• With the first week of Big West play in the books, UC Davis and UC Irvine sit atop the standings with an unblemished 3-0 record. The Aggies swept the Highlanders, while the Anteaters took care of business against visiting Hawai’i. Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara clinched their weekend series with 2-1 marks to tie for third place, while CSUN and Long Beach are knotted in fifth at 1-2. Defending champion Cal Poly does not open league play until this week but last weekend the Mustangs claimed the series against nationally-ranked Oregon State, 2-1.
• UC Santa Barbara’s Justin Jacome picked up National Player of the Week honors by Collegiate Baseball after striking out a career-high 12 batters in a complete game, 3-1 win over Long Beach State Saturday. He allowed just one earned run on four hits. Cal State Fullerton closer Tyler Peitzmeier sits fifth with nine saves on the season.
• The Big West Conference has two teams ranked in the nation’s top 10 in earned run average with UC Santa Barbara sitting third at 2.09 and CSUN claiming sixth with a 2.31 mark. Long Beach State, who’s 26th in ERA, is the nation’s leader in hits allowed per nine innings (6.43).
The conference’s leader in hitting, UC Davis’ Nick Lynch, paces the country with 16 doubles and a .64 doubles per game average. Teammate Kevin Barker ranks sixth in the nation with 17 stolen bases.
• 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 Clinches Top 25 Series:
For the second straight week Cal Poly battled a top 25 opponent and this past week proved more successful as the Mustangs took the series over No. 19 Oregon State, 2-1. Cal Poly is now 3-3 against nationally ranked teams.
Schuknecht Is Grand:
In Cal Poly’s 8-1 win over Oregon State, junior John Schuknecht blasted his first career grand slam.
CP Opens League Play:
The Mustangs kick off conference play this week with a trip to Cal State Fullerton Thursday-Saturday, with first two games of the series airing on ESPN3.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Titans Open League Play With Series Victory:
Cal State Fullerton opened Big West play with its 13th consecutive series win over CSUN, going 2-1 at Matador Field. With the wins, the Titans improve to 14-13 overall as they prepare to host Cal Poly this week with Thursday and Friday contests airing on ESPN3.
The Titans’ pitching staff continues to be led by junior Thomas Eshelman, who ranks seventh in the league with a 1.93 ERA and has the third-highest strike out mark of 58 in 51.1 innings pitched.
CSUN Snaps Streak:
CSUN captured its first victory over Cal State Fullerton since 2012, snapping a seven-game skid, with a 4-3 win Saturday.
The Big 2-0:
The 4-3 victory over the Titans Saturday bumped CSUN to the 20-win threshold, a feat last year’s team could not obtain. In 2014, CSUN posted an overall mark of 18-38 and a 6-18 Big West record.
With three pitchers listed in the conference’s top 10 in ERA, it’s no wonder CSUN is ranked second in the Big West with a 2.31 ERA. Leading the charge is Conner O’Neil with a 1.50 ERA (3rd).
LONG BEACH STATE
Big West Action:
Competing in just its second road series of the season, LBSU dropped its conference-opening series to No. 19 UCSB, 2-1. The Dirtbags are now 2-5 on the road, with all seven games against the Top 25.
The LBSU pitching staff is holding its opponents to a Big West-low .201 batting average.
This week the Dirtbags return home to host CSUN, a matchup that is sure to display some of the best arms in the league as CSUN (2.13 ERA) ranks second and LBSU (2.78 ERA) ranks third.
With a sweep over UC Riverside to open Big West play, UC Davis has now won nine of its last 10 contests and sit 17-7-1 overall. A large part of the Aggies success comes from their offense as they are tied for first in the league with a .298 batting average. Nick Lynch is hitting a conference-best .402 and is tied for first with 25 runs scored.
The Aggies are wreaking havoc on the bases with an impressive, league-leading 65 stolen bases, which ranks fourth in the nation. Kevin Barker and Tino Lipson sit one-two with 17 and 14 stolen bases, respectively.
UCI Riding Win Streak:
UC Irvine opened Big West play with a three-game sweep over Hawai’i, bumping its win streak to eight and 11 out of the last 12. The Anteaters look to keep the streak alive with a midweek home contest against San Diego and a weekend series at UC Riverside.
Strength Of Its Pitching:
So far this season the pitching staff has combined for a 3.88 earned run average, sixth in the Big West Conference. In last week’s Big West opening series, the Anteaters bettered their prior performances with a cumulative 2.33 ERA to sit third in the league in conference-only games.
Looking For A Change:
UC Riverside enters the week on a five-game skid. Luckily for the Highlanders they return to the Riverside Sports Complex this week, where they have picked up seven of their 10 wins, when they entertain CSU Bakersfield and UC Irvine.
Despite dropping its conference opening series, there were some shining moments which included Cody Sporrer hitting .545 over the weekend, tying him for first in conference-only contests. Teammate Casey Henderson blasted two home runs to pace the league.
UC SANTA BARBARA
UCSB suffered its first shutout of the season by way of LBSU to open Big West play, but the Gauchos rebounded and took the final two games to win the series. Exceptional pitching was key in claiming the series as the pitching staff threw a miniscule 1.00 ERA and hindered the opposition with a .187 batting average over the weekend.
UCSB’s Hot Bats:
A trio of Gauchos own spots in the Big West’s top five in batting average. Robby Nesovic leads the charge with the third-best mark of .372, while Cameron Newell and Andrew Calica are knotted in fifth with a .347 clip.
UH Struggled In Big West Opening Weekend:
Hawai’i stumbled out of the Big West gates, dropping three tightly-contested games at UC Irvine. This week the Rainbow Warriors return to the island to host UC Davis in a four-game series, the first three counting as conference contests.
UH’s offensive is spearheaded by Alan Baldwin’s .284 batting average and Kaeo Aliviado’s team-high 29 runs scored. On the mound, LJ Brewster sports the conference’s fifth-best ERA of 1.90 in 47.1 inning pitched en route to a 3-3 record. He also owns a team-high 29 strike outs.