There were a lot of questions heading into the weekend. Could UCLA play on the road? Would Cal State Fullerton rebound after losing to USC midweek? How would San Diego and Loyola Marymount fare against traditional powers?
Those four teams were all participating in high-profile road trips. On the home front, Long Beach hoped to finally get rid of their inconspicuous losing streak while the Anteaters of UC Irvine also hoped to get back on track.
We provided you with live updates on Twitter (@SoCal_CBDaily) throughout the weekend, but here’s a recap of all the weekend action:
There were four marquee road series this weekend with top 50-caliber teams hosting SoCal teams, so we’ll start this week’s rundown there:
#16 UCLA at #9 Georgia — If there were any doubts remaining about UCLA, they were answered when the Bruins went across the country and took down a top 10 team. They pushed their winning streak to 10 games with a three-game sweep of Georgia at Foley Field. Adam Plutko was fabulous, outdueling Georgia ace Alex Wood Friday night with a five-hit, 11-strikeout shutout. Georgia wouldn’t be shut out all weekend, but Cody Keefer and Jeff Gelalich led the offense. Keefer had six hits and three RBI. Gelalich hit .692 (9-for-13) on the weekend. Scott Griggs closed out the final two games, but not without allowing multiple runners in each game.
#19 Cal State Fullerton at #6 Texas A&M — Following a midweek loss to USC, coach Rick Vanderhook chewed out the Titans and promised to make changes. He switched up the lineup Friday night, but the offense still struggled against Aggies’ ace Michael Wacha (6 IP, 2 H, R, 8 K) in a 6-1 loss.
Playing through rain on Saturday, the Titans finally responded. Fullerton got five extra base hits for the first time this season and freshmen Tyler Peitzmeier and Willie Kuhl got two crucial strikeouts with a runner on third base in the ninth inning to send the game to extra innings. The game was suspended after the clouds opened up atop Blue Bell Park, but when play resumed Sunday, Austin Kingsolver singled home a run in the 11th inning and Michael Lorenzen closed the game out for a 7-6 win.
In the series finale, Fullerton used the same formula, scoring in its final at bat on an Anthony Hutting RBI groundout and then handing the ball over to Lorenzen to close out the game. Lorenzen completed a strong weekend (five times on base, three doubles, three runs) with a pair of strikeouts in a three up, three down inning. In his first game since the opening weekend, Grahamm Wiest pitched four scoreless innings to pick up the win in relief.
San Diego at Vanderbilt — The Toreros couldn’t touch Vanderbilt’s Kevin Ziomek Friday night, mustering only four hits. But they bounced back with 2-1 and 9-7 wins to take the series from the Commodores. Paul Sewald struck out eight in six innings of one-run ball on Saturday before turning the ball over to James Pazos and Michael Wagner to shut the door. Wagner made it interesting in the ninth inning, loading the bases with two outs before getting a grounder to end the game. The nation’s saves leader made it look easier on Sunday when he came back and pitched three hitless innings for his ninth save of the year. San Diego has now won 12 of 14 since dropping its opening series.
Loyola Marymount at Texas — Like Fullerton, Loyola Marymount had to battle the elements in Texas. The Lions were only able to get in a pair of games — a Sunday doubleheader. Behind an outstanding performance by Colin Welmon, the Lions defeated Texas 1-0 in the first game. Welmon and Austin Griffin combined for a five-hit shutout and Scott Harkin doubled home Cullen Mahoney with the winning run in the top of the ninth inning. Harkin continued his strong day, reaching base twice in the second game. However, it wasn’t enough as Tim Maitland’s two-run triple proved to be the difference in Texas’ 3-1 win in a predetermined seven-inning contest.
Pitcher of the Week:
Eddie Orozco (UC Riverside) — There were a number of great pitching performances this weekend, but Eddie Orozco’s still stands out. In a 1-0 win Saturday night, Orozco was absolutely lights out for UC Riverside. He only needed the one run because he tied a school record with 15 strikeouts and only allowed three hits in the complete game shutout.
Honorable Mention: Adam Plutko (UCLA), Colin Wellmon (LMU), Stephen Tarpley (USC), Jon Moscot (Pepperdine), Scott Frazier (Pepperdine) Shawn Stuart (Long Beach), Kyle Hooper (Irvine), Crosby Slaught (Irvine), Jerry Keel (Northridge).
