• UC Irvine extended its unbeaten streak in conference play, sweeping UC Riverside last week to improve to 6-0 in Big West action. Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State are 4-2 and UC Santa Barbara, who battled nonconference foe Fresno State last week, sports a 2-1 record. UC Davis and Hawai’i find themselves with an even 5-5 mark. Defending champion Cal Poly sits seventh with a 1-2 mark and is followed by CSUN at 1-5. The Highlanders of UC Riverside are still in search of their first Big West victory with an 0-6 record.
• Despite being at the midpoint of the 56-game regular season, the No. 11 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos have received four complete games from their starters this year, which is as many as the 2012, 2013 and 2014 teams combined. No doubt the UCSB pitching staff is one of the strongest in the Big West Conference, as well as the nation, with its impressive 2.15 ERA, ranking third in the nation. CSUN is close behind with the country’s fifth-best ERA of 2.38.
• 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.
Mustangs Opened Conference Play:
Cal Poly opened Big West play last week with a 1-2 mark against Cal State Fullerton. Casey Bloomquist and Danny Zandona combined for a 5-0 shutout, CP’s first of the year, on Thursday night before the Mustangs dropped the final two contests.
Mundell Goes For Two:
Brian Mundell slammed two home runs in the Mustangs’ 5-0 win over Cal State Fullerton.
The Mustangs return home following a seven-game road trip to host Pepperdine (4/7) and Hawai’i in a three-game series.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
For the second straight week, the Titans have posted a 2-1 mark in their conference showdown to sit tied for second in the Big West standings.
Racking Up The Miles:
Cal State Fullerton is back on the road this week, kicking off a nine-game road trip with contests against San Diego (4/7) and UC Davis (4/10-12).
Aided by a grand slam, David Olmedo-Barrera drove in eight runs in Saturday’s 13-2 win over Cal Poly, tying CSF’s single-game RBI record.
CSUN Struggles In Conference Play:
Following an impressive start to the season in nonconference action, going 19-6, CSUN has dropped five of its first six Big West contests to sit eighth. This week it hosts No. 11 UC Santa Barbara (4-2 BWC) in a three-game series that will appear on ESPN3.
Freshman Justin Toerner is setting the pace for the Matadors, tallying a .313 batting average and knocking a team-high 35 hits. Senior southpaw Jerry Keel leads the charge on the mound with 1.60 ERA that places him third in the league.
LONG BEACH STATE
Can’t Touch This:
LBSU entered last week with one of the nation’s stingiest pitching staffs, holding a nation-best 6.54 hits allowed per nine innings. In their sweep over CSUN, the Dirtbags allowed just three runs on 14 hits to lower their ERA to 2.56. So far this season, LBSU has only allowed five or more runs in a game six times.
LBSU Faces Tough Challenge:
This week LBSU is headed to Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark to battle league-leading UC Irvine, who is a perfect 6-0 in Big West play. The Dirtbags are 2-5 on the road, while UCI has only dropped three home contests in 16 games.
Aggies Suffer Series Loss:
UC Davis suffered its first series loss of the season last week, going 1-3 at Hawai’i. The three losses were conference-scoring contests, while the final game, where the Aggies shutout out UH, was designated a nonconference contest.
UC Davis has blasted 72 doubles to lead second-place UC Santa Barbara by 23. The Aggies, led by Nick Lynch’s 19 doubles, is tied for 12th in the nation. When looking at the average of doubles per game, UCD is even better, sitting 10th with a 2.40 average. The Aggies need just four more doubles to surpass their 2014 total (75).
UCI Continues Win Streak:
Following a sweep of UC Riverside, UCI maintained its perfect conference mark (6-0) and extended its win streak to 12. This week the Anteaters visit SDSU in a midweek showdown before hosting Long Beach State in a weekend series.
Bats On Fire:
The ‘Eaters’ offense exploded last week, outscoring their opponents 49-22, which moved them from seventh to third in the league in runs scored with a 163. They also boosted their team batting average from .271 to .289 with freshman Keston Hiura leading the charge with a .378 clip, which ranks second in the Big West Conference.
UCR In Search Of A W:
The Highlanders are on a nine-game skid, which includes a 0-6 Big West mark. UC Riverside plays just a midweek contest at Loyola Marymount this week before resuming conference play at Long Beach State April 17-19.
Ups And Downs:
UC Riverside is showing some promise at the plate as it sits fourth in the league with a .273 hitting percentage and paces the conference with 313 hits. Where the Highlanders seem to be struggling is on the mound as the team sports a 5.05 ERA.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Up On Top:
The Gauchos may not be atop of the standings, but they are on top of all three major categories in the Big West statistics which is propelling their Top 25 national ranking. UCSB is number one in batting average (.301), earned run average (2.15) and fielding percentage (.980).
Lights, Camera, Action:
UCSB has the opportunity to showcase its talent in front of a national audience this week as three of its four contests are set to be broadcast live. The midweek contest at USC will air on the Pac-12 Network and the first two contests of the CSUN series can be found on ESPN3.
Back On Track:
Hawai’i interrupted its four game losing streak with three consecutive wins against UC Davis to improve to 3-3 in league play. In the fourth game of the series (nonconference scoring game), Hawai’i was shutout 4-0 by the Aggies and are now 12-20 overall.
In the Rainbow Warriors series win over UC Davis last week they produced a program-record 27 runs scored in a Big West series.
Hawai’i heads back to the mainland this week, where it is 1-7, to battle Big West foe Cal Poly April 10-13.