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Fullerton In Driver's Seat As Final Week Approaches

5/18/2015

Big West Baseball Release - Week 15


BIG WEST

• For the first time this season all four Big West series were won by a sweep with No. 8 UC Santa Barbara downing No. 22 UC Irvine, No. 21 Cal State Fullerton defeating Hawai’i, Cal Poly toppling UC Riverside and Long Beach State edging UC Davis last weekend.  CSUN, who was at Washington for a nonconference series, also registered a sweep as the Matadors defeated the Huskies 3-2, 6-0 and 3-0.

• As the nine Big West teams enter the final week of the regular season, Cal State Fullerton (16-5) sits atop the standings with a one-game advantage over UC Santa Barbara (15-6). The Titans need to win the series against Long Beach State to guarantee at least a share of their 20th Big West title and a sweep would award them sole possession of the championship.  The two teams met earlier this season for a three-game, nonconference-scoring series with LBSU taking two-of-three from CSF.  Long Beach State won the first game, 4-3, in 12 innings before falling, 2-1, in 10 innings the following night.  The Dirtbags went on to win the tie-breaker 6-1.

The Gauchos, who visit UC Riverside, need CSF to drop at least one game to give UCSB a window of opportunity for its third Big West crown.  Both series are airing on the ESPN family of networks with ESPN3 broadcasting the entire UC Santa Barbara-UC Riverside match up and ESPNU televising the first two games of the Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton showdown.  The final game of the series is slated to air on FOX Prime Ticket.

Cal Poly and UC Irvine are knotted in third place with a 13-8 record and have a glimmer of hope for the title if CSF and UCSB both struggle against their opponents and the Mustangs and ‘Eaters capitalize on the other teams’ misfortune.  The Mustangs visits UC Davis and UC Irvine makes a trip to CSUN for the season-ending series.

• Last Week the NCBWA awarded Cal State Fullerton’s Thomas Eshelman National Pitcher of the Week after shutting down the No. 8 UC Santa Barbara offense, scattering three hits in eight innings of work to lead the Titans to a 3-0 victory and propel the team into first place in the Big West. He walked one Gaucho, his first free pass in conference play, and fanned nine batters en route to his sixth victory of the year.

• Junior Mikey Duarte is one of 25 players competing for the Brooks Wallace Award, an honor given to the top shortstop in the country.Duarte is the lone representative of the Big West and sports a .980 fielding percentage while sitting fourth in the conference in assists with 149.

• Regional hosts and sites for the 2015 NCAA Division I Baseball Committee will be announced online at www.ncaa.com/cws at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 24. The 16 hosts can also be found on the bottom scroll of the ESPN family of networks. The 2015 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Selection Show, with regional pairings and site assignments, will be revealed in a live, hour telecast on ESPNU at 9:00 a.m. (PDT), Monday, May 25.

• 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 aired across ESPN3 and ESPNU platforms this spring.  All games originated from Southern California member institutions Cal State Fullerton, CSUN, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Riverside, and every Big West school made an appearance on the schedule.   In addition, ESPNU and FOX Prime Ticket also aired a select few contests throughout the year.


CAL POLY

CP Captures Conference Sweep:
A sweep over UC Riverside elevated Cal Poly to a tie for third place in the conference standings with a 13-8 mark.  The Mustangs look to end the season on a high note as they travel to UC Davis, who dropped its series to LBSU last week.

Personal Bests:
Entering his final games of his collegiate career, senior third baseman Tommy Pluschkell belted his first career home run in the opening game of the UC Riverside series.  In the same game, Bloomquist established a new season high and matched his career high with 10 strikeouts.


CAL STATE FULLERTON

Title Within Reach:
The Titans are two wins away from capturing at least a share of their 20th Big West title and a sweep over LBSU hands CSF sole possession of the championship.

The Big 3-0:
With a 31-22 record, Cal State Fullerton has now produced 41 consecutive 30-win seasons.

