A Dirtbag scores on a wild pitch from Justin Jones.

SoCal Weekend Wrap: Several Competitive Series Wins

A Dirtbag scores on a Justin Jones wild pitch.What a busy but outstanding weekend of college baseball in Southern California!

With 10 of the 11 teams in our SoCal coverage area playing at home this weekend, there was plenty of baseball to watch. I racked up 468 miles of driving on what felt like hundreds of different traffic-infested highways and freeways, but I was able to attend seven different games this weekend, providing you with live updates on Twitter (@SoCal_CBDaily) throughout the entirety.

We posted six photo galleries of action from SoCal games this weekend, including Sunday’s wild 11-10 rubber match between Cal State Fullerton and Texas Christian. We also have videos talking with players and coaches that are being worked on in the editing room and should be available soon, but first a recap of the weekend action.

Caught in ‘The Rundown’

There were a four huge series this weekend with top 50-caliber teams squaring off, so we’ll start this week’s rundown there:

#25 Baylor at #22 UCLA — It looked like UCLA’s season might be over sooner rather than later the way they played Friday when Baylor mopped the floor with the Bruins in a 15-3 rout. But the Bruins showed some fight coming back to win the series against what had been one of the hottest teams in the nation. It’s very early in the season to have a turning point, but Saturday’s tie-breaking five-run sixth inning may have just been that. They followed Saturday’s 9-3 win with a come-from-behind 8-6 win Sunday spurred by a four-run eighth inning. Jeff Gelalich hit well all weekend and Pat Valaika had four RBI Sunday.

Errors hurt the Horned Frogs.

#15 Texas Christian at Cal State Fullerton— It wasn’t the best baseball ever played (as evidenced by the 12 combined errors), but it doesn’t get much more entertaining then this weekend’s series won 2-1 by Fullerton. The three games were decided by four total runs. In each game, the losing team had the tying run in scoring position in their final at bat. An ill-advised slash play in the ninth inning turned into a double play Friday night costing the Titans, but they bounced back with a 4-2 win Saturday night with great pitching by Kenny Mathews and Koby Gauna. Fullerton took advantage of five TCU errors Sunday to take an 11-3 lead early and held on as the Horned Frogs kept chipping away until time ran out on TCU in an 11-10 travel curfew shortened game.

Cal at Long Beach State — Troy Buckley’s pitching staff really showed its merits this weekend, holding a strong offensive Cal squad to seven runs as the Dirtbags took two of three. Kyle Friedrichs was great in relief Friday night as the offense roughed up Cal ace Justin Jones in a 7-4 win and starters Matt Anderson (6 IP, 0 R) and Ryan Strufing (8 IP, 1 ER) were lights out Saturday and Sunday. Long Beach just barely missed a sweep, losing Saturday’s game 2-1 in 10 innings. In true Dirtbag form, they managed to win Sunday’s game despite only two hits.

Fresno State at Pepperdine — The Waves continue to play strong baseball early for coach Steve Rodriguez as they took two of three from Fresno State. Miles Silverstein scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning Friday afternoon giving Jon Moscot a well-deserved win (8 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 9 K). On Saturday, Scott Frazier was roughed up in an 8-4 loss after he had been the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week last week. Corey Miller (7 IP, 0 ER) won the rubber match on Sunday with his second gem of the season. Freshman Aaron Brown continued his strong start with RBI in each game and his second save.

Sweep City:
Akron at USC — The Trojans took care of Akron in handy fashion 12-1, 10-2, 9-5. Andrew Triggs (8 IP, 4 H, ER, 8 K) and Ben Mount (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 8 K) had stellar performances on the mound in the first two games. USC came out a little flat on Sunday but got a big boost in the second inning when Alex Sherrod hit a grand slam, his second homer of the weekend. Matt Foat hit his first homer of the season and had six hits, but he was bested by Kevin Swick’s 7-for-11 weekend.

Alex Muren allowed only one hit in a complete game.

