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Big West Weekend Recap

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Friday #7 UC Irvine 4 @ CS Northridge 1
Saturday UCI 1, CSN 0
Sunday UCI 1, CSN 4

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Cal State Northridge (20-24, 6-12) dispatched UC Irvine (30-12, 8-7) 4-1 Sunday, ending a seven-game slide to the ‘Eaters that started in 2006. Northridge avoided the sweep and claimed its 20th win, giving the program its first 20-win season since 2006 and its second since winning the Big West title in 2002.

Ryan Juarez made his third outstanding start in a row on the day and continued what has been the Matadors’ best weekend for starting pitching. Juarez wiggled out of trouble in the first after two walks and an error in the field and settled down considerably after that, handling the ‘Eaters easily in the second and third. A leadoff double bit him in the fourth as Francis Larson came around to score on a balk and a ground out, but Juarez retired the side in order in the fifth and came out unscathed in the sixth and seventh.

Juarez collected the longest outing of his career and finished without a strikeout but with just three hits and one run scattered over seven strong innings.

On the other side, the Anteater pitching continued to be dominant. Starter Daniel Bibona was lights out through six, allowing just one man to reach scoring position in that span. That man, John Parham, reached on a hit by pitch and reached third on a Richard Cates double. Both were stranded.

The hit batsman actually broke up a perfect game bid and the double ruined a no hitter.

Bibona began to unravel in the seventh. The sophomore southpaw struck out Cates to open the frame but surrendered a single through the right side to Chris Hannick and put Ryan Pineda on with a walk.

Following the walk, Matt Warr bounced a ball to third that looked like it may have been two, but an errant throw allowed Pineda to advance and Warr beat the relay to first.

With the bases full, Dominic D’Anna slugged a screamer down the left field line. Third baseman Eric Deragisch got enough leather on it to keep it to a single, but the tying run scored in the form of pinch runner C.J. Belanger. Jason Dabbs followed with a bouncer to second base that was too shallow for two that scored Pineda, and TS Reed singled into left field to clear the bases and give the Matadors a 4-1 lead.

Edwin Quirarte came on for the eighth and, despite an Anteater single in both frames, nailed down the two-inning save. Quirarte moved into seventh on the single-season saves list and is just two behind Mike Frick, who collected nine in 2001. He is also climbing the all-time career charts and is now in a tie for fourth with eight.

Cates finished 2-for-4 on the day, leading six Matadors in the hit column. D’Anna had the key single but TS Reed paced the Matadors with two RBI.

Reed was also the busiest defender on the day, making seven assists and three put outs. His double play partner, shortstop Jason Dabbs, had five assists and played well in his second game back from an injury that shelved him for nearly six weeks.

The Matador pitching staff was dominant for the weekend. Even with four runs allowed on Friday, Northridge surrendered just six runs for the weekend and wrapped up a week that saw the give up just 10 runs and 31 hits in five games.

Friday #19 Cal State Fullerton 7 @ UCSB 4

Saturday CSF 2, UCSB 10
Sunday CSF 11, UCSB 1

Goleta, Calif. – Cory Arbiso allowed only 1 run and 3 hits over eight innings and Gary Brown, Dustin Garneau and Brian Wilson homered Sunday afternoon to lead Cal State Fullerton to a convincing 11-1 win at UC Santa Barbara.

The victory gave the Titans the series, 2 games to 1; a 29-16 overall record; and a Big West mark of 13-5 following their sixth consecutive BWC series win. Arbiso improved to 9-2, winning his ninth start in succession and dropping UCSB to 30-16, 9-6.

Brown’s 2-run homer gave Arbiso a 2-0 lead in the fourth and Garneau followed with a solo blast to make it 3-0. Jared Clark singled home a run in the fifth, Joel Weeks (1) and Josh Fellhauer (2) drove in runs in a 3-run sixth and Wilson hit a 3-run homer in the ninth to highlight the Titans’ offense.

