Baseball Enters Month Two of Season With Home Series
Big West Conference Baseball Release - Week 5
BIG WEST TID BITS
• The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced the official watch list for the 2018 Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com last week and Fullerton’s Daniel Cope is one of 97 catchers nominated for the award by their coaches.
• The Big West notched three wins against Top 15 teams last week. Long Beach State squeaked by No. 10 Vanderbilt, 5-4, in a midweek contest, while Hawai’i and Cal State Fullerton both kicked off weekend series with a victory. The Titans downed No. 1 Oregon State, 5-3, while the Rainbow Warriors upset No. 13 LSU, 4-2 in front of 10,686 fans at Alex Box Stadium. Entering the game with just three home runs through 11 games in the pitcher-friendly confines of Les Murakami Stadium, the Rainbow Warriors made the most of the less-dense Louisiana air with three long balls proving to be the difference in the victory over the Southeastern Conference-based Tigers.
This week Cal Poly hosts No. 25 San Diego State for a three-game series and CSUN battles No. 14 UCLA Wednesday, which was previously scheduled for Tuesday before being moved due to impending rain.
• Versus the Nation: CSUN is hitting .327 to rank eighth in the nation while slugging a .580 to place second...The Matadors’ 32 home runs is good enough for second in the nation...UH’s 2.63 earned run average places them 20th...UC Irvine sports a .980 fielding percentage to rank 23rd. UH’s Jonathan Weeks and LBSU’s Clayton Andrews are knotted in the second slot with six sacrifice bunts...UH’s Dylan Thomas five saves is good enough for fifth....CSUN’s Albee Weiss has belted nine home runs to lead the nation....Notching three triples this season places CSUN’s Justin Toemer in third place.
• UC Irvine head baseball coach Mike Gillespie announced he will retire at the end of the 2018 season and will be replaced by associate head coach Ben Orloff, UCI athletic director Mike Izzi announced. Gillespie has amassed 361 wins since joining UCI in 2008. Under Gillespie’s guidance, UC Irvine made five trips to the NCAA postseason, including a College World Series (2014), the year he was named National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Coach of the Year.
• Cal State Fullerton was selected to claim the 2018 Big West Conference Baseball Championship, according to the nine conference coaches that voted. 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.
• The top three teams in the Big West Baseball Preseason Coaches poll will be featured on ESPNU this season. Cal Poly, hosting an ESPNU regular season game for the first time since May 9, 2010, welcomes Long Beach State to Baggett Stadium on Friday, April 20. The Dirtbags will also host rival Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, May 24. It’s a rematch of the 2017 best-of-three NCAA Super Regional at Blair Field, which the Titans won to advance to their 18th College World Series.