Northwestern at Cal State Northridge — If the Fullerton/TCU series was compelling, this series was nailbiting. The Matadors managed a three-game sweep with a three-run differential. Starter Alex Muren threw the school’s first one-hitter in the first game of the series, but five walks and a couple errors gave Northwestern an early lead that the Matadors had to overcome in their final at bat. Northridge battled back again in the second game scoring the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning and winning the game in extra innings. In Sunday’s late-inning drama, a ground rule double kept a Northwestern runner from potentially scoring. Following an intentional walk to load the bases, reliever Justin Gorski got an inning-ending flyout and Louis Cohen stranded a runner at second in the ninth inning to give Northridge the sweep.

San Diego in the USD Tournament — The Toreros weren’t very gracious tournament hosts as they blew out Kansas State (15-1) and #21 Oregon State ( and knocked off Pacific twice, including Sunday’s come-from-behind win. After falling behind 3-0, San Diego scored four unanswered runs with the game-winner coming on a squeeze play in the seventh inning. Sunday’s starting pitcher Max Homick was the only starter to give up more than two runs, but Drew Jacobs was excellent out of the bullpen with four scoreless innings. The real story was the middle of the lineup, however. Kris Bryant, Corey LeVier and Bryan Haar combined for 23 hits in the 3-4-5 spots. Bryant led the way with nine RBI on a 9-for-19 weekend.

Splitsville:
San Diego State in the USD Tournament — The Aztecs salvaged the weekend with a dramatic, come-from-behind win in their final game. San Diego State scored four runs with two outs in its final at bat of a 5-4 win over Pacific, despite only two hits in the inning. The Aztecs also had a huge blowout win over #21 Oregon State, in which four different batters had 3 RBI, including two pinch hitters. But SDSU also dropped a pair of games to Kansas State falling 7-2 & 15-7 as it didn’t get a “quality start” (6+ IP, 3 ER or less) all weekend.

Encouraging Series Loss:
UC Riverside at #13 Arizona State — It wasn’t a pretty series for the Highlanders as they’re pitching staff was lit up for 13 and 11 runs on Friday and Sunday. On Saturday, it was a different story. Eddie Orozco (6 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 K) was able to pick up the win against one of the most talented lineups in the country with a little help. Ben Douchette pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Joie Dunyon was able to get a strikeout and a flyout to end the game with runners on second and third. Freshman leadoff hitter Devyn Bolasky has still yet to go hitless, pushing his modest hitting streak to seven games with five hits on the weekend.

Disappointing Series Loss:
Washington at UC Irvine — Washington was picked to finish next to last in the Pac 12 coaches poll. Tell that to Irvine, who just watched the Huskies walk away with two of three at Anteater Park. Irvine was blanked on Friday night when they managed only four hits. The Anteaters were actually able to get hits on Sunday…they just couldn’t get them at the most opportune times. They left 10 runners on base, including twice having the middle of their lineup strand the bases loaded. UC Irvine almost gave away Saturday’s game as well. Big right-hander Phillip Ferragamo gave up a three-run homer in the eighth inning to allow Washington to cut the lead to 8-7, but he got the final four outs without allowing another runner to preserve the win.

LMU defenders spent a lot of time relaying balls back from the wall.

Womp…womp…:
Cal Poly at Loyola Marymount — Five is the number. Zac Fujimoto, Colton Plaia and Joey Boney each had five hits in the series. LMU’s final three starters each gave up five runs. And Loyola Marymount now has five losses on the season, four coming this weekend to Cal Poly. The Lions were swept in the four-game series, losing by a combined score of 36-14 and never led after the second inning in any game. The pitching staff couldn’t keep Mike Miller (11-for-21, 4 multi-hit games) off the basepaths and the LMU hitters struggled to get on base. They were three hit in the series opener and four hit in the third game.

  • USD Alumnus

    USD pounded some good teams this past weekend. Kansas St and Oregon St are both top programs. Scouts were raving over the performance of USD’s Kris Bryant who squared it up every time he went to the plate. Bryant hasn’t struck out once this season and just seems to get better and better each day. Dylan Covey had a solid outing but the real surprise has been USD senior Paul Sewald who has only given up one run this season in 14 innings. Go Toreros !

  • “O”

    Long Beach State is looking good, they have great pitching and good contact hitters. If they continue to improve and beat quality teams they have a great shot at postseason play.