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Let The Games Begin: Big West Play Starts Friday

3/23/2015

Big West Conference Baseball Release - Week 7



BIG WEST

• Last week Cal Poly kicked off its series against No. 8 USC with a 5-4 victory, marking its first Top 25 win of the season.  The win also bumped Head Coach Larry Lee’s victory total to 403 wins during his tenure in the Big West Conference, moving him to sixth all-time in the conference annals. He surpassed UNLV’s Fred Dallimore (1985-95), who registered 402 overall wins during his time in the Big West.  The top names on the elite list are as follows:

547    Bob Bennett, FS (1970-76, 85-92)
511    Dave Snow, LBSU (1989-01)
490    George Horton, CSF (1997-07)
485    Bob Brontsema, UCSB (1994-10)
464    Augie Garrido, CSF (1975-76, 85-87, 91-95)

• Big West Conference makes its debut on television this week as the first two games of the Hawai’i at UC Irvine series is set to air on ESPN3.  Friday’s first pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. and Saturday’s matinee begins at 1 pm.  This kicks off a stretch of televised games that includes a total of 17 baseball contests that will be aired across ESPN3 and ESPNU platforms this spring.

• Freshmen Chris Mathewson (7.0 IP, 8K, 1BB) and Darren McCaughan (2.0 IP, 3K) made Long Beach State history as they combined for the first no-hitter in program history on March 1 with a 4-0 win over Wichita State.  The Duos’ gem became the 17th no-hitter in Big West history and the first since May 24, 2015, when Cal State Fullerton’s Justin Garza threw a no-no against CSUN.

• A total of 17 Big West baseball contests will be aired across ESPN3 and ESPNU platforms this spring.  All games will originate from Southern California member institutions Cal State Fullerton, CSUN, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Riverside, and every Big West school will make an appearance on the schedule.  

In addition, ESPNU will bolster the Big West’s overall baseball television coverage as two games will be highlighted on that network with back-to-back games between baseball rivals Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton will also air May 21-22.
  
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, on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Roku.  Live streams of all the Watch ESPN Networks are available at no additional cost to fans who receive ESPN as part of their TV subscription through participating TV providers.

Prime Ticket, the official regional telecast home of Big West athletics, is also slated to air a pair of Big West baseball games.  The Cal Poly at UC Irvine game at Anteater Ballpark on Saturday, May 9 and the Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, May 23 from Goodwin Field will air at 7:00 p.m. on their respective dates.

CAL POLY
Cal Poly Continues Top 25 Schedule:
For the second straight week Cal Poly is scheduled to battle a Top 25 team in its weekend series.  Coming off a 1-2 performance against No. 8 USC, the Mustangs head north to take on No. 19 Oregon State.

Big Win For Cal Poly:
The Mustangs collected their first Top-25 victory of the season and Casey Bloomquist earned his first win of the year after downing No. 8 USC 5-4 Friday night.  Bloomquist currently owns a 3.72 ERA and has struck out 30 batters.


CAL STATE FULLERTON
Finding Their Rhythm: The Titans are still looking to find their groove in this see-saw season.  The Titans opened the year with a less-than-impressive 2-5 mark before winning seven straight contests, six of which were against ranked opponents.  Since then CSF has been inconsistent, going 2-6 down the stretch.  Hopefully with the start of conference play upon them, the Titans can get back to their winning ways.  They open league play with a bang, visiting league-leading CSUN, who paces the Big West with a 1.89 ERA with their top two pitchers sitting 1-2 in the conference.


CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Leader Of The Pack: CSUN enters Big West play this week with a league-best 19-5 overall record and is currently riding a six-game win streak.  The Matadors are fueled by their impressive conference-low 1.89 ERA.  This week CSUN opens Big West play hosting Cal State Fullerton, which is also known for its stellar pitching. 

Pak’s Power: While CSUN is making waves with its pitching staff, there is also some power at the plate.  Chester Pak currently owns a .433 on-base percentage and .553 slugging percentage while pacing the conference with 21 runs scored.  He’s also tied for eighth with 28 hits.


Conference play kicks off this weekend!LONG BEACH STATE

Battle At Blair Field:
If last weekend’s nonconference-scoring showdown between CSF and LBSU is any indication of the upcoming Big West schedule, fans are in for a wild ride.  The first two contests went extra innings with each team picking up a victory before LBSU captured the final contest, 6-1, to claim the series.  The Dirtbags open league play at No. 19 UC Santa Barbara Friday at 3:00 p.m.

King Of The Hill: LBSU’s pitching staff has been competitive this season as  it sports the league’s third best ERA of 2.82.  The Beach also own a conference-low .199 opposing batting average and rank second in batters struck out with 197.


UC DAVIS

Streakin’ Aggies: 
The Aggies were idle last week but prior to their break, they had won five of its last six contests, which includes a pair of weekend series victories over Seattle and Fresno State.  UC Davis returns to action Tuesday with a trip to San Francisco before hosting UC Riverside in its Big West opener.

Power At The Plate: 
The Aggies are hitting .285 to rank second in the Big West.  Once on base they add pressure to the defense as they sport a league-high 59 stolen bases, that’s 21 more stolen bases than all of 2014.


UC IRVINE

And The Wins Continue:
UC Irvine seems to have found the perfect formula for winning, having collected  eight victories in the past nine contests. And just in time with the Anteaters kicking off the Big West portion of its schedule this week against Hawai’i on ESPN3.
 
Going, Going, Gone:
The new stitching on this year’s baseball promised more home runs and UC Irvine is living up to the preseason hype.  So far this season it has blasted 15 long bombs, its second highest mark since 2010 when the ‘Eaters tallied 41.  UCI still has two months of play to surpass 2013’s tally of 20 homers.


UC RIVERSIDE

Homestand Continues:
The Highlanders, who captured their series against Tulane, 2-1, wrap up a nine-game homestand hosting Oregon in a two-game midweek series.  Following the showdown with the Ducks, UCR visits UC Davis for its conference opener. 

Middle Of The Pack:
As the Highlanders enter Big West play they find themselves in the middle of the pack in both hitting percentage and ERA.  At the plate, UCR is hitting the third-best batting average of .279, while the pitching staff owns a 3.49 ERA to sit fifth.


UC SANTA BARBARA

The Team To Beat?:
Prior to the start of the season UCSB was selected third in the preseason coaches poll, but as we enter conference play the Gauchos look as if they may be the team to beat.  They currently sit second in the Big West with a 16-6 mark and  are the only team with a Top 25 ranking.  The Gauchos, who have wins over No. 13 Oregon and No. 20 USC, also own a conference-best .299 batting average and sit second in ERA with a 2.20 mark.  Individually, they have three hitters in the top 10, including Robby Nesovic, who is currently tied for first with a .400 clip.  On the mound, Dillon Tate owns a 1.69 ERA, good enough for fifth.


HAWAI'I
UH Travels To SoCal For Big West Opener:
Hawai’i closes out the month with a trip to the mainland to face Loyola Marymount Wednesday before visiting UC Irvine for its conference-opening series, with the first two games set to air on ESPN3.  So far this season the Rainbow Warriors are 2-5 on the road.

Brewing Success:
One of the shining stars on the Hawai’i pitching staff, which ranks ninth in the league, is LJ Brewster.  The junior right-hander ranks eighth in the conference with an impressive 1.83 ERA in 39.1 innings pitched and has struck out a team-best 26 batters.