Race For Conference Crown Begins
Softball Weekly Release No. 8
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
’Stangs Split The Double: Cal Poly split its double header versus Bakersfield, claiming the first of the two matchups in an 8-6 finish. The Mustangs have plated at least a single run in 30 contests this season and boas the league’s strikeout leader in Sierra Hyland who has 153 on the year. Cal Poly travels to CSUN to open conference play this weekend.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Streaks Set Precedent: After Cal State Fullerton enjoyed a week of rest, it returns to action this with with a midweek home double dip against Bakersfield. The club will then head to the Central Coast for its Big West opening series against UC Santa Barbara. Prior to the break, the Titans extended their winning streak to six games with the sweep of Buffalo, which is the longest since CSF opened the 2014 season with a 6-0 clean slate. Freshman Samantha Vandiver recorded a hit in both games last time out to extend her 16-game hit-streak, which ties the second longest hitting-streak since 1989.
Getting Votes and Taking Names: For the fourth week in a row, CSUN has been receiving votes in either the USA Today/NFCA Poll or the ESPN/USA Softball Poll, the lone Big West club during that time. The Matadors went 4-1 last weekend, dropping the only contest to Grand Canyon by a single run at 3-2. CSUN claimed all four of its victories by four or more runs and plated a combined 28 runs in its five games. The Matadors return to action Thursday to host No. 10 UCLA before its conference opener at home versus Cal Poly Saturday.
LONG BEACH STATE
The Beach Ready To Go In Big West Play: Long Beach State rested up over the weekend to prepare for its conference home opener this weekend as it hosts UC Davis for a three-game square-off. The Beach enters its first taste of league action on a three-game win-streak while the Aggies return to the diamond after splitting its weekend road doubleheader against Saint Mary’s.
Avengers: UC Davis heads to Long Beach State for its first conference matchup as the Aggies take on the defending league champions. Davis will complete a five-game roadtrip as it looks to record a W in the inaugural conference weekend for the first time since 2012. The 49ers swept the Aggies to open the 2014 Big West campaign and Davis is out to rewrite that history come Saturday.
Record Week For Riverside: UC Riverside swept the Big West weekly awards last week for the first time since 2006. Chelsea Ponce, who received the pitching honor, is also the only pitcher in UCR history to be named the POTW twice in a single-season. At 28-7, the Highlanders have now recorded the most wins in a single campaign in the program’s Division I-era. Riverside opens league action Friday on the road as the club visits Hawai’i.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Gauchos Dig In For Conference: After splitting its double header last weekend versus Brown, UC Santa Barbara has won five of its last six contests. The Gauchos will host Cal State Fullerton in the first weekend of conference play for a three-game series beginning Saturday.
Playing Perfect: Hawai‘i took a 10-day break before opening Big West play and will host a three-game series with UC Riverside on Friday. The Rainbow Wahine are 6-0 versus the Highlanders since joining the Big West and look to keep it a perfect record this weekend.
RPI Released: The first RPI report of the season showed the Big West is in elite company as seven of the league’s eight clubs are in the top 100. Three clubs are in the top 65 led by Cal State Fullerton at 47. CSUN (57) and league-leading UC Riverside (63) are also in that group, while defending league champion Long Beach State (68) is right outside of it.