After 10 of the 11 SoCal teams in our coverage area played at home last weekend, the majority of the action this weekend was on the road as USC, Long Beach State and Pepperdine all headed out for big road tests against top 25 opponents while UCLA and Cal State Fullerton faced lighter foes at home. There was also a lot of action down in San Diego at the Aztec Invitational where San Diego, San Diego State and Cal State Northridge were all participants.
We provided you with live updates on Twitter (@SoCal_CBDaily) throughout the weekend, but here’s a recap of all the weekend action:
Caught in ‘The Rundown’
There were three marquee road series this weekend with top 50-caliber teams battling each other, so we’ll start this week’s rundown there:
USC at #9 North Carolina — USC’s 7-0 start looked like it might have been a fluke against soft competition after ace Andrew Triggs was lit up by North Carolina Friday night in an 11-1 rout. But the Trojans bounced back with strong play the rest of the weekend. On Saturday, senior Ben Mount pitched a gem, going 7 2/3 innings, but he took a tough luck 1-0 loss. He left the game after walking a man with two outs in the eighth and was charged with the loss after the bullpen allowed UNC to score. USC was able to pick up its first top 10 win of the season with a 5-2 win behind freshman Stephen Tarpley (6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) on Sunday. The Trojans used a five-run fifth inning keyed by Kevin Roundtree & Jake Hernandez two-run singles.
Pepperdine at #24 Louisville — The Waves had 14 hits…for the entire weekend. That stat alone makes it impressive that Pepperdine was in all three games against Louisville. It’s kind of strange that the one game the Waves won this weekend was the one they only managed three hits. One of those three hits was a big one though as Joe Sever put Pepperdine ahead 3-0. Jon Moscot went seven innings, allowing two earned runs and catcher James Grandpre had a huge pickoff in the eighth inning, catching a runner too far off second base. (The next batter doubled.)
In the second game, Scott Frazier had one rough inning, allowing four hits (three for extra bases) and three runs in the third inning. It was enough for Louisville as Jeff Thompson outdueled Frazier. Sunday’s game was 1-1 through five innings, but Louisville pulled away with a pair of three-run innings.
Long Beach State at #18 Oregon— Heart wrenching. That’s probably the best way to describe Long Beach’s weekend. The Dirtbags lost their third, fourth and fifth one-run games of the season. What makes it even worse was the manner of the losses. Long Beach lost Friday night on a ninth-inning error; lost Saturday in the 13th inning after tying the game in the ninth; and Sunday may have been the most deflating loss. The Dirtbags gave up 5-1 and 7-5 leads in the seventh and eighth innings before allowing the game-winning run with two outs in the ninth. Starters Matt Anderson ( and Ryan Strufing were solid for the second straight week against a Pac 12 opponent. In his first two starts this year, Brennan Fulkerson had a pair of multi-hit games and drove in three runs.
Sacramento State at UCLA — The weekend rotation of Adam Plutko, Nick Vander Tuig and Zack Weiss was outstanding holding Sacramento State to three earned runs in 21 innings. Vander Tuig was especially impressive, pitching eight innings, allowing six hits and one unearned run while striking out seven. The offense wasn’t great, scoring five and six runs in the first two games, but broke out with 11 runs in the series finale led by Jeff Gelalich. The junior is now hitting .476 this year after he went 5-for-8 on the weekend with four doubles, three on Sunday.
Utah Valley State at Cal State Fullerton — What no ranked opponent this weekend? Fullerton took a one-week hiatus from ranked foes, sweeping Utah Valley State. The Wolverines were competitive, but couldn’t do anything against Dylan Floro (8 IP, 5 H, ER, 5 K) or Kenny Mathews (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 7 K). The bullpen was also solid, not giving up a run until the final inning Sunday. Offensively, Ivory Thomas had three hits Friday, Carlos Lopez had three knocks Sunday and Matt Orloff was a perfect 3-for-3 in reserve duty to give him a 7-for-10 week.
San Diego State in the Aztec Invitational — The Aztecs are quickly becoming the cardiac kids. San Diego State went 4-0 this weekend, winning three times in its last at bat. Evan Potter’s RBI single finished off the Aztecs three-run comeback Thursday night against Cal Poly. Wisconsin-Milwaukee helped give away the game Friday night when SDSU scored five runs on three consecutive hits followed by a hit by pitch and four walks. The Aztecs followed the 7-4 win with a 6-1 romp of San Francisco. The aptly named Travis Pitcher (6 IP, 2 H, ER, 4 BB) combined with Justin Hepner for a six-hitter. On Sunday, San Diego State allowed Northridge to come back to tie the game 6-6 in the eighth inning, but erupted with six runs in the bottom half taking advantage of two walks, two hit by pitches and an error to go along with two singles.
Three for Four:
San Diego in the Aztec Invitational — The Toreros had their five-game winning streak snapped in their Thursday afternoon 4-3 loss to Cal State Northridge. No problem. They just built a new winning streak with the final three games of the weekend. With the middle of the lineup not being as productive as last week, the Toreros starting pitching stepped up. Dylan Covey and Max Homick threw well and the end-of-the-game duo of James Pazos and Michael Wagner continued to dominate the late innings with 6 1/3 scoreless innings. Andrew Daniel had five hits and seven RBI in the first three games.
Loyola Marymount at UC Santa Barbara — After dropping five straight heading into the weekend, the Lions really needed a big series win. Loyola Marymount split the first two games with Santa Barbara, winning 9-5 Friday behind a five-run fifth inning before taking a 10-2 thumping Saturday. On Sunday, Santa Barbara tied the game with a run in the bottom of the ninth, but the Lions were able to take an important win thanks to a two-run single from Colton Plaia. Cullen Mahoney and Alex Guthrie both had six hits on the weekend.
UC Irvine in the QTI Baylor Classic — Irvine proved it can beat Lamar. Ho hum. The Anteaters won a pair of games against the small Southland school, but couldn’t score runs against No. 25 Baylor. Kyle Hooper was phenomenal in the tournament opener, pitching a four-hit complete game shutout. The offense provided plenty of support for Hooper with 17 runs, six driven in by Jordan Fox. However, Fox’s average dropped 84 points in the final three games when he went 1-for-10. The offense managed only seven runs on 17 hits in the final three games.
Disappointing Series Loss:
UC Riverside at Sam Houston State— UC Riverside had an opportunity to win its first series this season, but a Sam Houston State leadoff triple led to the game-winning run in the eighth inning Sunday afternoon. Eddie Orozco picked up the Highlanders win on Saturday with eight innings of one-run ball. Phil Hollinsworth had two hits in each game, including a double, two triples and his first home run of the season.
Cal State Northridge in the Aztec Invitational — Last weekend, the Matadors went 3-1 (including Monday). Even though they won their opening game on Thursday, this weekend they finished 1-3. In that one win, Steven Keller hit a pair of home runs in his first start of the season and Louis Cohen was fantastic from the pen, getting the final nine outs in order for a three inning save. On Friday, Northridge faced San Francisco’s Kyle Zimmer, a potential first rounder. The Matadors were able to work Zimmer’s pitch count and get him out of the game after six innings. They then took advantage of the bullpen, scoring four runs in the seventh inning for a 5-3 lead, but Northridge’s bullpen allowed single runs in the eighth, ninth and tenth innings to tie and win the game for the Dons. Sunday’s loss was similar after the Matadors tied the game in the top of the eighth inning with a three-spot…only to allow six runs in the bottom half.