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Play Ball! Big West Baseball Starts Friday

2/13/2018

The season opens Friday, so let's play ball!Big West Baseball Release - Week 1

•  No. 10 Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly open the 2018 season against some tough competition.  The Titans travel to No. 9 Stanford for a three-game series, while the Mustangs face off against No. 2 Oregon State in their final matchup of the Surprise Tournament in Arizona. Prior to the showdown with the Beavers, they battle Gonzaga and New Mexico.

Defending Big West champion Long Beach State hosts Saint Mary’s opening weekend.  CSUN, UC Irvine and Hawai’i also kick off the new year in front of their hometown fans, while UC Davis visits CSU Bakersfield. UC Riverside plays two contests each against Washington State and Nebraska on a neutral field in Tempe, Ariz.

•  The Cal State Fullerton Titans have been selected to claim the 2018 Big West Conference Baseball Championship, according to the nine conference coaches that voted on the Big West baseball preseason poll.   The Titans earned six first-place votes en route to a total of 73 points.  Defending Big West Champion Long Beach State sits second with two-first place votes and 65 total points and Cal Poly is one point back after collecting 64 points to hold the third slot. UC Santa Barbara, who showcases the 21st-best recruiting class in the country, according to DI Baseball,  sits fourth with 49 points and is closely followed by CSUN and its 48 points.  The Anteaters of UC Irvine, who earned one first-place vote and a total of 43 owns the sixth slot, while Hawai’i (27) clinched the seventh slot.  UC Riverside ranked eighth (26) and UC Davis (10) rounded out the nine-team field.

• Cal State Fullerton begins the 2018 baseball season nationally ranked in all polls, with its highest ranking of 10th being handed out from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).

• UC Santa Barbara baseball had an accolade-filled offseason which included national rankings in all four major recruiting polls and a selection as a top-40 program by DI Baseball. With the inclusion in DI Baseball’s rankings, UCSB is the only Big West school to have appeared in every recruit poll this offseason. The Gauchos’ best ranking came from Collegiate Baseball, which had them at No. 19.

Aside from UC Santa Barbara, Collegiate Baseball also recognized a trio of Big West Conference schools - Cal State Fullerton UC Riverside and CSUN. The Titans garnered 27th while the Highlanders received the 34th spot in last fall’s list.  The Matadors rounded out the field with the 40th slot.

• Cal State Fullerton right-handed hurler Colton Eastman earned a spot on USA Baseball’s 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list. The Golden Spikes Award is given out to the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2017 season. Eastman is one of just five athletes on the list to be featured now in back-to-back seasons with preseason recognition and the lone member from the Big West Conference.

• A quartet of Big West players were recognized on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year preseason watch list - Cal Poly’s Michael Clark, Cal State Fullerton’s Brett Conine, Long Beach State’s Chris Rivera and Hawai’i’s Dylan Thomas. This award is given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I Baseball.