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Big West Play Starts Thursday


The #BigWestQuest begins for #BWCBaseball squads Thursday.Big West Conference Baseball Release - Week 7


 • Big West Conference play opens with a bang this week as the top two teams in the standings square off on television.  Hawai’i (13-8) visits Irvine (12-10) for a three-game series that begins on Thursday due to the Easter holiday.  The first two contests of the series air live on ESPN3, with first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m. both days. This series kicks off a nine-game road trip for the Rainbow Warriors who have only played three road games so far for a 1-2 mark.

Preseason favorite Cal State Fullerton (9-12), winning five of the last seven contests, visits UC Santa Barbara (9-11-1), who is coming off its first sweep of the 2018 season. Cal Poly (11-12) battles CSUN (9-14) and UC Davis (5-12) heads to UC Riverside (10-9) for a Big West showdown.

Long Beach State continues nonconference play for one more week as the Dirtbags travel to Fresno State for a three-game series after an early midweek contest against No. 23 San Diego State.

Thursday, March 29

Cal Poly at CSUN*    3 pm
Cal State Fullerton at UC Santa Barbara*    3 pm
UC Davis at UC Riverside*    6 pm
Long Beach State at Fresno State    6 pm
Hawai’i at UC Irvine* (ESPN3)    6:30 pm

Friday, March 30
Cal Poly at CSUN*    3 pm
Cal State Fullerton at UC Santa Barbara*    3 pm
UC Davis at UC Riverside*    6 pm
Long Beach State at Fresno State    6 pm
Hawai’i at UC Irvine* (ESPN3)    6:30 pm

Saturday, March 31
Cal Poly at CSUN*    1 pm
UC Davis at UC Riverside*    1 pm
Hawai’i at UC Irvine*    2 pm
Long Beach State at Fresno State    2 pm
Cal State Fullerton at UC Santa Barbara*    2 pm

•  On March 25, CSUN’s Albee Weiss blasted his 12th home run of the season, a career-high.  It also marked his 34th of his career to tie Denny Vigo for sixth all time in CSUN history.
Versus the Nation: CSUN is sitting seventh in home runs with 37 and 11th in slugging percentage....LBSU paces the nation with 27 sacrifice bunts...UC Irvine’s Andre Pallante holds the eighth spot with an impressive 0.87 ERA...CSUN’s Albee Weiss is tied for first with 12 home runs...LBSU’s Clayton Andrews is knotted in first with nine sacrifice bunts while UH’s Jonathan Weeks sits fourth with eight.  Andrews also is the toughest in the nation to strikeout, as he has been struck out once in 86 at bats...LBSU’s Chris Rivera has tallied seven saves to lock down the eighth spot.

• 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 NCBWA Coach of the Year. 

•  Cal State Fullerton was selected to claim the 2018 Big West Conference Championship, according to the nine conference coaches.  The Titans earned six first-place votes en route to a total of 73 points.  Defending Big West Champion Long Beach State was second with two-first place votes and 65 total points and Cal Poly was 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,  ranked fourth with 49 points and closely followed by CSUN and its 48 points.  UC Irvine, who earned one first-place vote and a total of 43 owned 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. Twelve conference baseball contests are also scheduled to appear on ESPN3.