Cal State Fullerton finally drops a game, but won another big series. San Diego takes a tournament title.
Walk-off wins. Nine home runs for one squad. Twenty-three runs in a game for another. Four extra-base hits in a game for one slugger while another tied an NCAA record with three triples.
It was an exciting weekend of action between the 11 SoCal baseball squads.
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 two marquee series this weekend with SoCal squads facing off against top 15 opponents, so we’ll start this week’s rundown there:
#17 Cal State Fullerton vs. #14 Oregon — The fabulous freshmen at the front of the Fullerton rotation did it once again for the Titans. Thomas Eshelman needed only 95 pitches to deliver his first collegiate complete game as Fullerton capitalized on some uncharacteristic Oregon errors early that built up to an 8-2 win.
Justin Garza followed on Saturday with the longest outing of his career, allowing only two runs in eight innings. He got early run support from a three-run homer off the left field fair pole by Michael Lorenzen in the first inning. The Ducks closed the gap with two runs in the sixth, but as they often do, the Titans immediately responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
It was definitely a freshman weekend on the mound at Goodwin Field. But on Sunday, it was Oregon freshman Cole Irvin with the strong performance (7 IP, ER) to take the victory and hand the Titans their first loss of the season. Fullerton gave away some outs and didn’t capitalize on opportunities, stranding 14 runners on base.
Pepperdine at #10 Oklahoma — Pepperdine completed its seven-game, 10-day Spring Break road trip with a series loss in Norman. The Waves mustered only five hits on Sunday and committed four errors, allowing Oklahoma to take an 8-1 win.
Aces Scott Frazier and OU’s Dillon Overton both struggled on Friday as the pitcher’s duel that was expected turned into a slugfest. The Sooners scored seven runs in the third inning to take an 8-0 lead, but Pepperdine scored six runs in its next at bat to keep it a tight game. The Waves brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, but couldn’t get the big hit needed to even the score.
On Saturday, Corey Miller pitched around runners early in the game, stranding seven Sooners in the first three frames. Pepperdine held a 3-2 lead until the ninth inning when it scored four runs, highlighted by an Austin Davidson three-run jimmy jack. The Waves evened the series, but couldn’t pull off the series win on Sunday.
Pitcher of the Week:
Colin Welmon (Loyola Marymount) — LMU’s sophomore ace provided the best SoCal start of the young season. Welmon needed only 95 pitches to dismiss Hawaii in a 9-0 victory Thursday in the Rebel Classic. The right-hander face only 28 batters, allowing just two hits and striking out six Rainbows. The lefty swinger also added a triple and scored three runs in Sunday’s win.
Honorable Mention: Thomas Eshelman (Fullerton), Justin Garza (Fullerton), Dylan Covey (San Diego), Michael Wagner (San Diego), Matt Whitehouse (Irvine), Grant Watson (UCLA), Ryan Doran (San Diego State).
Player of the Week:
Dillon Haupt (San Diego) — Dillon Haupt said last weekend the Toreros were capable of making a run similar to last year’s 17-4 stretch early in the year. He’s doing his part to make good on that statement. After San Diego was swept opening weekend, it is 7-1. This weekend at the Hughes Brothers Challenge in North Carolina, Haupt led the Toreros offensively. The senior catcher/designated hitter had RBI in all four games. He batted .471 for the weekend with six extra-base hits and nine runs driven in. Haupt had a monster game on Sunday against Stony Brook: 4-for-5, 4 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI.
Honorable Mention: Miles Williams (Northridge), Kevin Kramer (UCLA), Greg Allen (San Diego State), Kris Bryant (San Diego), Clayton Prestridge (Riverside), Dominique Taylor (Irvine), Matt Lowenstein (LMU)
Caught in ‘The Rundown’
UCLA vs. Wright State — UCLA may not have hit the ball as well as it would have liked with only 19 hits in the series, but the Bruins were efficient with those hits, scoring 20 runs with the assistance of 23 walks and hit batsmen. Pat Valaika was the perfect example of maximizing production of hits. He had eight RBI on three hits. Kevin Kramer also had a strong series finishing with five hits, three walks, four RBI and four stolen bases. The Bruins continued to get solid starting pitching from Adam Plutko (6 IP, 3 ER), Nick Vander Tuig (7.1 IP, 2 ER) and Grant Watson (7 IP, 0 ER). The bullpen also pitched well, not allowing an earned run for the series.
