• CSUN and UC Santa Barbara continue their incredible starts to the 2015 season as they sit one-two in the Big West standings. The Matadors are 8-1 after sweeping a four-game series against Seattle. The Gauchos, who were undefeated after the first week of play, downed BYU in a midweek showdown and went 2-1 against Kentucky to sit second with a 6-1 mark. Long Beach is currently third at 5-2 and UC Davis is right on the Dirtbags’ heels with a 5-2-1 record.
• UC Santa Barbara’s Dillon Tate has not allowed a run this season in 13 2/3 innings of work and has struck out 17. Not to be outdone, CSUN’s Rayne Raven has struck out 26 batters in 14.0 innings en route to a 0.00 ERA. With these two on the mound, it’s no wonder the Matadors and Gauchos sit one-two in the standings.
• This week’s marquee matchup is a Top 25 showdown taking place at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium as the 16th-ranked Gauchos entertain No. 13 Oregon for a three-game weekend series. The Gauchos enter the week 6-1, while the Ducks are 7-1.
Also battling a nationally-ranked opponent this weekend are the Cal Poly Mustangs, who visit No. 2 TCU in a three-game series Friday-Sunday.
• Western domination has been present in the first two weeks of play for the Big West Conference, who owns an overall record of 27-19 against the other west coast conferences (Mountain West, Pac-12, WAC and West Coast). The largest discrepancy is an 18-2 mark against the West Coast Conference opponents.
• Preseason honors were awarded to UC Irvine’s Sam Moore and Titans duo Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza. Moore made the NCBWA Stopper of the Year list while CSF’s hurlers were recognized on the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list.
• A selection of Big West baseball games will be carried on ESPN3 this season with all games originating 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 televised 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 is 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.
For the second straight week the Mustangs have been unable to capture a win in their weekend series. They did however post their first victory of the season in a midweek contest against Fresno State to own an overall record of 1-6, their worst start since losing the first six games of the 2011 campaign.
Peter Van Gansen and Brian Mundell are hitting .400 on the season to lead Cal Poly. Both players have scored three runs each and own a .500 slugging percentage.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Hopes For Success At Home:
CSF is in the midst of a 12-game homestand and this week it entertains Baylor in a three-game series. The Titans currently own a 2-5 record, their worst start since the 2001 squad opened the year with a 2-5 mark as well. That year the Titans were able to turn things around and advance to the Super Regionals.
Eshelman Controls The Mound:
Despite their early struggles to find wins this season, pitcher Thomas Eshelman continues to dominate on the mound as he owns the league’s ninth-best ERA of 2.03.
What A Difference A Year Makes:
In 2014, under first-year head coach Greg Moore, CSUN didn’t register their eighth victory until March 14. Things have changed in 2015 as the Matadors recorded their eighth victory on Feb. 22, completing a four-game sweep at Seattle. The Matadors sit atop the Big West standings with a near-perfect 8-1 mark.
Led by Rayne Raven and his 0.00 ERA, CSUN sits second in the league with a 1.71 earned run average. The Matadors have three players ranked in the top 10. Raven is tied for first, Calvin Copping is tied for fifth (.142) and Angel Rodriguez (1.88) owns the eighth spot.
LONG BEACH STATE
Another 2-1 Weekend For LBSU:
For the second straight week LBSU has won its weekend series 2-1 and now own a 5-2 record. This week the Dirtbags play their first road contest with a Tuesday-night showdown at No. 4 UCLA. The road trip is short-lived as they return home for a weekend series against Wichita State.
Offensively, Zack Rivera guides the Dirtbags with the conference’s fifth-best batting average of .435 and teammate Garrett Hampson is tied for second in the league with nine runs scored. On the mound, Ryan Cruz and Tanner Brown sit third and fifth with ERAs of 1.12 and 1.42
Aggies Suffer First Loss:
UC Davis opened 2015 with a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1) before suffering back-to-back loses against Gonzaga. UCD sits fourth in the standings with a 5-2-1 mark.
Middle Of The Pack:
After two weeks of play, the Aggies find themselves third in the Big West with a .283 batting average while a 3.65 ERA places them fourth.
Run, Lipson, Run:
Tino Lipson has scored nine runs in the first two weeks of play to tie for second in the Big West. That is over half of his 16-run total in 2014. Teammate Kevin Baker is one back with eight runs scored.
Anteaters Earn First Victory:
After opening the season with six consecutive losses, UC Irvine managed to pick up its first victory over the season with a 6-2 win in its final game against California.
Manarino Diamond In The Rough:
UC Irvine, known for its impressive pitching staff has been struggling at the start of 2015, sports the league’s highest earned run average of 5.77. Despite the less-than-desired team ERA, pitcher Evan Manarino has continued his dominance from Omaha last season with a 1.42 ERA, tying him for fifth in the league.
See Saw Start For UCR:
Following a 4-0 opening week mark, UCR stumbled in week two going 1-3 against San Diego State. This week the Highlanders host Loyola Marymount in a midweek contest before kicking off an eight-game road trip.
The Highlanders are ranked second in the Big West with a .315 batting average, while leading the charge in slugging percentage (.451), hits (86), triples (3) and total bases (123). Individually, Alex Rubanowitz is hitting .474 on the season to sit fourth in the league, while his .895 slugging percentage tops the charts.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Leading The Pack:
when looking at the Big West stats, UC Santa Barbara finds itself atop the charts in both hitting and pitching, with marks of .316 and 1.57 ERA. In the first two weeks of the season, the Gauchos have out-scored their opponents 50-21.
Newell Commands The Gauchos and Big West:
Cameron Newell and Robby Nesovic have been explosive at the plate this season, hitting .560 and .520 respectively to pace the conference. Newell also owns the top spot in on-base percentage (.625), runs scored (13), RBI (9) and hits (14).
UH Hoping To Find Success On The Road:
Hawai’i improved to 4-5 after taking 3-of-5 from Hofstra last week. This week the Rainbow Warriors get play their first road contests of the young season with a four-game stint at Pepperdine. UH was 5-13 on the road last year.
Ramirez Paces The Rainbows:
The shining star for the Rainbow Wahine is Eric Ramirez, who sits eighth in the Big West with a .414 batting average and seventh in runs scored with 7. His 12 hits also ties him for fourth in the league.