The Bay Area is scheduled for some nasty weather this weekend, and there’s even snow possibly in the forecast in San Francisco for the first time since the 1970′s. The USF Dons (0-4) look to turn around its season after a rough opening stretch against UCLA as they play UC Davis in a home/away/home series this weekend. Weather will probably get in the way Friday with a double dip sometime either Saturday or Sunday. I spoke with USF Head Coach Nino Giarratano this week about his teams efforts to rebound over the weekend.
On Facing Gerrit Cole and playing UCLA close
“First day out we lose a 1-0 game, we had first and third with a chance to tie against Gerrit Cole, who was 94-98 with an 87 MPH slider with a changeup that is his best pitch. I thought we had some great AB’s we just werent able to score. ”
On Matt Lujan’s effort against UCLA in Game 1
“Gotta tip my hat to Matt(8 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 9K), a kid that’s been a starter in our program for three years, going into his fourth year. All four of his pitches were working every time, I thought it was a great start for him, and liked how he stepped up to the challenge and gave our team an opportunity to win for 9 innings.”
On the slow start
“You start the season with these high expectations, but you find that you continually need to work and were here working on some things and hoping to get better. Just lacking getting that big base hit right now”
On Matt Hiserman pitching well and fully recovering from his skull fracture from last season:
“Matt probably should have been scoreless through 6, they were pretty fortunate to get those runs. We’re so happy to have him back, words couldn’t express how proud of him I am to show the fearlessness it takes to compete at this level.”
On the weather this weekend
“Heard a story of snow in the city in 1976, I think it’s once every 40 years and it might just happen again. Start of the season there’s always battles with the weather, hopefully we can stay with it and get on a roll and play some baseball.”
Thanks to Coach Giarratano for taking the time to speak with us. On to the other games of note this weekend.
The #1 UCLA Bruins (4-0) host a hot San Jose State (4-0) squad in Westwood. San Jose is off to a 4-0 start after beating St. Mary’s (CA) in 2 games, as well as UC Davis and Albany. Their relief pitching has been stellar as Zach Jones has 13 K’s in 7.2 innings over 2 appearances, giving up only one hit over that time. All four wins were picked up by relief pitchers over the weekend. The Spartans are only hitting .212 as a team, not conducive to beating UCLA.
UCLA is also 4-0 with a weekend sweep over USF as well as defeating Pepperdine on Tuesday. Three of their four wins have come by the way of shutouts, including an opening game complete game shutout from Gerrit Cole, where he gave up only 4 hits while striking out 11. Sophomore Jeff Gelalich has kept his momentum going from Omaha, hitting .417 to start the year with a double, triple, and two stolen bases. Their bullpen has only logged 9.1 innings over 4 games thus far.
#9 Arizona State (3-0) hosts Delaware (1-2), who picked up a win over UNC-Greensboro over the weekend. ASU swept New Mexico in a scheduled 4 game series that was rain shortened. 3B Riccio Torrez totaled 3 homers over the weekend, one of which was of the inside-the-park variety, as the Sun Devils. He also chipped in a double and 7 RBI to finish the weekend with a .462 batting average, good enough for Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. SS Deven Marrero showed why he was on so many preseason All-American lists as he went 6-12 on the weekend with a double and 2 RBI, and stole two bases as well.
#12 Stanford (3-1) picked up a 3-2 victory in their home opener against Cal (2-1) on Tuesday, getting 4 solid innings out of Jordan Pries striking out 4 and giving up only 1 hit, before handing the ball over to AJ Vanegas for his Stanford debut. Vanegas gave up 2 earned in a shaky fifth innings, but settled down and threw an effective 6th and 7th innings before handing over the ball to Scott Snodgress for his second save of the year. It was announced Tuesday that starter Brett Mooneyham will be out for the year after undergoing surgery on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Mooneyham was at Tuesday’s game in a full cast. After picking up 2 wins at Rice last weekend, the Cardinal head to #3 Vanderbilt (5-0) this weekend with a marquee matchup of Mark Appel and Sonny Gray on Friday.