Chuck Higgins, who came into the game with a 7-1 record for the Gauchos, came out 7-2 after allowing 8 hits and 7 runs in five innings of work. The lone Gaucho run came on a home run by Chris McMurray, whose roundtripper broke up Arbiso’s shutout bid in the fifth.

Friday #21 Long Beach St. 6 @ UC Davis 0

Saturday LBSU 4, UC Davis 5
Sunday LBSU 2, UC Davis 3

DAVIS, Calif. – For the second straight game UC Davis put together a three-run rally in the late innings, this time it was in the eighth, and rode a Justin Fitzgerald save to take a Big West Conference series victory and a 3-2 win over No. 23 Long Beach State at Dobbins Stadium Sunday afternoon.

It marks the Aggies’ first-ever series victory over the 49ers and improves them to 9-6 in conference and 29-16 overall. The Dirtbags fall to 27-17 overall and 9-6 against conference opponents. UC Davis scored three runs in the seventh inning yesterday to take that game.

The Aggies were held scoreless until breaking through in the eighth to score three runs and take a 3-2 lead. Evan Hudson and Ty Kelly got back-to-back singles following the first out of the inning, and Jake Jefferies walked on four pitches to load the bases. After a strike out, Kyle Mihaylo cranked a two-run single to left field to tie the game at 2-2. Kevin James then lined a double that bounced over the first baseman’s head to drive in the eventual game-winning run.

“We just never packed it in and kept playing. We finally got a big inning in the eighth,” said Aggie coach Rex Peters. “To beat an elite club like Long Beach State is a big step for our team and our program because we’ve never done it before.”

Andy Suiter got the Aggies out of a jam in the eighth inning after Danny Espinosa singled and advanced to second to record his fourth victory of the season and third this week. Suiter got the final two outs of the inning to eventually strand Espinosa at third base.

Justin Fitzgerald added to his school-record save total with his 10th of the season as he got around a leadoff single from pinch hitter Brandon Godfrey in the ninth inning. Fitzgerald had assisted putouts on a sacrifice bunt and a come-backer before striking out power-hitting Jason Corder to end the game. It was Fitzgerald’s third save of the week and second of the series.

Mihaylo finished a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with a double and the two RBI’s while Ryan Scoma was 3-for-4. James accounted for the other Aggie RBI and double, and Kelly collected two hits to push his hitting streak to 13 games.

Bryan Shaw, who entered the game with a 0.42 ERA and five saves, gave up the three runs in the eighth inning in his first loss of the season. Dirtbag starter Jake Thompson pitched 6.2 scoreless innings in the no decision.

Aggie starter Bryan Evans also pitched effectively through 6.2 innings as he allowed only two runs off seven hits while striking out a game-high three batters. Jeremy McChesney finished the seventh and recorded the first out of the eighth to set the table for Suiter and Fitzgerald.

The Aggies threatened in the seventh inning with a leadoff single from Scoma and a ground-rule double from MIhaylo, but came away without a run after a double play in which Scoma was called out at third base for not tagging up following a fly ball to center field.

Long Beach State scored single runs in the third and fifth innings. Corder finished with three hits, two doubles and both RBI’s. He singled home the run in the third and doubled in another in the fifth.

Friday UC Riverside 7 @ Pacific 6

Saturday UC Riverside 19, Pacific 9
Sunday UC Riverside 6, Pacific 5

UCR used a six-run seventh inning to pick up a 6-5 win and complete a three-game sweep of the Pacific Tigers in Stockton, CA Sunday afternoon. Joey Gonzales finished off a monster weekend by picking up three more hits for the Highlanders (16-25, 10-5 Big West) who have won five of their last six and is now in sole possession of second place in the Big West standings.

Gonzales finished the weekend 7-for-14 and seven runs scored and Drew Garcia added three more RBI Sunday to finish the series with seven RBI. After rallying with two runs in the ninth to win the series opener on Friday, the Highlanders came back from a 5-0 deficit in the series finale to pick up their first series sweep this season.

