Final Tune Up Before Conference Play
Big West Baseball Release - Week 6
BIG WEST TID BITS
• Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, who both notched their first weekend series victories last weekend, battle this week in a three-game, nonconference-scoring series before conference play kicks off March 29. The series pits the preseason season favorite to win the conference crown, the Titans, against the Dirtbags, who were selected by the Big West coaches to finish second. The three-game series begins Friday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Goodwin Field.
Cal Poly and Hawai’i remain home for their final tune-up before their Big West openers next week. The Mustangs host Dartmouth, while the Rainbow Warriors, 11-4 in front of their hometown fans, entertain Seton Hall in their weekend series. CSUN visits Missouri State and UC Irvine travels to Southern Illinois. UC Davis and UC Riverside, who has won six of the last eight contests, are idle.
• Hawai’i sits atop the standings with a 12-6 mark and is followed by UC Irvine at 10-8. Rounding out the top three is UC Riverside with a 10-9 record.
• Versus the Nation: Hawai’i paces the Big West and ranks 23rd in the nation in ERA with a 2.81 mark...UC Irvine sports the 11th-best fielding percentage of .982....CSUN is hitting .306 to rank 19th, while sitting fourth in home runs....UH and LBSU are knotted in seventh with 19 sacrifice bunts...CSUN’s Albee Weiss sits third in RBI with 30 and seventh in total bases...LBSU’s Clayton Andrews is the nation’s toughest to strike out player, having been struck out once in 74 at bats.
• 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.