#30 Cal (2-1) will travel out to the Caravelle Resorts Baseball at the Beach Tournament in Myrtle Beach, SC, to play against #17 Coastal Carolina, NC State and Kansas State. They have been off to a medicore start at the plate, led by 2B Tony Renda hitting .385. 3B Mitch Delfino has been hot at the plate in his 2 starts, hitting 4-5 with a homer and drawing key walks. Junior RHP Erik Johnson dominated on the mound with 8 K’s in 7 IP, giving up only 3 hits and no earned runs in a win against Utah.
#19 Oregon (2-2) dropped their first two games of the weekend in Honolulu against Hawaii, both in the late innings. They rebounded in the third game of the four game set as Madison Boer pitched an 8 inning gem, surrendering only one hit and striking out 7, leading to the 4-0 shutout. Boer earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors for the performance. At the plate, Freshman RF Aaron Jones is off to a scorching start in the leadoff spot, batting .444 with two homers and a double. The Ducks host St. Mary’s (1-2) in their home opening series this weekend at PK Park.
#23 Arizona (3-0) makes a trip to Blair Field to face Long Beach State (1-3) in a Pac-10/Big West showdown. DH Josh Garcia is off to a torrid start at the plate with three homers over the weekend. Kurt Heyer gave up only 5 hits over 7 innings of shutout ball last Friday against North Dakota State, and returns home to face Andrew Gagnon on Friday night. Long Beach capitalized on rival Cal State Fullerton in a game last week to pick up their lone win. Speaking of #15 Fullerton (2-2), they travel to #5 TCU (3-1) tonight for a few marquee pitching matchups, as Noe Ramirez will go against Kyle Winkler tonight, Tyler Pill vs. Stephen Maxwell on Saturday, and Colin O’Connel against Matt Purke on Sunday.
Washington State (2-1) hopes to get some action in this weekend, but they’re looking at below freezing temps all weekend up in Pullman, so their weekend series against UCSB (3-0) could be a wash. Transfer 1B Taylor Ard lived up to the hype this weekend against Cal State Bakersfield as he hit a couple dingers. Adam Conley was stellar on the mound Friday in adverse wind conditions as he gave up 4 hits over 8 innings, surrendering 2 earned and striking out 9. Speaking of Bakersfield (2-2), Washington (1-2) travels down there this weekend hoping to turn things around after a tough opening weekend.
Oregon State (2-2) travels out to Corpus Christi, Texas to face UCONN, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and Indiana, after dropping 2 at Fresno State after taking a couple off Gonzaga to start the season. The Beavers bats need to get going as they only hit .219 over the weekend, but had to like what they saw on the mound out of Freshman LHP Ben Wetzler, who struck out 8 over 4.1 innings against Gonzaga.
USC (3-1) is off to a hot start after beating Missouri, Cal Poly and UC Riverside, and travel to face #18 Rice. The Trojans let a game slip away against North Carolina, and look much improved from 2010 already. Senior 2B Joe De Pinto has been red hot to start off the season, going 3-3 with a triple Tuesday against Riverside and hitting .643 to start the season. On the mound, Austin Wood picked up his first win as a Trojan in a rain shortened effort against Cal Poly, striking out 6 over 5 IP.
UC-Irvine (4-0) will be participating in the MLB RBI Tournament playing against Southern, Bethune-Cookman, and Grambling State this weekend. The Anteaters will host the games on Friday and Sunday but the game against Bethune-Cookman will be at the MLB Urban Academy in Compton, California and shown on national TV by the MLB Network.
Other Series of Note
Cal-Poly at Oklahoma State
UC Riverside at Sacramento State
Valparaiso at Cal State Northridge
Gonzaga at #13 Texas AM
Albany at Santa Clara
Nevada at Loyola Marymount
Pepperdine at Fresno State
San Diego vs San Diego State
Photos courtesy of San Francisco Media Relations