Pacific (9-34, 2-16 Big West) built their 5-0 lead with a two-run homer in the first inning and a three-run shot in the fourth off of Highlander starter Paul Bargas. Rob Waite relieved Bargas a batter later and held the Tigers two just one hit over his 3.1 innings of work before giving way to Stephen Penney and Joe Kelly who worked perfect eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

The Highlander seventh started with Tony Nix reaching on a hit-by-pitch, followed by a Justin Shultz walk. Jordan Opdyke then singled home Nix for the first run of inning. A batter later, Carl Uhl got hit by the pitch to load the bases for Gonzales. He singled through the left side, bringing home Opdyke to make it a 5-2 ball game. The next batter was Garcia who smacked a bases-clearing triple to centerfielder to tie the game at 5-5. After another walk and fielder’s choice put runners on first and second. Nix, batting for the second time in the inning, doubled down the left field line to score Aaron Wible and give the Highlanders their 6-5 lead.

Penny fired a 1-2-3 eighth and then gave way to Kelly who also set the Tigers down in order to pick up his second save of the series and fifth of the season. Waite improved to 2-4 and Casey Neimeyer (1-2) took the loss for the Tigers.

Nix and Opdyke each picked up two hits, scored a run, and drove in one. Gonzales also stole two bases.

Friday UNLV 7 @ Cal Poly 13

Saturday UNLV 1, Cal Poly 5

Sunday UNLV 6, Cal Poly 8

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior center fielder Logan Schafer and sophomore first baseman Wes Dorrell each knocked in a pair of runs with two base hits as Cal Poly earned its first series sweep of the season, defeating UNLV 8-6 on Sunday afternoon at Baggett Stadium.

Sophomore right-hander Steven Fischback (5-3) struck out eight and walked one in 6 1/3 innings for his fifth win of the year. Senior righty Brian Greniing earned his second save with 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief, allowing just one hit.

With the non-conference baseball win, Cal Poly stretched its winning streak to four games, has won 13 of its last 19 contests and crept to within one victory of the .500 mark for the first time since March 14, improving to 22-23 overall.

UNLV, swept by the Mustangs for the second straight season, fell to 19-28. The Rebels ended a nine-game road trip with Sunday’s loss.

Cal Poly led throughout the game, scoring three times in both the first and third innings. The Rebels closed the gap to 8-6 by the seventh inning before Grening shut the door for his second save of the series to go along with a victory earlier this week against No. 16 Cal.

For the week, Grening pitched 12 innings in three appearances and struck out 13 batters en route to a 1.50 ERA. His ERA, as high as 8.53 in late March, is now down to 5.36. Cal Poly went 4-1 in the week for the third time in the last four weeks.

The loss went to UNLV junior right-hander Marc Baca (1-3), who allowed six runs and four hits in two-plus innings.

In the Mustang first, junior third baseman Brent Morel and Dorrell singled to drive in runs and sophomore shortstop Kyle Smith’s sacrifice fly to right made it 3-0.

Cal Poly added three more runs in the third as Dorrell doubled for one RBI and groundouts by senior second baseman Pat Pezet and freshman designated hitter J.J. Thompson produced the other two runs. For Dorrell, it was his 14th double in the last 19 games.

The Mustangs added insurance runs in the fourth and sixth frames. Schafer belted his fifth home run of the season, a solo shot to center field, in the fourth while a sacrifice fly by Schafer netted the sixth-inning tally.

Schafer, in an 0-for-18 slump earlier this week, has produced nine hits in his last 14 at-bats, lifting his batting average to .359.

UNLV scored its six runs in the middle innings to climb back into the game. Center fielder J.J. Sferra had three hits and one RBI while right fielder Rance Roundy added a double and single for the Rebels who lost despite outhitting Cal Poly 9-8.

For the series, Schafer was 7-for-12 with five RBIs while sophomore left fielder Adam Melker went 4-for-8 with three walks and he was hit three times as well. Morel went 4-for-10 with three RBIs while Dorrell was 5-for-13 with three doubles and eight RBIs.

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