• Nearly halfway through the Big West schedule and UC Irvine remains on top of the standings with a 10-2 mark. The seventh-ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos and the Cal State Fullerton Titans are knotted in second with a 6-3 record and followed by Long Beach State in fourth at 7-5. Cal Poly sits fifth with a 5-4 record and UC Davis and Hawai’i own a 5-7 mark to tie for sixth. Rounding out the nine-team field are CSUN (3-9) and UC Riverside (1-8).
• Pitching has always been a strong suit in the Big West and this year is no different as a trio of schools are ranked in the nation’s Top 15 in earned run average. UC Santa Barbara leads the way with the third-lowest ERA of 2.26. The Gauchos are followed by CSUN in eighth place with a 2.51 mark and Long Beach State holds the 11th spot with a 2.73 ERA. Individually, freshman Chris Mathewson ranks 10th with a miniscule 1.28 ERA and junior Dillon Tate sits 34th with a 1.73 mark.
• So far this season, UC Davis’ Nick Lynch has blasted a nation-best 21 doubles and averages .55 double per game to also lead the country.
• 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.
On The Upswing:
Despite dropping the series to No. 9 UC Santa Barbara, 2-1, Cal Poly has won six of its last eight contests. The Mustangs close out a four-game road trip at Santa Clara Tuesday before hosting Long Beach State in a weekend series. Cal Poly’s only Big West series win was at home back on April 10-12 when it swept Hawai’i.
Drobny Powers Forward In Big West Play:
Junior Ryan Drobny is one of six Big West athletes hitting over .400 in conference-only contests with a .419 batting average, tying him for fourth. He currently owns an overall mark of .284.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Titans Struggles Against Top 25:
Last week the Titans struggled on the road against No. 2 UCLA and No. 22 Maryland, posting a 1-3 record for an overall mark of 8-5 against the Top 25 this season. This week doesn’t get any easier as the Titans host No. 19 UC Irvine in a weekend series, with Friday’s game airing on ESPN3.
By An Inch:
Cal State Fullerton played two one-run decision games last week, going 1-1 in the matchups to sit 7-6 in one-run games this season.
Conference Struggles Continue:
While CSUN has managed to collect a few Big West victories, it has yet to win a weekend series. The Matadors next chance is this week when they entertain UC Riverside, who is 1-8 in the Big West.
On The Road Again:
This weekend’s showdown marks the final home contests for CSUN until the final week of play (May 21-23) as it gears up for a 12-game road trip that spans from San Diego to Washington. The Matadors are 15-7 when playing in front of their hometown fans and 8-8 away from Matador Field this season.
LONG BEACH STATE
LBSU Earn Series Victory:
Long Beach State eked out its second Big West series victory last week, 2-1, against UC Davis. The Dirtbags dropped the first contest, 3-8, before slipping past the Aggies in game two, 4-3 (12), and then dominating in Sunday’s matinee (10-1). LBSU currently sits fourth in the Big West with a 7-5 mark.
In Saturday’s 4-3, 12-inning victory, Joey Sanchez went 5-for-5 to become the first Dirtbag to record five hits in a game since current major leaguer Matt Duffy did so on April 1, 2011.
For the second straight week UC Davis opened its conference series with a Friday-night victory before dropping the next two. This time it was against No. 19 UC Irvine, where the Aggies toppled UCI 8-3 before dropping the next two 4-3 (12) and 6-3.
Going The Distance:
In Friday’s 8-3 victory over UCI, senior right-hander Spencer Koopmans tossed his first career complete game.
Against The Best:
UCD currently ranks ninth in the country in doubles (91) and fourth in stolen bases (87).
Up For The Challenge:
On Tuesday, UC Irvine takes on its first nationally-ranked opponent since March 10 when it visits No. 2 UCLA, which is set to air on the Pac-12 Network at 7:00 p.m. The Anteaters were successful in their first outing against the Top 25, downing then-ranked No. 9 USC, 6-2.
Bats Heating Up:
Over the years UCI has been known for exceptional pitching but this year their bats have been making some noise. The ‘Eaters are currently ranked third in the Big West with a .283 batting average, a vast improvement from last season’s seventh place finish.
UC Riverside picked up its first Big West win of the season with a 3-2 victory over Long Beach State in the first game of the three-game series, snapping an 11-game skid in the process. They narrowly missed a second win the following night, falling 4-3 in 10 innings due to an error.
With a Big West win under their belt the Highlanders hope to tack on a few more this week when they visit CSUN, who currently sits eighth in the league with a 3-9 conference mark.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Moving On Up:
The Gauchos bumped up to seventh in the NCBWA Top 25 poll, the program’s highest national ranking since the 1986 season. This also marks the second consecutive season that UCSB has been ranked among the top-10 nationally at some point.
UCSB continues to own the conference’s best batting average (.296) and earned run average (2.26). The Gauchos’ 28 overall wins is also the highest of any Big West school. They look to eclipse the 30-win threshold for the third consecutive year this week as they battle Pepperdine in a midweek showdown before visiting Hawai’i over the weekend.
Home Is Where The Win Is:
Hawai’i collected its second Big West series win last week, downing CSUN 2-1. The Rainbow Warriors improved to 5-1 in conference home contests, but have yet to pick up a league win on the road this season, going 0-6.
The Big Goose Egg:
In the first game of the CSUN series, LJ Brewster and Quintin Costa-Torres combined for UH’s first shutout win (1-0) since May 3, 2014, against New York Institute of Technology (NYIT).