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A Look Back At The 2017 Baseball Season


Big West Baseball Release - Final


• No. 7 Long Beach State tallied a 20-4 in league play and secured a four-game lead over Cal Poly to capture its ninth Big West Conference title and first since 2008.  With the conference title, LBSU earned the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Championship, its 22nd appearance.  The Mustangs finished second at 16-8 and were followed by Cal State Fullerton with a 15-9 league record.  CSUN finished an even 12-12 to secure the fourth slot and Hawai’i and UC Davis ended 2017 knotted in fifth with a 10-14 record.  The Anteaters of UC Irvine were seventh with a 9-15 mark, while UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside finished tied for eighth after posting a 8-16 league record.

• The Big West Conference sent two teams to the 64-team NCAA Baseball Championship.  Big West Champion Long Beach State and at-large selection Cal State Fullerton.  The Dirtbags hosted a Regional for the first time since 2008, while the Titans hit the road for the Stanford Regional.  Both advanced to the Super Regional where they battled each other at Blair Field for a spot in the College World Series. Cal State Fullerton was the victor of the best-of-three showdown and made its 18th appearance in Omaha, and its second in three years.

• UC Irvine’s Keston Hiura, the 2017 Big West Player of the Year, concluded the regular season as the nation’s top hitter (.442) and on-base percentage leader with a .567 mark.  His explosive batting average qualified as the highest in a single season in UCI history as he joins Tom Spence, .403 in 1971, and Mike Nagle, .402 in 1981, as the only Anteaters to hit .400 in a season.

• UC Santa Barbara’s Austin Bush blasted 20 homers this season, a new Gauchos single-season record, to rank 10th in the country.  In May alone he blasted 10 long bombs.  He is currently tied for fourth all-time in UCSB’s record book with 34 career home runs.

• UC Riverside’s Mark Contreras knocked eight triples this season to rank second in the nation.. Earlier in the year, Contreras tied an NCAA single-game record with three triples in the Highlanders’ 7-4 win over San Diego Sate.

• The Big West Conference has three of the nation’s top 10 teams for walks allowed per nine innings.  Hawai’i finished the year with the nation’s best mark at 2.25. Long Beach State finished the year in the fourth slot as its pitching staff allowed just 2.44 walks per nine innings.  Cal State Fullerton concluded 2017 with a 2.55 mark to finish in the sixth slot.

• A pair of teams showcased Top 25 defenses as Cal State Fullerton finished 10th with .980 fielding percentage and Long Beach State concluded the year ranked 16th with a .979 mark.

• USA Baseball announced the coaching staff for the 2017 Collegiate National Team and Dave Snow, Troy Buckley (Long Beach State), Rick Vanderhook (Cal State Fullerton) and Larry Lee (Cal Poly) join manager John Savage (UCLA). 


• The Big West sent two teams to the 64-team NCAA Baseball Championship.  Big West Champion Long Beach State and at-large selection Cal State Fullerton.  The Dirtbags hosted a Regional for the first time since 2008, while the Titans hit the road for the Stanford Regional.  Both teams advanced to the Super Regional, but unfortunately their respective Regionals were paired up so the SoCal rivalry heated up once again in a three-game-series for the third time this season.  Long Beach State hosted the Super Regional, its first appearance since 2004.  This marked the first time in conference history that two Big West teams met in Super Regional action and the first time two conference teams have met in the postseason since Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine squared off in the 2007 College World Series. The Titans ultimately one the Big West Super Regional showdown, 2-1, to earn their 18th trip to the College World Series.

• With Cal State Fullerton headed to its 18th College World Series, it marks the fourth consecutive year the Big West Conference has sent a team to Omaha - UC Irvine (2014), Cal State Fullerton (2015) and UC Santa Barbara (2016).

• The Big West has sent at least one team to the Super Regionals 14 out of the last 15 years with Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State advancing this year.  The 2012 season was the lone year where the Big West was not represented at the Super Regionals.

• Since 2000 the Big West Conference has posted a 142-98 (.592) record in the NCAA Tournament, which includes 20 Super Regional appearances, nine College World Series participants and one national champion (Cal State Fullerton, 2004). 

