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SoCal Roundup: Doing It Both Ways

It is rare that a two-way player can dominate both on the mound and with the bat, but on Sunday, a pair of lefty SoCal studs did just that. Louie Lechich and Aaron Brown lifted their teams to shutout wins to cap off impressive weekends for a pair of West Coast Conference contenders.

At Dedeaux Field, crosstown rivals USC and UCLA squared off in front of a packed house for a dramatic back-and-forth contest that included a blown save from All-American David Berg, but who came out on top?

That plus all of Sunday’s other Southern California college baseball action, including some photos from USC, Pepperdine and UC Riverside:

#9 UCLA 6, USC 5

Click through to see the full recap and huge photo gallery.

San Diego 7, #13 Oklahoma State 0

Louie Lechich did it all for the Toreros as they earned an impressive road series win at No. 13 Oklahoma State. Lechich struck out eight in a complete game, scattering six hits. He also reached base four times (3-5, RBI, BB). Austin Bailey also reached four times. Bailey and Grant Melker both drove in a pair of runs. Zach Fish was 2-for-3 with a walk for the Cowboys.

UC Irvine 11, Gonzaga 2

The UC Irvine (11-3) offense broke out for a season-high 11 runs. Taylor Sparks led the way, ripping three extra-base hits, scoring two runs and driving in four. Chris Rabago and Connor Spencer both reached base three times, going 2-for-3. Spencer knocked in three runs. Taylor Jones homered for Gonzaga (3-10).

UC Santa Barbara 10, Arizona 2

The Tyler Kuresa Train steamrolled through the Arizona Wildcats (8-8) on Sunday. Kuresa hit a grand slam in the first inning to put UC Santa Barbara (10-2) ahead early and he finished the weekend with a bang, depositing a two-run homer in his final at bat.

The Gauchos finished the Hi Corbett Tournament 3-1 thanks to a nice outing from Robby Nesovic: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K. Nesovic also was strong at the plate: 2-for-3, R, RBI, BB, 2 SB.

Pepperdine 3, Houston 0

Aaron Brown was dazzling. The two-way junior did it both on the mound and with the bat: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K; 3-for-4, R as Pepperdine (11-3) improved to 3-0 this weekend claiming the unofficial tournament title in the Not-So-Dodgertown Classic.

After snapping a streak of 21 consecutive retired with two outs in the ninth inning, Houston loaded the bases against Waves closer Eric Karch, but Brown ran down a hard hit drive in the right-centerfield gap to end the game and preserve the combined shutout.

Brown talks about playing both ways and the importance of this weekend for Pepperdine:

Here’s CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling’s top photos from the game:

  • Aaron Brown was lights out.
    Aaron Brown was lights out. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Casey Grayson makes a sliding catch on a popped up bunt. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
    Casey Grayson makes a sliding catch on a popped up bunt. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Aaron Barnett rounds third.
    Aaron Barnett rounds third. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Aaron Barnett tries to avoid Caleb Barker's tag.
    Aaron Barnett tries to avoid Caleb Barker's tag. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Aaron Barnett tries to avoid Caleb Barker's tag.
    Aaron Barnett tries to avoid Caleb Barker's tag. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Jared West lasted only 3.1 innnings.
    Jared West lasted only 3.1 innnings. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Manny Jefferson fields a bouncer.
    Manny Jefferson fields a bouncer. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Houston coach Todd Whitting.
    Houston coach Todd Whitting. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Eric Karch made it interesting in the ninth inning.
    Eric Karch made it interesting in the ninth inning. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Kyle Survance catches a fly out.
    Kyle Survance catches a fly out. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Aaron Brown heads home.
    Aaron Brown heads home. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Jordan Stading throws to first.
    Jordan Stading throws to first. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Jared West flips to first.
    Jared West flips to first. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Jack 'Bane' Ross leads off second base.
    Jack 'Bane' Ross leads off second base. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Justin Montemayor lines a ball.
    Justin Montemayor lines a ball. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Aaron Barnett looks to the dugout.
    Aaron Barnett looks to the dugout. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Houston Cougars take grounders in front of the palm trees.
    Houston Cougars take grounders in front of the palm trees. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
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Utah Valley 13, Long Beach State 8

Long Beach State (8-7) couldn’t keep its winning streak going because the Dirtbags couldn’t contain Utah Valley (4-11) leadoff hitter Jordy Hart. Hart reached in all six of his plate appearances, going 5-for-5 with three runs, a double, his first homer, a walk and a five big RBI. Richard Prigatano had three hits and an RBI for Long Beach and Alex DeGoti drove in three runs on two hits, but the Dirtbags couldn’t overcome 10 Wolverine runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

Loyola Marymount 13, Northern Kentucky 10

In a game that featured four home runs, Loyola Marymount (9-7) used an eight-run fourth inning  to finish off a three-game sweep of Northern Kentucky (3-11). Tommy Cheek highlighted the big inning with a two-run homer — his first. He finished the day 4-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Freshmen David Fletcher and Tyler Cohen both were 2-for-5 with 3 RBI. For the Norse, Cody Kuzniczci had three hits, including a solo homer. Jordan Procyshen knocked two homers and drove in four runs.

