationwide at no additional cost to fans who receive their high speed internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated provider.

Calling this weekend’s contests is analyst Jose Tolentino, while Trent Schlom and Sam Farber share play-by-play duties.  Schlom will cover Friday night’s action and Farber will by the voice of reason on Saturday and Sunday.

• If Cal State Fullerton is able to win at least three of its four scheduled contests this week, Head Coach Rick Vanderhook will earn his 100th win at the helm of the Titans Program.  In just his third season at Fullerton, the two-time Big West Coach of the Year has registered a 97-38 mark.

• In the latest Baseball America poll, the Big West Conference has three schools represented in the Top 15. Fueled by a 6-0 performance last week, Cal Poly vaulted to No. 7 in this week’s poll, the highest ranking in school history.   The Mustangs are off to the program’s second-best 20-game start in its 20-year Division I history at 17-3. Cal State Fullerton (10-7) is ranked ninth and UC Santa Barbara (13-3) own the 15th slot.

• Cal Poly is a perfect 10-0 at home this season.  If you include last season, where the Mustangs closed out the year with a seven-game home win streak, that bumps their home win streak to an impressive 17 contests.

• The Big West Conference continues to dominate the other west coast conferences (Mountain West, Pac 12, WAC and West Coast), posting an overall record of 67-40 (.626) among its western opponents.  The league owns a .500 or better winning percentage against each individual conference.

• The Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine baseball rivalry will be featured this spring on Prime Ticket.  The Titans and Anteaters play the final two games of their Big West baseball series from Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark on Saturday, May 17 at 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 18 at 1:00 p.m.
  
• Cal State Fullerton and Hawai‘i will play two games on ESPNU in late April, as ESPN announced its college baseball broadcast schedule last week. ESPNU will broadcast back-to-back contests from Goodwin Field on Saturday, April 26 at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m.

• The Cal State Northridge Matadors announced the hiring of Head Coach Greg Moore over the summer.  Moore, recently named by Baseball America as one of the Top 10 Assistant Coaches in college baseball, spent the past three seasons as the associate head coach at the University of San Francisco, where he oversaw pitching, admissions, community service and summer placement.  Moore becomes the ninth head coach in Matador history as the program enters its 55th year of competition in 2013-14. 
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CAL POLY
Streakin’ ‘Stangs:
Cal Poly enters the week riding a season-best, seven-game win streak.  Over the span, Cal Poly outscored its opponents 45-17. This week the Mustangs entertain California in a four-game series that runs Friday-Monday.

Imhof On Fire: Pitcher Matt Imhof is having an amazing junior season as he collects his second consecutive Collegiate Baseball Player of the Week honors.  He is running away with the top spot in the conference for strike outs with 55.  In his last two appearances he has notched a career-best 15 and 14 strike outs.

CAL STATE FULLERTON
SoCal Series Showdown:
Cal State Fullerton captured its fourth series victory last week against Saint Mary’s.  This week the Titans host rival Long Beach State in a three-game, nonconference-scoring series that will be broadcast live on ESPN3.

Titans Don’t Want The Extra Help: The Titans have played a league-high four extra-inning contests this season, including two just last week.  Unfortunately the Titans have struggled when games rollover to extra frames, producing a 1-3 mark.

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE

Pitching Staff Carries Team:
A pair of midweek contests is on tap for the Matadors’ light week of competition. Cal State Northridge entertains CSU Bakersfield Tuesday and Stony Brook Wednesday with both games starting at 3:00 p.m. 

Strength At The Plate: Powering the offense is junior Nick Blasser, who is hitting a .400 clip to rank fourth in the Big West Conference.  Teammate junior Ryan Raslowsky ranks eighth in the league with a team-high 26 hits.


altLONG BEACH STATE

On The Road Again:
Long Beach State embarks on a nine-game road trip that includes a three-game, nonconference-scoring showdown at Cal State Fullerton that will be aired on ESPN3.  The Dirtbags are 3-3 on the road this season.

Long Beach Leaders:  Johnny Bekakis paces LBSU with a .345 batting average while Garrett Hampson tops the team with 24 hits and 14 RBI.  On the mound, both Nick Sabo and Andrew Rohrbach own 2-1 records with Sabo posting a 2.14 ERA and Rohrbach close behind at 2.20.


UC DAVIS
Aggies Own Winning Record: 
UC Davis moved above .500 with a 4-1 performance last week.  The Aggies (11-9) three-game win streak will be put on hold this week as they are idle due to finals.

Power Play: Senior Adam Young ranks second in the Big West with an explosive .460 batting average.  He is followed by junior Kevin Barker, who sits sixth in the league with a .390 clip.  Barker also finds himself tied for third with 30 hits.


UC IRVINE
‘Eaters Return Home Looking For Success:
After a less than desired outcome (1-3) on the road last week, UCI returns home for the next nine contests.  Up first is a midweek showdown with Pepperdine, followed by a three-game series with Grand Canyon.

The Untouchables: Andrew Morales continues to pace the Big West with a miniscule 0.78 ERA in 34.2 innings pitched.  He is tied for third with 33 strikeouts.  Closer Sam Moore sits atop the leaderboard with nine saves.


UC RIVERSIDE
Highlanders Idle After Successful Weekend:
A 3-1 record last week boosted UC Riverside’s record to 11-9.  Winning three of the last four contests, the Highlanders are idle this week due to finals.

UCR Pacing The League: The Highlanders are currently second in the Big West with a .299 batting average.  They are led by Francisco Tellez, who is hitting .424 and owns a .505 on-base percentage.  He tops the charts in both hits (36) and RBI (25).  Teammate Nick Vilter owns a conference-best run total of 21, while his league-best eight home runs ties him for third in the nation.

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UC SANTA BARBARA
Gauchos Gain National Recognition:
UC Santa Barbara continues to climb up the national rankings as the Gauchos find themselves ranked No. 15 in the Baseball America poll.

One Of The Nation’s Best: Joey Epperson’s explosive .484 batting average ranks him second in the nation.  The senior outfielder also ranks fifth in toughest to strike out (62.0).  Hitting .309 as a team, the Gauchos sit 18th in the nation.


HAWAI'I
Hawai’i Earns Top 10 Win:
Hawai’i (8-11) rounds out an eight-game homestand hosting Alabama-Birmingham in a four-game series running Thursday-Sunday.

King Of The Hill: Matt Cooper continues to lead the Rainbow Warriors pitching staff with a 1.31 ERA, good enough for seventh in the conference.  He also ranks sixth in strike outs with 30.

Trusted Trio: Three players have started in all 20 of Hawai’i’s contests this year - Kaeo Aliviado, Jordan Richartz and Austin Wobrock.

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