• The Big West has had two baseball National Championships, with both of them claimed by the Cal State Fullerton Titans (1995, 2004).  The other two titles the Titans earned in 1979 and 1984 were when they were competing in the Southern California Baseball Association (SCBA).  In all, the conference has sent five different teams to the College World Series - Cal State Fullerton, former member Fresno State (1988, 1991), Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara.

• The Big West has enjoyed a tradition of representation at the College World Series.  In fact, at least one Big West school has reached Omaha 19 times. Fullerton  brought home the Big West’s first national title in 1995 and then brought home a second in 2004.

1975 - Cal State Fullerton
1988 - Cal State Fullerton, Fresno State
1989 - Long Beach State
1990 - Cal State Fullerton
1991 - Long Beach State, Fresno State
1992 - Cal State Fullerton
1993 - Long Beach State
1994 - Cal State Fullerton
1995 - Cal State Fullerton (NCAA champ)
1998 - Long Beach State
1999 - Cal State Fullerton
2001 - Cal State Fullerton
2003 - Cal State Fullerton
2004 - Cal State Fullerton (NCAA champ)
2006 - Cal State Fullerton
2007 - Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine
2009 - Cal State Fullerton
2014 - UC Irvine
2015 - Cal State Fullerton
2016 - UC Santa Barbara
2017 - Cal State Fullerton

The Last Time In NCAA Tournament The Big West...

Received three NCAA bids - 2016
Received four NCAA bids - 2014
Did not host a regional - 2016
Had more than one team host a regional - 2015 (CSF/UCSB)
Hosted a super regional - 2013
Had two teams host a super regional - 2004 (LBSU/CSF)
Went 0-2 in the regionals - 2009 (CP)
Won the CWS - 2004 (CSF)
Went 0-2 in the CWS - 2017 (CSF)
Sent multiple teams to the CWS -
    2007 (UCI/CSF)
Had two teams face-off -
    2017 (LBSU vs. CSF - Supers)

How Many Times In NCAA Tournament Has Big West...

Received just one NCAA bid - five
Received two NCAA bids - 12
Received three NCAA bids - 14
Received four NCAA bids - four
Received five NCAA bids - never
Hosted two regionals the same year - five
Sent team to College World Series - 21 years
Had two teams in CWS the same year - three
Won the championship - twice (‘95, ‘04)


Twenty-six Big West Conference athletes were selected on the final day of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Draft, increasing the league’s draftee total to 38, tying for sixth-highest total in conference history.

Big West Conference Champion Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara paced the conference with eight selections apiece. The Dirtbags had two selected on the second day with catcher David Banuelos going in the fifth round (153rd) to the Seattle Mariners and outfielder Brock Lundquist headed to the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth round (189th).  Six more Long Beach State players were nabbed on day three to up its total to eight.   

The Gauchos had a busy day three as all eight of their players were drafted on the final  Teammates Austin Bush and Alex Garcia both were picked in the 15th round to get things going for UCSB.  Bush was the 440th selection for the Atlanta Braves, while Garcia went to the Philadelphia Phillies as the 443rd overall pick.

Cal State Fullerton witnessed seven players drafted and two of its first three players selected were pitchers as Connor Seabold was nabbed in the third round by the Phillies and John Gavin  was the San Francisco Giants’ eighth round pick.

UC Irvine had four players selected, including Keston Hiura, who was the first Big West Conference player selected as he went ninth overall to the Milwaukee Brewers, the highest-ever pick in UC Irvine program history, eclipsing Anteater Jeff Malinoff as the No. 22 overall selection in 1974.  It also ties him for the 11th-highest pick in Big West Conference history as Cal State Fullerton’s Mark Kotsay (1996) and Long Beach State’s Kyle Abbott (1989) both went as the ninth selection in their respective years.

Cal Poly and UC Riverside each had three players drafted, while UC Davis and Hawai’i showcased two players each in this year’s draft.  CSUN earned one selection to guarantee every Big West school at least one player drafted.