Hot Streak:
The Titans have won 10 of their last 12 contests with their only two losses coming against No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (3-1) and No. 2 UCLA (5-4, 10 inn.).  They close out the season hosting LBSU in a three-game series.


CSUN

Matadors On Fire:
Thanks to a nonconference sweep over Washington last week, the Matadors enter the final week of the regular season riding a five-game win streak.  The Matadors close out 2015 hosting UC Irvine.

O’Neil Sets CSUN Save Record:
In Friday’s 3-2 win over Washington, Conner O’Neil recorded his 10th save of the season, setting a CSUN all-time single season save record.  He went on to collect his 11th save on Sunday with a 3-0 victory over the Huskies.


LONG BEACH STATE

Mathewson Continues To Shine:
Freshman Chris Mathewson tossed his second complete game of the season in LBSU’s 4-2 win over UC Davis last week.  He currently ranks second in the Big West and 26th in the nation with a 1.75 earned run average.  He is holding his opposition to a conference-low .184 batting average.

Conference Recap:
LBSU picked up three more wins last week to bump itself above .500 in conference play with an 11-10 mark.  The Dirtbags end the season taking on league-leading Cal State Fullerton.  The two battled in a nonconference series earlier this season with LBSU winning 2-1.


UC DAVIS

UC Davis Returns Home In Search Of A Win: 
UC Davis is hoping to use its home-field advantage this weekend to snap a five-game skid.  The Aggies, who are 14-8 at Dobbins Field, host Cal Poly in their final series of the 2015 season.

Lynch Becomes Doubles Leader: 
Nick Lynch blasted two more doubles last week, upping his total to a nation-best 31. His mark broke the Big West single-season record of 29, set by CSF’s John Eccles in 1986.  His career total of 56 is a new school record and is one away from cracking the league’s top 10.

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UC IRVINE

Bubble Watch:
UC Irvine, who entered last week in the running for the conference title, suffered its first series sweep since opening weekend as it dropped three straight at No. 8 UC Santa Barbara, with two of the three contests being one-run decisions. With an RPI of 49, the ‘Eaters need to notch some wins this week against No. 2 UCLA (5/19) and CSUN (5/21-23) to improve their postseason resume.

Dynamic Duo:
Led by junior Mikey Duarte and freshman Keston Hiura, UC Irvine ranks second in hitting with a .285 mark.  Duarte currently sits four with a .357 clip while Hiura owns the seventh slot at .341


UC RIVERSIDE

Senior Night:
The Highlanders, currently on an 11-game skid, wrap up the 2015 season at the Riverside Sports Complex hosting No. 8 UC Santa Barbara in a three-game series starting on Thursday.  The final game of the series will honor UC Riverside’s seniors.

Highlander Leaders:
Drake Zarate continues to lead the team with a .326 batting average, while Vince Fernandez has tallied team-bests in hits (62), doubles (15) and RBI (30).  On the mound, Joie Dunyon is sporting a 4.85 ERA in 59.1 innings of work.

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UC SANTA BARBARA

Making History:
The Gauchos currently have 39 wins, which sets a new program record for wins against Division I opponents in a single season (37, 2001).

Triple Threat:
UC Santa Barbara currently paces the Big West Conference in hitting (.290 BA), pitching, (2.39 ERA) and fielding (.977).  The Gauchos’ impressive ERA places them third in the country.

Eyeing The Title:
UCSB (15-6) is within reach of the conference title as it sits one game back of league-leading CSF (16-5) with three games remaining.


HAWAI'I
A Look Back:
After sweeping its opponents for two straight weeks, Hawai’i was on the receiving end of a sweep last week as the visiting Titans downed the Rainbow Warriors 4-0, 4-2 and 5-2.

UH Ends 2015 On The Road:
Hawai’i closes out the 2015 season with nonconference action in Arizona.  UH opens the weekend  facing Abilene Christian in Tucson, Ariz., before playing two contests against the Arizona Wildcats.  The Rainbow Warriors finished conference play with a 12-12 mark and currently sit sixth in the standings.