• UC Irvine, who suffered its first conference loss last week against Long Beach State, continues to pace the Big West with an 8-1 league mark. Cal State Fullerton owns a 6-3 record, while Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara, who face off this week in Santa Barbara, Calif., stand at 4-2. Long Beach State is the final team with an above-.500 conference winning percentage at 5-4.
• Last week USA Baseball announced its 60-player midseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list and two Big West student-athletes made the cut. Representing the conference were Cal State Fullerton junior Thomas Eshelman and UC Santa Barbara junior Dillon Tate. Tate currently sits second in the league with a 1.73 earned run average in 67.2 innings pitched. He also ranks second in the Big West with 71 strikeouts while Eshelman sits third with 61. On May 22, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award.
• In the latest RPI, the Big West has five schools listed in the top 50. Leading the way is UC Santa Barbara, who cracked the top 10 with a ninth place ranking. Long Beach State moved up to 22nd while Cal State Fullerton jumped to 38th and is closely followed by CSUN in 39th. Rounding out the quintet is UC Irvine with the 46th spot.
• 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’ Winning Ways:
After a 1-2 performance against Cal State Fullerton to kick off Big West play, Cal Poly has since won four straight, including a series sweep of Hawai’i. This week the competition heats up as the Mustangs travel to No. 9 UC Santa Barbara for a weekend series.
Make No Mistakes:
The Mustangs made 36 errors in their first 19 games but have committed just five miscues in their last 13 contests. They currently own a .967 fielding percentage to rank seventh in the conference but in Big West-only contests, they rank third at .983.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Successful Big West Run Put On Hold:
Three weeks in-a-row Cal State Fullerton has captured its Big West series with a 2-1 mark with last week’s victory against UC Davis. History will not repeat itself this week as the Titans play a nonconference series at No. 22 Maryland. The Titans also battle No. 2 UCLA on the road.
Vargas Stellar At The Plate:
Josh Vargas leads Fullerton and ranks fourth in the Big West with a .341 batting average. His team-best .465 on-base percentage earns him the second spot in the league.
CSUN Struggles In Conference Play:
It took 13 inning but CSUN was able to pick up its second conference win of the season, the first since March 28, with a 3-2 victory in the final game of the UC Santa Barbara series. The Matadors are now 2-7 in the Big West.
Power On The Mound:
CSUN continues to hold the second spot in the Big West with a team ERA of 2.46. Individually, three players own top 10 spots with Jerry Keel ranked third (1.84) and Rayne Raven and Conner O’Neil sitting ninth and 10th with marks of 2.25 and 2.31.
LONG BEACH STATE
LBSU Suffers Series Loss:
Long Beach State snapped a season-long five-game win streak last week with a 1-0, 13-inning loss to nationally-ranked UC Irvine. The Dirtbags went on to concluded the series 1-2, shutting out the Anteaters in the final contest. LBSU is now 5-4 in league play with all four of its losses against nationally-ranked teams.
By The Slimmest Of Margins:
In recent years LBSU has been known to play some tight-contested battles and this year isn’t any different, especially in Big West play. So far this season, six of its nine conference contests have been decided by two runs or less, with the Dirtbags winning four.
Tough Road Ahead For UCD:
The Aggies opened their series against Cal State Fullerton with a 3-2 victory before dropping the next two games to sit 4-5 in the league. This week UC Davis is slated to battle No. 19 UC Irvine with the first two contests airing on ESPN3.
In the series opener, UCD defeated the Titans for the first time at home in 16 chances, while winning for only the fourth time in the 31 games between the two squads.
On Saturday the Aggies fell to the Titans, 10-6, but it wasn’t from lack of effort by Izaak Silva, who tied a career high with four hits and drove in a pair of runs for UC Davis.
UCI Win Streak Snapped, Continues To Pace Big West:
The Anteaters captured their third straight conference series last week, downing Long Beach State 2-1. The Dirtbags did hand UC Irvine its first Big West loss with a 5-0 shutout Sunday, snapping a season-long 15-game win streak, but UCI hangs on to the top spot with an 8-1 mark.
With the recent success on the diamond, UC Irvine has received national recognition in the Top 25 polls and is currently ranked as high as 19th in the Collegiate Baseball Poll.
UCR In Search Of A W:
After being idle for eight days, UC Riverside returns to action Friday, April 17 with a trip to Blair Field to battle Long Beach State in a Big West series. The Highlanders enter the conference showdown riding an 11-game skid.
Joe Chavez has scored a team-best 26 runs and ranks second with 37 hits. Austin Colvin is hitting .329 to pace the Highlanders, while Vince Fernandez has notched 39 hits, which includes five home runs.
UC SANTA BARBARA
In the Big West:
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara’s nine-game win streak was halted by a 3-2, 13-inning loss to CSUN Sunday. The Gauchos are now 26-8 overall and 4-2 in the Big West. This week the Gauchos host central coast rival Cal Poly, who enters the week having won four straight.
Against The Rest:
UCSB currently owns the conference’s best batting average (.292) and ERA (2.13). They are led by Robby Nesovic and Andrew Calica, who sit fifth and eighth in the league. There are also four Gaucho pitchers in the conference’s top 10 with Dillon Tate leading the charge with a 1.73 ERA.
Home Sweet Home:
Hawai’i returns home to the familiar confines of Les Murakami Stadium where the Rainbow Warriors are averaging 3,181 fans per game to rank 17th in the nation. This week they look to get back in the win column with a three-game series at CSUN. Hawai’i is 10-11 at home this season.
Leading The Way:
Hawai’i is lead by Alex Sawelson, who paces the team in both batting average (.309) and hits (38). Kaeo Aliviado holds the team’s highest run total of 21 and RBI with 24. The pitching staff is headlined by Tyler Brashears, who sports a 2.35 ERA in 57.1 innings pitched.