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No. 1 Cal Poly Visits LBSU; UH-CSF Showdown On ESPNU/ESPN3

4/22/2014

Big West Baseball Release - Week 11

BIG WEST
• In the latest Collegiate Baseball poll, the Cal Poly Mustangs reached the No. 1 spot for the first time in school history, which also marks the second Big West team to own the coveted top spot this season.  Cal State Fullerton opened the 2014 season ranked No. 1 in both the Collegiate Baseball and USA Today polls. 

Before this season, Cal Poly’s highest ranking since moving to Division I prior to the 1995 season was No. 12 by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball after jumping to a 17-4 start in 2009. The Mustangs went on to achieve their first Division I postseason playoff berth.

Cal Poly currently paces the Big West Conference with an 11-1 record while owning an overall mark of 34-5.  THe Mustangs' .872 winning percentage ranks them second in the nation, trailing only Louisiana-Lafayette's .878 (36-5) mark.  This week the Mustangs visit Long Beach State, who is 7-7 against the Top 25 this season and is coming off a strong 2-1 series win over No. 17 UC Santa Barbara.
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• The Hawai’i at Cal State Fullerton series will be broadcast live on the ESPN family of networks this weekend.  Friday’s contest will be aired on ESPN3 with first pitch slated for 7:00 p.m. 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.   Both teams are looking to redeem themselves from series losses last week as CSF was swept by then-ranked No. 3 Cal Poly and the Rainbow Warriors lost 2-1 to Cal State Northridge.

• 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 86-64 (.573) among its western opponents.  The league owns a .500-or-better winning percentage against each individual conference.

• USA Baseball released its 50-man midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list last week and five Big West Conference student-athletes made the elite list.  Cal State Fullerton landed two representatives on the list with sophomore pitcher Thomas Eshelman and junior outfielder J.D. Davis.  Representing Cal Poly was junior southpaw Matt Imhof and senior pitcher Andrew Morales showcased UC Irvine’s talent.  Senior outfielder Joey Epperson from UC Santa Barbara rounded out the quintet.

• 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 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 Division 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.

• 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.   

• 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.

• 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.

Through the Big West’s new mobile production facility, each game will be produced by the Conference utilizing full ESPN production standards, including graphics, replay and on-air crew. It is the first fully operational mobile production unit of its kind that expands upon what ESPN Emerging Technology has already done at the institutional level.

Every game on ESPN’s platforms will also be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, on Apple TV and Roku to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
  

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Mustangs Hit The Road:
Cal Poly, riding a 10-game win streak hosts San Jose State on Tuesday before embarking on a seven-game road trip.  The Mustangs, 11-3 away from Baggett Stadium, visit Long Beach State for their weekend series.

Mathias Powers Mustangs:
Cal Poly currently paces the Big West and ranks 18th in the country with a .302 batting average.  The Mustangs are lead by Mark Mathias, who recently eclipsed the .400-mark in batting average to rank second in the league and 12th in the nation with a .404 clip.


CAL STATE FULLERTON

CSF Struggles Continue: Cal State Fullerton dropped its second straight conference series to fall to 3-6 in the Big West.  The Titans find themselves sitting sixth in the Big West standings as they prepare for a Hawai’i series that will be televised on ESPNU/ESPN3.

Rare Occurrence:
Cal State Fullerton enters the week riding a five-game skid, a sight that hasn’t happened since the 1991 squad posted five-straight losses.  The Titans only posted five-or-more loses one other time back in 1983 when they suffered six consecutive loses. Cal State Fullerton was not a member of the Big West at that time.


CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE

V is for Victory:
A 2-1 series win over Hawai’i awarded Cal State Northridge its first Big West series win of the season and the Matadors’ third series of the 2014 season.

Keel Displays Career Performance:
Junior Jerry Keel played a large part in the Matadors’ series win last week, as he tossed a career-best 10 strikeouts in 8.2 innings of work to lead CSUN to a 2-1 win over Hawai’i to clinch the series.

Against The Best:
The Matadors battle their first ranked-opponent in over a month this week when they visits No. 15 TCU.  They are 0-4 against the nation’s best.

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LONG BEACH STATE

LBSU Hosts Nation’s Best:
In the midst of a home stretch that features 11 of 12 contests at Blair Field, Long Beach State entertains No. 1 Cal Poly after a brief road trip to  San Diego Monday night.  The Dirtbags are 7-7 against ranked opponents this season and have won series against No. 17 UCLA and No. 17 UC Santa Barbara.

Frye Extends Streak:
With the 1-0 victory over the Gauchos on Friday night, Josh Frye extended his scoreless inning streak to 25 after tossing his first complete-game shutout.


UC DAVIS

Aggies Return To Halt Skid: 
Last week UC Davis was swept in a weekend series for the second time this season, dropping  all three contests at UC Riverside.  This week the Aggies face Saint Mary’s in a midweek showdown before entertaining UC Irvine, who is receiving votes in the national polls, in a weekend matchup.

Stone To The Rescue:
  Closer Zach Stone owns the league’s third-best saves total with eight, which currently places him 24th in the nation.


UC IRVINE
Moore Eyeing Big West Record:
Closer Sam Moore recorded another save last week to bump his season total to a nation-best 16, placing him sixth all-time in the Big West annals.  One more save and it will tie him for third with former ‘Eaters Eric Pettis (2008, 2009) and Blair Erickson (2004).  Long Beach State’s Gabe Gonzalez (1995) owns the Big West single-season save record with 20.

UCI Resumes Conference Play: Following a weekend series with SDSU, UC Irvine, who sits second in the league with an 8-1 mark, returns to Big West play with a trip to UC Davis.

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UC RIVERSIDE

Hot Bats End Skid:
The bats were hot last week for UC Riverside as it snapped a six-game losing streak with a three-game sweep of UC Davis.  The Highlanders combined for 23 runs in the series. Nick Vilter led the charge with five runs scored to bump his season total to 30, tying him with teammate Joe Chavez for third in the league.

UC Riverside Battles No. 25 UC Santa Barbara:
The Highlanders have won two of their three Big West series to hold steading in third place with a 6-3 record.  This week they visit No. 25 UC Santa Barbara (5-7).


UC SANTA BARBARA

Gauchos Narrowly Miss Series Win:
No. 25 UC Santa Barbara dropped its third conference series last week by the slimmest of margins, dropping to fifth in the standings with a 5-7 record.  All three contests against Long Beach State were determined by one-run, unfortunately UCSB came out on the losing end of the first two contests.  The Dirtbags edged the Gauchos, 3-2 and 1-0, before the Gauchos salvaged game three by a score of 2-1.  In 12 conference contests, all but one game have been decided by two runs or less, with the Gauchos posting a 5-6 mark over that span.


HAWAI'I
Hawai’i On The Small Screen:
Hawai’i closes out a seven-game road trip with a Tuesday contest at USC and a weekend series at Cal State Fullerton, who dropped out of the national polls last week.  All three contests at CSF are set to air on ESPNU and/or ESPN3.

Back In The Win Column:
The Rainbow Warriors snapped an eight-game skid in the final game of the CSUN series last week with a 9-1 victory.  Hawai’i is currently tied for eighth in the league with a 3-9 mark.