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LBSU Captures Big West Conference Crown

5/23/2017

Big West Baseball Release - Week 15
 
BIG WEST TID BITS


• With a sweep over Hawai’i last week, No. 7 Long Beach State improved to 18-3 in league play, owning a four-game lead over Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly with three games left, to capture its ninth Big West Conference title and first since 2008.  With the conference title, LBSU earns the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Championship, its 22nd appearance.  The Titans and Mustangs are currently knotted in second with a 14-7 record, while CSUN sits fourth with a 12-12 mark.  UC Davis is fifth at 9-12 and is followed by Hawai’i in sixth.  There is a three-way tie for seventh as UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside and UC Irvine all own a 7-14 league mark.

• The newly-crowned Dirtbags visit 2016 Big West Conference Champion Cal State Fullerton this week for a rare Thursday-Saturday series to close out the season.  Long Beach State will use this series to jockey itself into position for a possible NCAA host site, while Cal State Fullerton will be playing for an at-large bid into the 2017 NCAA Baseball Championship.  The first two games air on ESPN3, while FOX Prime Ticket is slated to broadcast the final game of the series at 7:00 pm.

• Regional hosts and sites for the 2017 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship will be announced by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 28 on the NCAA baseball social media channels, as well as the BottomLine of the ESPN Networks at 6:00 p.m. The 2017 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Selection Show, with regional pairings and site assignments, will be revealed in a live, one-hour telecast on ESPNU at 9:00 a.m. (PDT), Monday, May 29.

• Last week, LBSU catcher David Banuelos was named a semifinalist for the 2017 Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com. The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced the 15 semifinalists for the award, given to the nation’s top collegiate catcher each year since the award’s creation in 2000.  He is currently batting .321 with a .388 on-base percentage, and is second on the team in home runs (7) and slugging (.538). Defensively, Banuelos has thrown out 17 of the 27 attempted base-stealers he’s faced.
 
• No. 7 Long Beach State currently ranks third in the nation in shutouts with nine.  In 2016, the Dirtbags pitching staff only recorded five shutouts.

Along with their impressive shutout count, the Dirtbags are sporting a 3.14 earned run average to rank eighth in the country.  They are led by senior Dave Smith, who has allowed just 12 earned runs in 61.0 innings for a league-leading 1.70 ERA, to rank 10th in the nation.

• The Big West Conference has three of the nation’s top 5 teams for walks allowed per nine innings.  Hawai’i is first at 2.20 with Long Beach State sitting fourth with a 2.35 mark. Cal State Fullerton slid to the fifth slot as its pitching staff has allowed just 2.41 walks per nine innings.

• A pair of teams are showcasing Top 25 defenses as Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State both own a .980 fielding percentage to rank 12th in the country at .980. 

• Cal State Fullerton junior Scott Hurst has been named one Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s National Players of the Week, after his historic four-homer performance on Saturday vs. CSUN. The outfielder had a 5-for-5 day at the plate, setting career highs in RBI (7) and runs scored (6) as the Titans enjoyed a 16-7 victory.  With his four homers, Hurst tied the school record by Sam Favata, who initially set the mark of April 23, 1980 against La Verne.  Hurst also joined UNLV’s Gus Kennedy (1994) as the only two Big West players to hit four homers in a game, while he joins Louisville’s Brendan McKay as one of just two players to have hit four home runs across college baseball this season.
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