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Big West Weekend Preview (May 27th-29th)

By: Trevor Kuss
The final week of Big West play has 5 games set for action, with all 9 teams active. The Highlanders will travel up to Davis to take on the Aggies. Long Beach State heads over to UC Irvine to take on the Anteaters. Fullerton is back in action and taking on last place Northridge. Pacific travels to Santa Barbara to take on the Gauchos. Cal Poly, having already completed their conference season, will be taking on Cal State Bakersfield. 

CBD Match-up of the Week: Cal State Fullerton at Cal State Northridge

While one team is getting ready for the post-season and one team is simply trying to work things out in hopes of a better 2012 season, the weekend series taking place in Northridge between the Matadors and Titans should be an interesting one. The Titans are most likely going to be hosting a regional bracket, so they will be fine tuning leading up to the post-season but will still be sending the main three weekend starters to the mound, highlighted by Noe Ramirez and Tyler Pill. The Matadors come into the game with 5 wins in Big West play, good for last place in the conference and they will likely still be there after this weekend unless they are able to sweep the Titans and one team sweeps the other in the match-up between the Tigers and Gauchos. Northridge does have a 22-31 record overall which is the 7th best in the Big West, ahead of UC Davis and Pacific. The Matadors problem most of the season has been having enough reliable arms, first-year Head Coach Matt Curtis will have to find recruits to fill that void in the upcoming seasons in order to raise Cal State Northridge higher in the Big West standings.

Titan to watch:
Tyler Pill- Junior- Starting Pitcher/Outfielder

With players like Nick and Noe Ramirez on the roster with him he can get lost in the shuffle but Tyler Pill has been one of the most reliable players for the Titans this year. While he is not the kind of player that has game changing power, having not hit a home run this year and currently has an on-base-percentage higher than his slugging, Pill is a dangerous hitter at the plate. Pill is currently fourth on the team with .319 batting-average and third on the team in on-base-percentage at .421. He has also been a force on the mound, making a reliable Saturday starter to take the mound after Noe Ramirez starts off most weekends. With Vincent Roberts and Noe Ramirez set to square off Friday, Pill taking the mound on Saturday against Paul Tremlin is a clear advantage that the Titans can take advantage of

Matador to watch:
Vincent Roberts- Junior- Starting Pitcher

The Matadors have done a lot of growing during the first year of the Matt Curtis era and starting pitching has been one of the biggest problems they’ve been dealing with. Vincent Roberts has established himself as a reliable arm for his coach. Roberts holds a 3.75 ERA compared to the team average of 5.29. He isn’t an overpowering with only 50 strikeouts in over 74 innings pitched. If the Matadors are going to have a chance at pulling an upset against the Titans, Friday might be there best shot with Roberts on the mount

Fullerton Probable starters

Friday: Noe Ramirez (8-2, 1.76 ERA)
Saturday: Tyler Pill (5-1, 2.26 ERA)
Sunday: Colin O’Connell (7-3, 2.42 ERA)

Northridge Probable Starters
Friday: Vincent Roberts (2-6, 3.75 ERA)
Saturday: Paul Tremlin (2-6, 4.11)
Sunday: Carlos Gonzalez Jr. (1-3, 5.58 ERA)

Long Beach at UC Irvine

The Dirtbags have one of the hardest ends to a schedule, with three of their last four match-ups coming against Arizona State, Fullerton, and Irvine. They young Long Beach state squad will likely take a lot of lessons away from the three weekend sets but they might not have a single win out of the nine games. Long Beach has a 8-13 record away from Blair Field and this weekend series taking place in Irvine will make it very difficult for the Dirtbags to improve greatly on that record. Friday night is likely their best chance at a win with Junior ace Andrew Gagnon taking the mound, it will be a pitchers duel though with the Anteaters sending their ace Matt Summers to mound. Irvine will be fine tuning their team getting ready for wherever they are sent for the regional bracket round. While the Dirtbags will be getting as many answers as they can in preparation for 2012 as they will be returning the core of their team, given the vast number of underclassmen on the team.

Long Beach State Probable Starters
Friday: Andrew Gagnon (4-9, 2.80 ERA)
Saturday: Ryan Strufing (3-2, 4.74 ERA)
Sunday: Shawn Stuart (3-4, 3.49 ERA)

UC Irvine Probable Starters
Friday: Matt Summers (9-2, 1.90 ERA)
Saturday: Matt Whitehouse (3-0, 2.00 ERA)
Sunday: Crosby Slaught (7-1, 3.90 ERA),

UC Riverside at UC Davis

This match-up will be purely for pride as neither team has a shot at the post-season. The Aggies nearly got swept last week against the Gauchos, being shut out Friday and Saturday. Scott Lyman will look to rebound after a rough outing last week, but will have a tough match-up against Friday starter Matt Andriese for the Highlanders. The Aggies will send Senior Scott Chew to the mound for senior day, when he and the four other seniors on the team will be honored. The Highlanders were able to steal a win from the Anteaters last week and will look to get a series win against the Aggies, with the winner of this match-up likely cementing their spot as 5th in the conference with a chance at 4th.

UC Riverside Probable Starters
Friday: Matt Andriese (4-5, 2.91)
Saturday: Eddie Orozco (4-2, 2.54)
Sunday: Dustin Emmons (6-3, 5.91)

UC Davis Probable Starters
Friday: Scott Lyman (3-6, 5.11 ERA)
Saturday: Anthony Kupbens (5-7, 2.31 ERA)
Sunday: Scott Chew (1-1, 5.21 ERA)

Pacific at UC Santa Barbara

The Gauchos head home after getting road series win against the Aggies last week, while the Tigers come of a series loss against the Mustangs. Matthew Vedo and Greg Davis have proven to be a devastating combo on the mound recently. Vedo has been a shut down pitcher many weeks this year but has also been blown out, if the good Vedo shows up on Saturday look for the Gauchos to come away with a series win.

Pacific Probable Starters
Friday: Robbie Richardson (2-2, 6.28 ERA)
Saturday: Marcus Pointer (4-7, 5.46 ERA)
Sunday: Jake Hummel (4-5, 4.63 ERA)

UC Santa Barbara Probable Starters
Friday: Greg Davis (5-5, 3.40 ERA)
Saturday: Matthew Vedo (5-6, 4.83 ERA)
Sunday: Nick Capito (4-3, 3.17 ERA)

Cal Poly at Cal State Bakersfield

Cal Poly won’t be making a trip to the playoffs, but CSU Bakersfield will. The Roadrunners have done so behind the arm of Mike McCarthy. The Mustangs were able to come away with a series win away from Baggett Stadium last weekend despite struggling away from San Luis Obispo and they will look to do so again with this out-of-conference series against the tough Roadrunners.

Cal Poly Probable Starters
Friday: Mason Radeke (8-3, 3.11 ERA)
Saturday: Steven Fischback (7-2, 3.27 ERA)
Sunday: Joey Wagman (4-2, 3.75 ERA)

CSU Bakersfield Probable Starters
Friday: Mike McCarthy (7-6, 1.65 ERA)
Saturday: Tommy Hoenshell (6-7, 3.06 ERA)
Sunday: Jonathan Montoya (7-5, 3.74 ERA)