San Diego State 3, Nevada 0

Ty France singled home a run in the first and knocked his third homer of the year as the Aztecs (11-4, 4-2) took the series over Nevada (6-9, 3-6) after dropping Friday’s game. Mark Seyler limited the Wolfpack to three hits in eight innings and Michael Cederoth finished off the shutout for his sixth save of the year.

Baylor 5, #4 Cal State Fullerton 4

The Titans (8-5) got the tying run on base in the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t cash it in. Fullerton couldn’t overcome three unearned runs scored in a four-run Baylor (8-7) third inning. Grayson Porter had two hits and two RBI for the Bears while Matt Chapman did the same for Fullerton.

#28 Sam Houston State 3, Cal State Northridge 2 (13 innings)

Cal State Northridge (6-10) starter Jordan Johnson pitched nine innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Closer Shay Maltese pitched three shutout innings, but in the 13th inning, Sam Houston State (13-3) took advantage of an errant throw on a sac bunt attempt to set up the game-winning sacrifice fly and collect the series sweep. Alexis Mercado reached four times for Northridge. Ryan O’Hearn put the Bearkats up early with a two-run homer.

West Virginia 7, UC Riverside 4

The Highlanders (8-8) were shutdown by West Virginia (8-4) lefty John Means, who struck out six and allowed only one hit in six innings. Here is Means talking about his performance and pitching behind Harrison Musgrave and Sean Carley:

Riverside managed more runs and more errors than they had hits. They trimmed the lead down to 6-4 scoring two eighth inning runs without a hit, but the Mountaineers pushed an extra insurance run across and closed it out in the ninth.

Nick Vilter banged his second homer of the day and eighth of the young season for the Highlanders. For West Virginia, Bobby Boyd had three hits and Shaun Wood knocked his first homer of the year.

Here’s CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling’s top photos from the game:

  • Shaun Woods is congratulated after his first HR.
    Shaun Woods is congratulated after his first HR. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Cody Hough can't make a bare-handed play.
    Cody Hough can't make a bare-handed play. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Zach Bargeron delivers.
    Zach Bargeron delivers. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Nick Vilter bangs his 8th HR.
    Nick Vilter bangs his 8th HR. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Jacob Rice's leaping effort is not enough on Vilter's drive.
    Jacob Rice's leaping effort is not enough on Vilter's drive. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Nick Vilter is tied for the national lead with 8 HR.
    Nick Vilter is tied for the national lead with 8 HR. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Head coach Randy Mazey talks with Billy Fleming.
    Head coach Randy Mazey talks with Billy Fleming. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Taylor Munden slides into 2B with a double.
    Taylor Munden slides into 2B with a double. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • John Means only allowed 1 H in 6 IP.
    John Means only allowed 1 H in 6 IP. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Jordan Kron pitches.
    Jordan Kron pitches. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Bobby Boyd assesses Billy Fleming's fly ball.
    Bobby Boyd assesses Billy Fleming's fly ball. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Nick Vilter throws to first.
    Nick Vilter throws to first. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Billy Fleming turns the double play.
    Billy Fleming turns the double play. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Kevin Sprague fires a pitch.
    Kevin Sprague fires a pitch. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Dylan Stuart has been a versatile member of UCR's bullpen.
    Dylan Stuart has been a versatile member of UCR's bullpen. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Taylor Munden comes around to score.
    Taylor Munden comes around to score. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Cody Hough fires across the diamond.
    Cody Hough fires across the diamond. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
  • Joe Chavez takes off for second.
    Joe Chavez takes off for second. (Photo: Shotgun Spratling)
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UC Riverside 6, Sacramento State 1

Zach Varela (2-0) threw a complete game, allowing seven hits and an unearned run and UC Riverside quickly (2:00 game duration) turned away Sacramento State (7-9). Francisco Tellez finished 3-for-4, 2 R, 2B, RBI and Nick Vilter drove in three runs, including a pair on his seventh homer of the season.

Here’s Riverside head coach Doug Smith after the day/night doubleheader talking about Nick Vilter and Dylan Stuart: