After dropping their first game of the season, Southern California’s top ranked squads, No. 1 Cal State Fullerton and No. 9 UCLA, both bounced back with dramatic victories to ensure a series win.
It was a strong day in the Southland as 10 of the 11 SoCal teams in action scored victories. Long Beach State’s series sweep at the hands of No. 10 Vanderbilt and “one of the best pitching staffs I’ve ever seen,” according to Dirtbags’ head coach Troy Buckley, was the only blemish.
We’ve got your quick roundup of all the action, plus photo galleries from around the Southland.
USC 13, Northwestern 6
USC didn’t need extra innings today as it completed the sweep of visiting Northwestern. Kyle Twomey was hit around (4.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER), but the offense put up a 7-spot in the fifth inning to push the Trojans to a 3-0 start. A.J. Ramirez led USC’s 18-hit attack, going 4-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Garrett Stubbs reached four times and Vahn Bozoian launched a home run.
#1 Cal State Fullerton 5, Washington State 4
Timmy Richards scored on a wild pitch to put Fullerton up 4-3 heading to the ninth inning, but pinch hitter Collin Slaybaugh tied the game up with an RBI single. That set up fifth-year senior Jared Deacon, who entered as a defensive replacement after catching the first two games, to be the hero.
Deacon’s liner to first base ricochetted off the glove of Matt Mendenhall, allowing Greg Velazquez to score for a Cal State Fullerton (2-1) walk-off win. Clay Williamson, who sacrificed Velazquez to third, reached three times and finished the weekend 6-for-8. Grahamm Wiest allowed only one earned run in 7.1 innings.
UC Irvine 1, Fresno State 0
UC Irvine (1-2) finally prevailed over Fresno State in another tight battle. The ‘Eaters got a four-hit combined shutout from Evan Brock and Sam Moore. Justin Castro was 3-for-3 with a double and the game’s only run. He scored on a Kris Paulino sixth-inning single.
Here’s some of the best shots from CBD photographer David Cohen:
Pepperdine 12, St. John’s 1
Aaron Brown had three hits with the bat and picked up the win with seven strong innings: 5 H, ER, 2 BB, 7 K. Pepperdine (2-1) peppered 16 hits with Austin Davidson leading the way. Davidson was a perfect 3-for-3 with 3 R, 2 2B, 2 BB and an RBI.
Loyola Marymount 9, Utah Valley 2
The Lions (2-1) used a five-run fifth inning to take a 9-2 win and the series. Freshmen David Fletcher and Austin Miller had three hits each at the top of the lineup to support Carlos Fuentes (5.1 IP, 2 ER). All three of Miller’s knocks went for doubles.
Cal State Northridge 2, Bethune-Cookman 0
CSUN (2-1) only had five hits, but it made the most of them. Alexis Mercado and Brett Balkan each had RBI singles to help Cal State Northridge to its first ever series win in the Eastern Time Zone (you can’t make these things up). Jordan Johnson was effectively wild (70 pitches, 37 strikes), allowing three hits and three walks, but no runs in 5.1 innings.
San Diego 17, New Mexico 2
The Toreros (2-1) knocked the ball all over the park as five starters recorded three or more hits led by Andrew Daniel (4-5, 3 R, 4 RBI) and Troy Conyers (3-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI). Louie Lechich also homered and had three hits, three RBI and picked up the win (5.2 IP, ER) on the mound.
#10 Vanderbilt 6, Long Beach State 2
Vanderbilt’s pitching was too much for the Dirtbags (0-3) this weekend. Tyler Ferguson allowed only one hit in 5.1 innings to pick up the win. Bryan Reynolds and Xavier Turner each had three hits for the Commodores. Long Beach State reliever Kyle Friedrichs made his season debut after missing all of 2013 following Tommy John surgery.
Here’s the top photos from CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling:
San Diego State 13, San Jose State 8
San Diego State (2-1) responded to a seven-run San Jose State second inning with a seven-run outburst of its own in the fifth inning. Brad Haynal’s three-run homer in the frame put the Aztecs ahead for good. Brett Seeberger went eight innings in relief to get the win. Greg Allen reached base four times.
#9 UCLA 4, Portland 3 (11 innings)
Brian Carroll showed off his speed, racing all the way from first base on a Shane Zeile double down the left field line to score the winning run in the 11th inning. David Berg pitched four innings, facing the minimum 12 batters, to get the win for UCLA (2-1). Ty Moore had a career day, reaching base in all six plate appearances, going 4-for-4 with a walk and hit by pitch. Carroll and Zeile each reached base three times.
UC Riverside 8, San Francisco 5
Joe Chavez set the table for the Riverside (2-1) offense, reaching base four times and causing havoc once he was on the basepaths: 3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 2 SB. Nick Vilter hit his second home run and also laid down two sacrifices. The Highlanders took the series even though Bradley Zimmer and Derek Atkinson had three hits each today.