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Baseball In Full Swing

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This Week in the Big West - February 22-28, 2016


Big West Baseball Release - Week 2

• A pair of teams opened the 2016 season unscathed as they shut down their respective West Coast Conference opponents with a combined record of 8-0.  The Cal Poly Mustangs took care of business against former Big West Conference foe Pacific with a perfect 4-0 record on their home turf.  UC Santa Barbara opened the season outscoring San Francisco, 34-15, in four games en route to a 4-0 home mark.

• After the first weekend of play Long Beach State sits atop the Big West Conference with an impressive 1.67 team ERA.  The Dirtbags were also stellar on defense in their opening weekend as they were the only league team to commit zero errors for a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.  Offensively, UC Santa Barbara tops the chart after notching a .353 batting average.

• The Cal State Fullerton Titans have been tabbed the team to beat in 2016 as they begin their quest to defend the Big West Conference title, according to the nine conference coaches that voted on the 2016 Big West baseball preseason poll.   The Titans earned four first-place votes en route to a total of 71 points while UC Irvine, who received one first-place vote, holds the second spot with 65 points. Long Beach State secured the third slot after earning three first-place votes for a total of 62 points and the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara picked up the final first-place vote and tallied 60 points to finish fourth.

With 44 total points, CSUN clinched the fifth spot and Cal Poly, who captured its first-ever title in 2014, landed sixth with 43 points.  Hawai’i ranked seventh with 27 points and was followed by UC Riverside (17) and UC Davis (16).

• Last fall Collegiate Baseball announced its annual evaluation of the NCAA Division I recruiting classes and Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara landed on the elite list.  The Titans secured the 24th spot while the Gauchos grabbed the 36th slot.  Other Big West teams recognized as having notable recruiting classes were UC Riverside, UC Irvine, Cal Poly and Long Beach State. The CBN’s ranking uses only players who joined their respective programs for the 2015-16 school year and excludes all signees who decided to sign a professional contract.

• A selection of Big West baseball games will be carried on ESPN3 this season with all games originating from Southern California member institutions Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Riverside. Every Big West team will make an appearance on the televised baseball schedule.

Through the Big West’s new mobile production facility, each game will be produced by the Conference utilizing full ESPN production standards, including graphics, replay and on-air crew. It is the first fully operational mobile production unit of its kind that expands upon what ESPN Emerging Technology has already done at the institutional level.

Every game on ESPN’s platforms is available through WatchESPN, accessible online at, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, on Apple TV and Roku to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.

Perfect Start: Cal Poly opened the 2016 season with a 4-0 mark against Pacific, outscoring the Tigers 38-13, which includes a dominating 19-2 performance in the final contest.  Cal Poly’s 19-run outburst is the most since a 21-0 triumph over Pacific in 2011.  The Mustangs continue their 12-game, season-opening homestand against nationally-ranked UCLA (3 games) and Michigan this week.

A Hit To Remember:
Freshman Nick Meyer’s first collegiate hit scored Michael Sanderson from second base in the 10th inning and lifted Cal Poly to a 7-6 victory over Pacific. 

Broken Streak: For the first time since 2002, Cal State Fullerton recorded a victory (4-3) at  Sunken Diamond, home to the Stanford Cardinal, thanks to the efforts of freshman Colton Eastman.  The freshman shutdown the first 16 batters before giving up three runs, two earned.

Fans Prepare For Home Opener: Following a 1-2 record opening weekend, Cal State Fullerton opens the home portion of its schedule Friday as it prepares for a three-game series against Indiana.  In 2015, the Titans were 21-8 when playing at Goodwin Field.

Power At The Plate:
Senior transfer Branden Berry has already made his presence felt in the first weekend of play as he belted a pair of home runs in his first game as a Matador.  He is currently ranked number one in the conferencewith a 1.250 slugging percentage, tied for fifth with a .500 batting average and third in runs batted in with five.

Busy Week Ahead:
CSUN is back in action Tuesday with a midweek showdown at Pepperdine before returning home to entertain Northern Colorado in a four-game weekend series.


Strong Showing By Pair Of Sophomores:
Sophomore Darren McCaughan, who filled in for injured Chris Mathewson, pitched a career-high seven innings in LBSU’s 7-1 Friday night victory over Holy Cross.  He also tallied a career-best six strikeouts.  At the plate, Luke Rasmussen also had a stellar night as he put up career-bests in both hits (3) and RBI (3).

Challenging Week Ahead:
Long Beach State faces its first Top 25 opponent this week as it travels to No. 14 UCLA Tuesday evening before returning home to host the always tough Arizona State Sun Devils in a weekend series.

98, 99, 100...:
UC Davis’ first win of the 2016 season, a 4-3 victory over the Portland Pilots, handed head coach Matt Vaughn his 100th win of his coaching career.  Currently in his fifth season at the Aggies’ skipper, Vaughn owns a 100-127-1 career mark.

Cardinalli On Fire:
Junior Mark Cardinalli blasted a .500 hitting percentage opening weekend, placing him in a tie for fifth in the Big West Conference.  He registered four hits, one run and one RBI.

The Untouchables:
In UC Irvine’s season-opening series against San Jose State, an ‘Eater  trio of Shaun Vetrovec, Elliot Surrey and Chris Vargas combined  for 14 scoreless innings.  Vetrovec earned a victory in UCI’s 11-0 win, while Surrey notched four scoreless innings in game one’s 3-2 victory.

Hometown Fans:
The Anteaters kick off the home portion of their schedule Tuesday against San Diego State before entertaining Nevada in a weekend series.  UC Irvine went 18-8 last season at Cicerone Field At Anteater Park.


Highlander Leaders:
AJ Sawyer paces UC Riverside with a .429 batting average and is tied for first with three hits and two doubles.  On the mound, Angel Landazuri posted a 1.29 ERA in UCR’s lone win against Kansas State over the weekend.  In 7.0 innings of work, he allowed just four hits and one run while striking out three.

Live At The Plex:
UC Riverside continues its eight-game, season-opening homestand with a four-game series versus Washington, which begins Thursday at 6:00 p.m.

Explosive Offense:
UC Santa Barbara came out swinging, as it notched a Big West-best .353 batting average and outscored San Francisco 34-15.  The Gauchos had five players hit .400-or-better over the weekend and the team combined for a league-best four home runs.

Muno Narrowly Misses Cycle:
JJ Muno finished a single short of UCSB’s first cycle in almost 20 years. He doubled in the first inning, tripled in the second, and then capped off his day with a two-run home run over the right-center field fence, the first of his collegiate career.

UH Struggles At Home:
Over the weekend, Hawai’i went 1-2 against New Mexico and in its lone win, the Rainbow Warriors needed extra innings to secure the victory.  Hawai’i wraps up its series with New Mexico Monday before heading to the Bay Area over the weekend to battle San Francisco.

Leading the ‘Bows: Jacob Sheldon-Collins is tied for first in the conference with eight hits and Matt LoCoco is second with six runs scored.