Player of the Week:
Jeff Gelalich (UCLA) — Gelalich has been one the top hitters in the country so far this year. He showed this weekend that he hasn’t just been taking advantage of the familiar grounds at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Against No. 9 Georgia, Gelalich went 9-for-13, including a perfect 4-for-4 Friday night. The junior’s .491 batting average is fifth in the country and leads both the Pac-12 and the SoCal area.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Swick (USC), Adam Berry (Northridge), Eddie Young (Riverside), Michael Lorenzen (Fullerton)
Caught in ‘The Rundown’
Cal State Bakersfield at USC — Twice the Trojans needed come-from-behind ninth-inning walk-offs to defeat Bakersfield. On both Friday and Saturday, USC trailed by one run entering the ninth inning, but both times they were able to head to the locker room all smiles. Stephen Tarpley made sure there would be no drama needed with a dominant performance on the mound Sunday. The freshman struck out 10 Roadrunners in eight scoreless innings. He allowed only six hits and didn’t walk a single batter for the first time. The 2-5 combination of Adam Landecker, Matt Foat, Kevin Roundtree and Kevin Swick continued their torried start reaching base 26 times and driving in 16 runs on the weekend. The quartet is now hitting a combined .394.
Rhode Island at Pepperdine — Head coach Steve Rodriguez evidently got very comfortable in his dugout chair this weekend because he never really needed to get up from it…at least not to make a pitching change. Starters Jon Moscot, Scott Frazier and Corey Miller pitched 26 of the 27 innings and allowed only four runs all weekend. Zach Vincej continued hitting well with a pair of two-hit games, including his second career home run to lead off Sunday. Freshman Matt Gelalich reached base twice and scored a run in each game.
Brigham Young at UC Irvine — The Anteaters got their first series win this year by knocking off the Cougars. Irvine won the first game 3-1 Thursday night despite mustering only four hits. Scott Gottschling’s three-run double and Kyle Hooper (6 IP, 4 H, ER, 7 K) was all Irvine needed. Base hits were rare again on Friday in BYU’s 6-1 win, which prompted a player’s only meeting to address the offensive woes. Whatever was said worked. The Anteaters had nine players get hits and seven notch RBI in Saturday’s 9-2 win. Crosby Slaught allowed only two hits in 6+ innings.
Sacramento State at UC Riverside — They did it in two completely different fashions, but the Highlanders won the first two games against the Hornets. On Friday, they bashed their way to a 13-4 win. In a game that featured 13 extra base hits, Phil Holinsworth had the two biggest blows. He tripled home Riverside’s first run of the game in a five-run first inning and completed the Highlanders scoring with a three-run homer to left field in the fourth inning.
It was the Eddie Orozco show on Saturday. He tied the UC Riverside Division I record with 15 strikeouts and allowed three hits in a shutout. Bart Steponovich scored the only run of the game on a Devyn Bolasky third-inning single. Sacramento State took the series finale 5-2. Trevor Frank allowed only two earned runs, but he failed to field two sacrifice bunts correctly in the Hornets four-run third inning. Eddie Young recorded his second three-hit game of the weekend.
Indiana at Cal State Northridge — After dropping Friday’s series opener, Northridge took advantage of nine Indiana errors, including seven on Saturday alone, to score 10 unearned runs in the final two games. Freshman starter Jerry Keel bounced back from a rough outing last week to post a 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R statline on Sunday, even though he didn’t get the win when the bullpen blew the save. Adam Berry was 5-for-9 with four walks. He had a pair of doubles and drove in four runs for the Matadors.
Disappointing Series Loss:
St. Mary’s at San Diego State — Martin Agosta outshined freshman Michael Cederoth in a battle of hard-throwing righties Friday night. The Aztecs took the second game 4-1 behind the combination of Travis Pitcher and Justin Hepner. Hepner pitched the final three innings without allowing a hit to earn his second save of the season. In the series rubber match, it looked like San Diego State was going to pull off one of its, now commonplace, last at bat wins. SDSU trailed by a run entering the ninth inning, but Chris Wilson quickly changed that, launching a home run to left field. Cody Slader followed with a double and a sacrifice bunt put the winning run on third base, but reliever Patrick Keane got a strikeout and a ground out to send the game to extra innings. The Aztecs got a runner to third base in both the 11th and 12th innings, but couldn’t get him across for the win. St. Mary’s eventually scored three runs in the 13th inning, hitting for the cycle in the inning, and took a 8-5 victory.
#11 Arizona State at Long Beach State — Long Beach State’s ridiculous streak of having its opponents win in their final at bat moved to five on Friday night. The Dirtbags lost 3-2 in extra innings despite scoring the first two earned runs against Sun Devils ace Brady Rodgers and a great nine inning outing from Shawn Stuart.
Long Beach was finally able to snap its six-game losing streak with a 7-3 win in the second game. Matt Anderson pitched effectively to pick up his first win and the offense put up back-to-back three run innings — the first time it has scored multiple runs in consecutive innings. Matt Duffy surpassed his season RBI total with three runs driven in. But Duffy and the offense couldn’t keep the momentum on Sunday as they managed only one run on nine hits, two walks and three Arizona State errors. It was the ninth game this season Long Beach State scored three or fewer runs.