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SoCal Weekend Wrap: Taking Down the State of Texas

Justin Garza was stellar again.

The second weekend of the season provided a lot of excitement for Southern California baseball fans. Three teams went on the road to play marquee series in Texas while San Diego State hosted No. 6 Oregon State and crosstown rival San Diego welcomed Kent State — a team that made it to the College World Series last year.

UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount both played Pac-12 programs with the Lions going on the road to take on No. 14 Oregon…and yet, it was UC Riverside playing at Sacramento State that produced the most talked about event of the entire weekend.

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 series set in the Lonestar State:

#20 Cal State Fullerton at #22 TCU — The fabulous freshman did it for a second weekend in a row. Frosh right-handed starters Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza combined for 13 innings, allowing eight hits and one earned run while striking out 13 enroute to a pair of wins. They have now thrown 25 collegiate innings and given up just one run. Not to be outdone, Grahamm Wiest, a veteran on the Fullerton staff as a redshirt sophomore, pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings Sunday as the Titans took a 7-0 victory and the sweep. Star centerfielder Michael Lorenzen had multiple hits in all three games.

Michael Swanner had two saves at Texas A&M.

#12 UCLA at Baylor — The Bruins went on the road to a face a Baylor squad coming off a sweep at UC Irvine. UCLA got all they could handle, but took the series winning a pair of one-run games. On Sunday, the Bruins scored a run in the ninth inning without a hit and then freshman closer James Kaprielian came in and struck out the side for his second save of the series. Junior centerfielder Brian Carroll finished the weekend 6-for-12 with an RBI and two runs.

Pepperdine at Texas A&M — Possibly the most surprising outcome this weekend, Pepperdine was able to take two of three at Texas A&M to start the Waves’ seven-game roadtrip in Texas and Oklahoma. The face that they were able to win with the services of Aaron Brown, who is out after breaking his hamate bone, says volumes about how well this team is playing early this season. The Waves manufactured a run in the ninth inning to take the rubber match 2-1. Sam Meyer lead off the inning with a single and now has a 12-game hitting streak dating back to last season. The bullpen was also terrific this weekend, pitching 7 1/3 scoreless innings with Michael Swanner getting a pair of saves.

Sweep City:
Long Beach State vs. Valparaiso — It might not be the most exciting brand of baseball, but the Dirtbags are quietly putting together a solid open to the season. After dropping a series at No. 2 Vanderbilt and splitting with No. 23 Arizona, Long Beach swept away Valpo, using quality pitching and (finally) strong defense. Starters Shane Carle, Landon Hunt and Jon Maciel combined for 19 1/3 IP and only two earned runs allowed. And the defense committed just one error.

Kris Bryant scored 5 runs in Game 2 & reached 5 times in Game 4.

Three for Four:
San Diego vs. Kent State — The Toreros got a come-from-behind walk-off win Friday night, plating two runs in the ninth inning to take a 2-1 victory over a Kent State squad that played was in the College World Series last year. Then finally San Diego’s bats woke up. After having only 24 hits and eight runs in the first four games this season, the Toreros put up 37 runs in the final three games against the Golden Flashes. Michael Wagner pitched well in a no decision on Friday while Dylan Covey was the best head coach Rich Hill’s ever-seen him.

#25 UC Irvine vs. Cal – Don’t look now, but this UC Irvine team could be a legit contender to Fullerton in the Big West. Suddenly, the team that is always able to find solid pitching is hitting the ball all over the park. The Anteaters had double digit hits in all four games against Cal and have had 10 or more hits in six of their seven games this season. The offense is batting .355 as a whole with five guys batting above .400. The ‘Eaters are winning the close games too as the first three games of the series were decided by five runs total.

Series Win:
USC vs. Cal State Northridge — The Trojans took two of three in the split venue series, but they could have easily had a series sweep. USC allowed only one run in innings 1-5. However, from the sixth inning on, Northridge was able to score 15 runs. The Trojan starters were strong each game, but the bullpen has been shaky all season. The Matadors capitalized to send Friday night’s game into extra innings and then put up a five-spot in the 10th inning thanks to some patient at bats and bad USC defense. The Trojans nearly gave away Saturday’s game, but twice answered back after Northridge tied the game. On Sunday, it was all USC freshman Kyle Twomey, who pitched an 117-pitch complete game for his first win. Shortstop Kyle Attl finished the series 5-for-10 with three walks for CSUN while the Trojans were led by Greg Zebrack, who had two hits in all three games.

Splitsville:
UC Riverside at Sacramento State - It’s been awhile since UC Riverside was national news, but they quickly grabbed some headlines on Friday when shortstop Eddie Young punched Sacramento State second baseman Andrew Ayers, starting a brawl that eventually found its way onto SportsCenter. That set the tone for a hard-fought series that saw three of four games decided by one run. Dylan Stuart threw a complete game in the opener, scattering seven hits in a 2-1 win. Sacramento State got the first game of a doubleheader Saturday with a walk-off squeeze, but the Highlanders got the nightcap, holding on for a 7-6 win despite five errors. Defensive troubles doomed Riverside in the final game. Instead of winning the series, it had to settle for a split after committing six errors in a 7-4 loss.

Colin Welmon struck out 9 in 6 IP Friday.

Series Loss:
Loyola Marymount at #14 Oregon — LMU stacked the first two weeks of the season with Pac-12 opponents and the Lions were sitting at 3-2 after soundly defeating Oregon on Friday night behind an impressive performance by Colin Welmon (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K). But things went downhill on Saturday and Sunday. The Lions allowed only two hits on Saturday but lost 6-1 as starter Trevor Megill hit six Ducks and Oregon scraped together runs in classic George Horton fashion. With a chance for the series win on Sunday, the Lions held a 1-0 lead through five innings, but two walks and an error loaded the bases and back-to-back doubles plated four runs for Oregon. Though LMU had nine hits, it could only muster one run.

Womp…womp…:
San Diego State vs. #6 Oregon State 
— The Aztecs couldn’t get the top of their lineup on base and struggled offensively all weekend. Oregon State took a four-game sweep, scoring more runs than SDSU had base knocks (22 OSU runs-21 Aztec hits). Frontline starters Michael Cederoth and Philip Walby both pitched well, but got no run support.