UC Riverside vs. St. Mary’s — The Highlanders unleashed an offensive onslaught in their first two games beating St. Mary’s 19-5 and 12-6. They then used a three-run eighth inning on Sunday to take a 4-1 win and the series sweep. Alex Rubanowitz batted .556 for the weekend and drove in runs in all three games, including himself with his first homer on Saturday. Clayton Prestridge also batted above .500 for the weekend. He had a big game on Friday with four hits and four RBI.
San Diego State vs. Seton Hall — After a five-game losing streak, the Aztecs have won four straight. They needed a walk-off on Friday and strong pitching from Bubba Derby at the end of the ballgame, but the Aztecs got their second sweep of the season. Derby collected a win and his fourth save of the season with 3 1/3 scoreless innings. As is usually the case, the offense was propelled by leadoff hitter Greg Allen. He had five hits, scored six runs, swiped three bases and knocked in two runs. Jonathan Spirk has become one of the prime beneficiaries of Allen getting on base. Moved up to the third spot in the lineup, Spirk collected hits in all three games and raked in five RBI.
San Diego at Hughes Brothers Challenge — Traveling across the country didn’t sap San Diego of its power. The Toreros blasted nine home runs, including five in Sunday’s tournament finale against last year’s College World Series darling, Stony Brook. San Diego finished 4-0 with a win at Coastal Carolina before winning all three games in the Hughes Brothers Challenge to take the tournament title. Michael Wagner (7 IP, 0 R) and Dylan Covey (6 IP, 0 R, 12 K) were lights out in a pair of shutouts, including a 19-strikeout, extra-inning 2-0 victory against tournament host, UNC Wilmington. There were several offensive stars as Andrew Daniel and Kris Bryant (7-16, 7 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, SB) both homered twice, but Dillon Haupt led the way driving in runs every game. He finished the weekend 8-for-17 with five runs, four doubles, two homers and nine RBI.
Three of Four:
UC Irvine vs. Portland — Nearly landing in the “Womp…womp…” section this week was Irvine. After splitting a pair of low-scoring affairs, the ‘Eaters bats finally woke up in the ninth inning of the third game to score four runs for a come-from-behind walk-off 8-7 win. They carried that momentum over to Sunday where they knocked around 14 hits to score a 10-1 victory. Jeff Stephens batted .412 in the leadoff spot and batting behind him, Dominique Taylor knocked in two runs in each of the final three games. Matt Whitehouse threw a three-hit complete game in Game 2 while Andrew Morales moved to 4-0 in Sunday’s finale.
Loyola Marymount at Rebel Classic — LMU split its four games in the Rebel Classic hosted by UNLV, but it was a disappointing split. Colin Welmon got things rolling on Thursday with a complete game two-hit shutout, but the Lions dropped games on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s loss was a heartbreaking walk-off by a solid UNLV squad after LMU had scored three runs in its final two at bats. But it followed that up with an 8-3 loss to previously winless Hawaii. The Lions fell behind 7-3 early Sunday, but the bats got hot. They knocked 17 hits, including nine of the extra-base variety. Matt Lowenstein tied an NCAA record in the game with three triples. He batted .421 with six runs, a double, three triples and five RBI.
Disappointing Series Loss:
Cal State Northridge at Washington State — Northridge grabbed a 5-3 victory on Sunday as Brandon Warner (6 IP, 3 ER) and two relievers made a five-run third inning hold up. Miles Williams hit his second homer of the weekend while Nate Ring hit his first of the season in the inning. After ace Jerry Keel (7.2 IP, 2 ER) dropped a 2-1 pitcher’s duel on Thursday, the Matadors were hit hard in the second and third games losing 8-2 and 7-4.
USC at Fresno State — The Trojans blew a great opportunity to take a series from a team that will be near the top of the Mountain West this season. USC took the first game 9-1 behind a 14-hit attack and seven scoreless innings from Bobby Wheatley, but the offense was shut down by Fresno lefty Derick Velazquez on Saturday and freshman Kyle Twomey didn’t make it out of the first inning in Sunday’s rubber match. Shortstop James Roberts batted .444 reaching base twice in each game.
Long Beach State vs. Seattle — Long Beach needed four runs in the final three innings, including two runs in the bottom of the ninth to secure a walk-off win on Saturday. Ino Patron’s game-winning RBI hit was the only highlight in an otherwise dismal weekend for the Dirtbags. Seattle entered with a 1-8 record but left Southern California with a series win. The Redhawks took advantage of six Dirtbag errors to take 5-4 and 8-3 victories on Friday and Sunday. Shane Carle pitched well in the loss on Friday, going six innings without allowing an earned run.