• A Cal Poly sweep over Cal State Northridge, combined with UC Irvine dropping all three contests to Cal State Fullerton last week, awarded the Mustangs the school’s first Big West Conference baseball championship with a 19-5 league mark. Winning six straight to close out the season, the Mustangs are making their third trip to the NCAA Regionals in five seasons after earning the conference’s automatic bid. (Tempe -2009, UCLA 2013).
Cal Poly’s last conference title was in its final year in Division II, earning its fourth consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association crown in 1994. The Mustangs finished second in the Big West three times – 2005, 2012 and 2013 – before breaking through this spring.
• The final ESPN3 broadcasts of the regular season take place at Goodwin Field this week as Cal State Fullerton (28-22/11-10) entertains Cal State Northridge (18-35/6-15) for a three-game series that runs Thursday-Saturday. The Titans are coming off a series sweep over No. 21 UC Irvine, while the Matadors suffered a 2-1 series loss to No. 5 Cal Poly.
A total of 19 Big West baseball games were carried on ESPN3 throughout the season. All games originated from Southern California member institutions Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Riverside. Every Big West team made an appearance on the baseball schedule.
Through the Big West’s new mobile production facility, each game was 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 is 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.
• Regional hosts and sites for the 2014 NCAA Division I Baseball Committee will be announced online at www.ncaa.com/cws at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 26. The 16 hosts can also be found on the bottom scroll of the ESPN family of networks. The 2014 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Selection Show, with regional pairings and site assignments, will be revealed in a live, hour telecast on ESPNU at 9:00 a.m. (Pacific), Monday, May 26.
• UC Irvine’s Sam Moore owns a nation-best 23 saves this season, which is a Big West record. The Rancho Palo Verdes, Calif., native surpassed Long Beach State’s Gabe Gonzalez, who recorded 20 saves during the 1995 season. One more save ties Moore for the national record with UCLA’s David Berg, who notched 24 last year.
• 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 105-78-1 (.573) among its western opponents. The league owns a .500-or-better winning percentage against each individual conference as well.
• The Big West Conference led all conferences on the USA Baseball 30-man midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list last week with four student-athletes earning recognition. The quartet includes UC Santa Barbara’s Joey Epperson, Cal State Fullerton’s Thomas Eshelman, Cal Poly’s Matt Imhof and UC Irvine’s Andrew Morales. The Golden Spikes Award is presented to the top amateur baseball player in the country.
• UC Irvine pitcher Andrew Morales is one of 10 finalist for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate baseball, it was announced last week. To be eligible for this award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through June 9. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 College World Series® in June.
We Are The Champions:
Sporting a conference mark of 19-5, Cal Poly captured its first Big West Conference baseball championship and earned the league’s automatic berth into the postseason.
Allen Sets School Records:
Spearheaded by a trio of home runs last week, senior Jimmy Allen lifted his career hit total to 248, setting a new Cal Poly record. He is also the school’s leader in career doubles (56) and at-bats (808).
Mustangs Set School Record:
The 45 overall wins recorded this year is a school best. Prior to this season, the 1977 and 1992 squads held the mark with 41 victories.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Power On The Mound:
Cal State Fullerton continues to showcase one of the most dominant pitching staffs in the country as it sports a Big West-low 2.09 earned run average to place third in the nation. A 2.09 ERA is also the lowest for any Titan pitching staff dating back to 1975.
By The Narrowest Of Margins:
The Titans lead the nation in one-run decisions this year with 25 and have posted a 12-13 mark in those tightly-contested battles. Five of Fullerton’s last six loses were one-run decisions, two of which needed extra-innings to determine a winner.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
CSUN Ends Season On ESPN3:
The Matadors suffered their second series sweep by a ranked opponent in the last month, falling to No. 5 Cal Poly to drop to 6-15 in Big West play. Cal State Northridge closes out the year with a three-game series at Cal State Fullerton, which will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
Nick Blaser continues to dominate on offense for the Matadors with a team-best .318 batting average. The junior from Roseville, Calif., is also second on the team with 22 RBI and 55 hits.
LONG BEACH STATE
On The Prowl:
With one week remaining, Long Beach State has found themselves sitting third in the Big West with a 14-7 record. This week the Dirtbags host second place UC Irvine in a battle for second place and a potential spot in the NCAA Tournament. Second place would be LBSU’s highest finish since sharing the title with Cal State Fullerton in 2008.
LBSU Hot Streak:
Long Beach State has won its last five series and has posted an 11-3 record in the last 14 contests, which included four-consecutive shutout victories. During that span the Dirtbags out scored their opponents 67-33.
UC Davis’ Successful Weekend:
UC Davis notched its second series win in three weeks with a 2-1 victory over Hawai’i. With the wins, UC Davis improves to 7-14 in Big West play. This week the Aggies close out the season at UC Santa Barbara.
Aggies Produce Season-Best Outing:
The Aggies notched a season-high 21 hits in their final game against Hawai’i last week. The 12 runs scored was also a season best. Sophomore Tanner Bily led the way with four hits while senior Spencer Brann scored three runs.
Litchfield Sets UC Irvine Record:
Last week pitcher Jimmy Litchfield notched his 115th appearance to set a UC Irvine career record, which also ranks him third in the Big West annals. He surpassed Anteater Blair Erickson, who recorded 113 from 2004-07.
UC Irvine Jockeys For Position In Standings:
Suffering a sweep to Cal State Fullerton cost the Anteaters the conference crown as they slid to the second spot with a 15-6 record. This week UC Irvine battles Long Beach State, who is one game back in third place, as both teams look for crucial victories for their postseason resumes.
UCR Suffers Series Loss:
UC Riverside suffered its third series loss in four weeks, this time to the hands of Long Beach State. The Highlanders are currently tied for fourth in the league standings with Cal State Fullerton at 11-10 mark.
Highlanders At The Plate:
The Highlanders are hitting .282 on the season to rank third in the Big West Conference, while pacing the conference with 23 home runs. They are led by Devyn Bolasky, who sits fifth with a .335 clip, and Nick Vilter with his league-best 10 long bombs.
UC SANTA BARBARA
The Big 3-0:
A 2-2 week pushed UC Santa Barbara above 30 wins, marking the first time the Gauchos posted back-to-back 30 win seasons since the 1991 and 1992 season. UC Santa Barbara tallied a 35-25 mark last year and is currently 31-17-1 this season with three regular season contests remaining.
Joey Epperson is back on top of the conference with a .383 batting average while ranking 26th in the county. He also ranks eighth in on-base percentage with a league-high mark of .496.
Rainbow Warriors Conclude Season At Home:
Hawai’i (20-30) closes out the season hosting UC Riverside in a three-game series starting Thursday evening.
A trio of players headline the Rainbow Warriors offense, Adam Hurley, Marc Flores and Kaeo Aliviado, sitting one-two-three in batting average. Flores holds a team-best 41 RBI while Aliviado paces the team with 61 hits and 32 runs scored. On the mound Matt Copper continues his dominance with a 1.64 ERA, ranking him sixth in the Big West.