No. 14 UCSB-No. 15 CSF Showdown In Central Coast
Big West Baseball Release - Week 9
• After two weeks of Big West action, No. 4 Cal Poly and UC Irvine are knotted in first place with a 5-1 record. Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State are third with a 2-1 mark and are followed by UC Riverside at 3-3.
This week all eyes are on the central coast for the second straight week as the 15th-ranked Titans visit No. 14 UC Santa Barbara. Last week the Gauchos suffered a tightly-contested, 2-1, series loss to nationally-ranked Cal Poly, with the two loses haveing been one-run decisions.
Nationally-ranked Cal Poly brings the conference’s second-best hitting percentage (.297) to Hawai’i as the Rainbow Warriors looks to get back to their winning ways. The Aggies of UC Davis entertain Long Beach State and UC Irvine hosts Cal State Northridge with Friday’s game airing live on ESPN3.
• Cal Poly continues to rank among the top five in the national polls with Baseball America awarding the Mustangs the highest ranking of fourth. UC Santa Barbara sits as high as 14th and Cal State Fullerton is right behind in 15th. UC Irvine can be found in the receiving votes category this week.
• 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 79-50 (.612) among its western opponents. The league owns a winning percentage against each individual conference.
• UC Irvine's Andrew Morales and UC Davis' Steven Patterson are two of 30 baseball student-athletes to be named as a candidate for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award®.
Current 'Eaters pitching coach, Daniel Bibona, was the first Anteater to win the award in 2010. Morales, a 2014 Big West scholar-athlete, became the only pitcher in UCI history to go undefeated on the mound, posting a 10-0 record last year.
An All-Big West Conference Second Team selection in his first season at the Divison I level in 2013, Patterson hit .324 with 31 runs scored, 12 doubles, and 33 RBIs, ranking among the top 10 in the league in average, assists, and turned double plays, while standing as the seventh-toughest batter to strikeout in the nation (one in every 20.4 at-bats).
• 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.
• A total of 19 Big West baseball games will be carried on ESPN3. All games will originate from Southern California member institutions Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Riverside. Every Big West team will make an appearance on the baseball schedule
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.
• 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 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.
Mustangs Hit The Road: Cal Poly closes out a season-long, 18-game homestand Tuesday with a nonconference matchup against Saint Mary’s. The Mustangs own an impressive 19-2 record at Baggett Stadium this season. Following the Mustangs-Gaels Showdown, Cal Poly plays its first road game since March 9 when it visits Hawai’i for its first road conference weekend series.
Record Crowd: In Sunday’s Cal Poly-UC Santa Barbara matinee, a season-high 2,489 fans walked through the Baggett Stadium turnstiles, 4th largest in school history.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
CSF Opens Conference With Series Win: Defending Big West Champion Cal State Fullerton won its conference-opening weekend series, winning two-of-three over UC Davis.
Pitching Dominance: So far this season the Titans pitching staff has produced a league-best 2.05 ERA. They are led by sophomore Thomas Eshelman’s 1.43 ERA in 63.0 innings of work. Given up just one walk this season, Eshleman currently ranks second in the nation in walks allowed per nine innings with a 0.14 mark.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Live On ESPN3: The Matadors make their TV debut Friday night at UC Irvine with first pitch on ESPN3 is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Balkan’s Career Performance: In Sunday’s contest at UC Riverside, senior Brett Balkan set a career high with three hits and drove in two runs to lead the Matadors to a 7--1 victory.
On the Mound: Brycen Rutherford is sporting a 1.84 ERA to rank eighth in the Big West Conference and has held his opponents to a sixth-best .208 batting average.
LONG BEACH STATE
Winning Ways: Long Beach State enters this week’s matchup at UC Davis coming off an impressive 2-1 series victory over No. 17 UCLA. The win over the Burins was LBSU’s second straight series win.
Buckley Reaches Milestone: A 4-0 victory over UCLA on Saturday awarded Head Coach Troy Buckley his 100th career victory. In four seasons he has produced a 101-96 mark.
On The Mound: Pitcher Andrew Rohrbach owns the league’s ninth-best ERA at 1.92.
Aggies Snap Losing Streak To Titans: UC Davis defeated nationally-ranked Cal State Fullerton in the series opener by a score of 3-1. It marks the first time the Aggies defeated the Titans since 2008, snapping a 16-game skid.
Hometown Treat: The Aggies, led by Adam Young’s stellar .388 batting average, host Long Beach State this weekend for their first home conference series. They are 7-4 when playing at Dobbins Field.
Gillespie Captures Conference Mark: A 15-8 victory to secure a series sweep over Hawai’i handed Head Coach Mike Gillespie his 100th Big West win. He becomes the 13th coach to eclipse the conference mark.
Untouchable: Friday-night starter Andrew Morales extended his shutout streak to 25.1 innings after an impressive 7.1 shutout-inning performance against Hawai’i. He currently ranks fourth in the country with a microscopic .45 earned run average.
UCR Secures Series Win: UC Riverside captured its first conference series of the season with a 2-1 win over Cal State Northridge to improve its conference record to 3-3.
How The Highlanders Stack Up: Thanks to solid hitting by Francisco Tellez (.396) and Nick Vilter (.363), the Highlanders rank third in the league with a .286 hitting percentage. Individually, Vilter paces the league with a .692 slugging percentage while Tellez owns the top spot in doubles with 11.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Tough Stretch: Gauchos lost the battle of the central coast last weekend, falling to No. 5 Cal Poly, 2-1, in the weekend series. They look to rebound this week when they host defending conference champion No. 15 Cal State Fullerton. UC Santa Barbara is 4-2 against ranked opponents this season.
Against The Best: UC Santa Barbara ranks among the best in the nation in stolen bases (4th-61), on-base percentage (12th-.400) and batting average (14th, .307). Individually, Joey Epperson sits third with a .462 batting average and second with a .544 slugging percentage.
Hawai’i Stumbles Against UC Irvine: After an impressive 2-1 series win over nationally-ranked UCSB to open conference play, UH was swept by UC Irvine on its home turf to drop to 2-4 in Big West action.
Powering Through The Conference: The Rainbow Warriors seem to have found their offense now that conference play has started. In conference only contests, Hawai’i ranks second in the league with a .308 batting average. That is a vast improvement over its overall batting average of .244, which ranks ninth in the Big West.