Opening Weekend provided a ton of Southern California action. We even got plenty of SoCal vs. SoCal action with San Diego hosting San Diego State in the brand new (and immaculate) Fowler Park and Cal State Fullerton hosting USC on Opening Night.
A couple of teams decided to play four games on the first weekend, allowing a lot of players an opportunity to play. Overall the 11 teams in our Southern California coverage area finished 24-13 (and that’s including the four SoCal vs. SoCal matchups.)
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’
We’ll start this week’s rundown with the three most impressive weekends, including an upset sweep:
San Diego State at #25 San Diego — The opening of Fowler Park definitely didn’t go the way San Diego expected. Rival San Diego State came across town and swept the Toreros, staking claim to the City Championship. Greg Allen (7 for 13, 5 R, 2 SB) set the table and Tim Zier (6 for 14, 2 2B, 7 RBI) did a lot of the eating for the Aztecs as SDSU jumped on the Torero starters. The Aztec bullpen also was stellar, allowing two runs in 12 2/3 IP. Freshman closer Bubba Derby got the Aztecs out of ninth inning jams both Saturday and Sunday, including entering Sunday with the bases loaded and striking out Louis Lechich, Kris Bryant and Connor Joe to complete the sweep. Overall, the Toreros offense barely showed up. San Diego batted just .213 for the weekend and the number is only that good because freshman shortstop Logan Davis was 6 for 7.
#22 Fullerton vs. USC, Nebraska; at Bakersfield — The Titans’ young but strong pitching staff allowed only two walks as they opened the season 4-0. Freshman starters Thomas Eshelman (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 6 K) and Justin Garza (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 6 K) were both impressive in their debuts. Big West Player of the Week J.D. Davis led the way at the plate batting .438 with 11 RBI. On Sunday, Davis hit a two-run homer and then a grand slam bomb. Michael Lorenzen and Anthony Hutting also hit home runs. Last season, Fullerton didn’t hit four home runs as a team until 35 games into the season.
UC Irvine vs. Baylor — The Anteaters came up with a huge sweep of visiting Baylor. UC Irvine got great starting pitching from Andrew Thurman and Matt Whitehouse in the first two games and then beat the brakes off of the Bears on Sunday. In the fifth inning, the ‘Eaters brought 16 batters to the dish and set a school record scoring 11 runs — 10 of which came with two outs. For the weekend, Irvine scored 18 runs with two outs! Dominique Taylor and Taylor Sparks were each 4 for 11 with two extra base hits. They combined to drive in 12 runs.
Pepperdine vs. Western Michigan — Hopefully, Western Michigan got to spend some time at the beach. The Broncos got a chance to get out of the cold and snow and travel to Malibu, but they’ll go home with the same amount of wins as they came with. Pepperdine batted .351 for the four-game series and the Waves’ starting pitchers allowed only four earned runs. Sam Meyer and Austin Davidson had strong opening weekends. Meyer was 7 for 15 with three doubles and a home run. He scored six runs and had eight RBI on his way to West Coast Conference Player of the Week.
Three for Four:
Cal State Northridge vs. St. Mary’s — The Matadors batted .328 as a team led by Josh Goossen-Brown (6 for 16, 4 RBI) and Miles Williams (.412 OBP, HR, 5 RBI). Northridge got strong outings from starters Jerry Keel, Harley Holt and Calvin Copping as it took three of four from the Gaels.
Loyola Marymount vs. Utah — LMU got off to an auspicious start, dropping the season opener to Pac-12 cellar dwellar Utah. The Lions bounced back to win the series thanks to a pair of great starting pitching performances. Trevor Megill allowed only two hits while striking out 11 in seven innings on Saturday. The offense only provided one run, but it was enough for Megill and bullpen duo of Matt Florer and Bret Dahlson. The offense did much better on Sunday, putting up a 5-spot and a 6-spot. Loyola Marymount took the game 11-1 behind Aaron Griffin’s (8 IP, ER, 5 K) performance.
UCLA vs. Minnesota — When the No. 12 Bruins dropped the season opener in extra innings, the series looked primed to be an upset just like opening weekend last season when UCLA lost the series to Maryland. But after only two runs offensively on Friday, UCLA exploded on Saturday and Sunday. The Bruins outscored Minnesota 28-1.
Long Beach State at #2 Vanderbilt – Going on the road the first weekend of the series can be tough. Going on the road, across the country, against the No. 2 team in the nation…well that’s like willingly taking a Gerrit Cole fastball in the back — insane, but it’ll definitely toughen you up. Long Beach actually led in all three games, but gave away the first two games with 10 unearned runs on six errors. Starter Landon Hunt struggled on Sunday, but the offense spotted him enough runs that it didn’t matter.
USC at Fullerton, Bakersfield; vs. Nebraska — Why is USC in the “womp…womp…” this week when the Trojans lost a hard-fought game against the No. 22 team in the country and won in walk-off fashion against one of the Big Ten frontrunners? Because of the game in the middle. USC had never lost to Cal State Bakersfield prior to Saturday’s 9-4 defeat. But when you walk 10 batters you’re not going to win many games. The way the Trojans bounced back was commendable, especially the performance of freshman Kyle Davis, who picked up the win Sunday (2 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB) after throwing only one strike in a 10-pitch outing at Bakersfield.
UC Riverside in Palm Springs Tournament — Riverside finished the Palm Springs Tournament 1-3 following an 11th inning loss to No. 6 Oregon State earlier today. The Highlanders rallied with two runs in the ninth against OSU, but couldn’t pull off the upset. Riverside’s starting pitching struggled all weekend and 11 errors by the defense made it even tougher on them. The bullpen trio of Trevor Frank, Donovan Gonzales and Mark Garcia combined for a solid 13 2/3 innings, allowing only two earned runs, but it doesn’t mean much if the starter gives up six runs in the first inning like Ben Doucette did against the Beavers on Sunday. Riverside’s lone win was a comeback against Utah Valley State.