UCSB-UCI Showdown On ESPN3 Highlights Big West Docket
Big West Baseball Release - Week 9
BIG WEST TID BITS
• A 5-0 week by preseason favorite Cal State Fullerton, which included a pair of midweek wins against Arizona State, vaulted the Titnas into a tie for first place with Hawai’i and CSUN. The Matadors won their second consecutive series to open Big West play for the first time since 2002 and the team has posted its best conference start (4-2) in five seasons.
The Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara remain in fourth with a 2-1 mark, after battling UTRGV in a nonconference series. UC Irvine and UC Riverside are knotted in fifth with a 3-3 mark and are followed by UC Davis (2-4), Long Beach State (1-2) and Cal Poly (1-5).
• This week UC Santa Barbara travels to Orange County to battle the UC Irvine Anteaters in a three-game series set to air live on ESPN3. The Anteaters are coming off their first conference series win of the season after downing Long Beach State, 2-1, while the Gauchos have won five of their last six contests.
• Two of the three teams tied for first place continue league action this week, while Cal State Fullerton visits San Diego State in a nonconference series. Hawai’i opens the home portion of Big West play this weekend as it entertains UC Riverside, while CSUN hosts Long Beach State. Cal Poly and UC Davis, each looking for their first conference series win of 2018, square off at Baggett Stadium.
• Last week, Cal State Fullerton Junior Colton Eastman was named the National Pitcher of the Week by Perfect Game and the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association after he tossed the fifth no-hitter in program history at UC Santa Barbara. He struck out seven and walked just one en route to CSF’s first no-hitter since May 24, 2014.
• Versus the Nation: UC Davis ranks 25th with a .297 batting average...CSUN, UH and UCD are knotted in 21st with 30 double plays...CSUN is sitting fifth in home runs with 47 and 10th in slugging percentage (.485)....Hawai’i is second in sacrifice bunts with 33, while LBSU and CSF also rank in the top 10 with 32 and 31 sacrifice bunts...CSUN’s Trevor Casanova and Hawai’i’s Adam Fogel have each notched 14 doubles to sit in seventh place...UCI’s Andre Pallante holds the 10th spot with an impressive 1.16 ERA...CSUN’s Albee Weiss is fourth with 13 home runs..UH’s Jonathan Weeks paces the nation with 12 sacrifice bunts...UH’s Dylan Thomas owns nine saves to sit 6th, while LBSU Chris Rivera’s eight saves earns him the 11th slot.
• 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.
• 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.