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First Place No. 20 UC Irvine Hosts No. 24 UC Santa Barbara

4/29/2014

Big West Baseball Release - Week 12

BIG WEST

• Fueled by a sweep over UC Davis, combined with a 2-1 series loss for Cal Poly, UC Irvine jumped to the top spot of the standings with an impressive 11-1 mark.  Cal Poly drops to second at 12-3 while Long Beach State and UC Riverside are tied for third at 7-5.

altThis week the 20th-ranked Anteaters entertain No. 24 UC Santa Barbara, who is coming off a 2-1 series win over UC Riverside.  Friday’s first pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. and will broadcast on ESPN3.

Another notable matchup this week is the SoCal clash between Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, who knocked off No. 1 Cal Poly last week at Blair field.  The two teams met earlier this year in a nonconference scoring series with the Titans coming out on top 2-1.

Coming off their first series loss of the season, the third-ranked Cal Poly Mustangs continue their seven-game road trip at UC Riverside this weekend.  Sunday’s matinee will be featured live on ESPN3.

• Closer Sam Moore recorded three saves last week bumping his season total to a nation-best 19 to set a new UC Irvine record and place him second all-time in the Big West annals.  The Rancho Palo Verdes, Calif., native needs just one more save to tie Long Beach State’s Gabe Gonzalez (1995) for the Big West single-season save record with 20.

• The Big West Conference flooded a pair of midseason watch lists that were announced by the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Five of the 47 pitchers listed on the National Pitcher of the Year midseason watch list are Big West student-athletes, making it the third-highest conference represented.  Cal Poly duo Matt Imhof and Casey Bloomquist are joined by a pair of Anteaters - Andrew Morales and Sam Moore - and Cal State Fullerton’s Thomas Eshelman.

Making the cut for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year award are Cal Poly’s Peter Van Gansen, Long Beach State’s Garrett Hampson and UC Santa Barbara’s Peter Maris.  The ACC nabbed six selections and was followed by SEC with five, the Big 12 with four and the Big West with three.

• The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) announced its mid-season watch list for the 10th Annual NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award and four Big West student-athletes were among the 50-player list.  Representing the Big West Conference is UC Irvine’s Sam Moore, Cal Poly’s Reed Reilly, UC Davis’ Zach Stone and UC Santa Barbara’s Dillon Tate.

• 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 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 POLY
Rocky Road: Long Beach State was too much for Cal Poly to handle last week as it, not only snapped a season-long 12-game win streak, but posted its first back-to-back losses of the season.  In the process, the Dirtbags handed the Mustangs their first series loss of the year.

Imhof Reaches Triple Digits:
Friday-night starter Matt Imhof continues to lead the nation with a 101 strikeouts.

Winning Ways: The Mustangs own the nation’s second-highest winning percentage with a .837 clip.


CAL STATE FULLERTON

Titans Need More Time: Three of Cal State Fullerton’s four contests last week went into extra innings, lifting its season total to a school record nine extra-inning contests and registering a 4-5 mark over that span.

A Look Back: With a 16-inning, 2-1 loss to Fresno State last Wednesday, Cal State Fullerton dropped its sixth-straight contest to tie a school record.  The rebounded over the weekend and swept Hawai’i to mark the Titans’ first series sweep since they downed No. 3 Oregon back in March.


CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE

Looking for a ‘W’: A 0-3 performance last weekend at No. 15 TCU extended Cal State Northridge’s losing streak to five.  The Matadors look to snap the streak with a trip to CSUN Bakersfield Tuesday before hosting the Aggies in a weekend series.

Blast Off: Nick Blaser holds a team-best .353 batting average, ranking him fifth in the Big West.  He is also tied for first on the team with Chester Pak with 47 hits and 23 RBI.

Swing Batter, Batter, Batter: Ryan Raslowsky ranks fourth in the nation in toughest to strikeout with a 26.3 mark.


LONG BEACH STATE

LBSU Upsets Cal Poly: The Dirtbags handed No. 1 Cal Poly its first series loss of the season which lifted LBSU to a tie for third with a 7-5 mark. The Mustangs captured game one before LBSU took games two and three by scores of 7-2 and 1-0.

altFrye Leading The Way: Sporting a 1.13 earned run average, Josh Frye ranks second in the Big West and 12th in the nation. He has held his opponents to a .168 batting average.


UC DAVIS

Aggies Return To Halt Skid:  The Aggies have dropped seven of the last eight contests and things don’t get any easier for UC Davis as they embark on their final road trip of the season.  UC Davis is 2-14 away from Dobbins Stadium this season.

Bily Extends Streak:  Tanner Bily extended his hitting streak to nine games to tie John Williams for the longest this season, while reaching base for the 10th consecutive contest.


UC IRVINE

altUCI Enters Critical Part Of Schedule: After recording a sweep over UC Davis last week, the Anteaters find themselves sitting atop the leaderboard with a near-perfect 11-1 record.  The month of May showcases some tough competition and it kicks off with No. 24 UC Santa Barbara.  The ‘Eaters enter the week having won four of the last five contests.

Pitching Prowess: Headlining the Anteaters pitching staff is Andrew Morales, who owns the nation’s third-best ERA with a .78 mark. As a team, UC Irvine holds a 2.53 ERA.


UC RIVERSIDE

UC Riverside Looks For Success At Home: The third place Highlanders, 13-7 at Riverside Sports Complex this season, host second place No. 3 Cal Poly this weekend.  Both teams are coming off series losses.

Highlander Power Trio: Francisco Tellez, Nick Vilter and Devyn Bolasky have been lighting it up on offense this season as the trio sits atop the team’s stats.  Tellez, hitting a team-best .333, paces UCR with 36 RBI.  Vilter owns the top spot with 34 runs while hitting .321.  Bolasky is tied for first on the team with 52 hits, while posting the third best average of .317.


UC SANTA BARBARA

UCSB Eyes Postseason: As the final month approaches the Gauchos (26-11) are looking to beef up their resume for a postseason berth and they have the perfect opponent this weekend in league-leading, No. 20 UC Irvine (28-15).  Friday’s match between the Anteaters and Gauchos will be broadcast on ESPN3.

Gaucho Charge: Led by Joey Epperson, UC Santa Barbara ranks second in the league in batting average with a .295 clip.  Epperson owns the second slot in both batting average (.392) and runs scored (34).


HAWAI‘I

Hawai’i Struggles On The Mainland: Hawai’i returns home after a seven-game road trip produced a 1-6 record, dropping the Rainbow Warriors overall mark to 15-25.  This week the Rainbow Warriors take a break from league play to host NYIT.

Captain Cooper: Matt Cooper continues to lead the charge from the mound with a stellar 1.72 earned run average in 78.1 innings pitched.  He ranks third in the conference in strike outs (71) and sixth in ERA.