While midweek games in other parts of the country often feature teams better suited for sticky flyers handed out late at night outside bars, midweek games in Southern California are always an opportunity for matchups worthy of being plastered on billboards and marquees.
This week featured three top notch marquee matchups with low-scoring, strong-pitching UCLA and UC Irvine playing, the WCC and Big West favorites facing off when San Diego hosted No. 8 Cal State Fullerton and a pair of upstarts in the two conferences battling each other when Pepperdine travelled up to UC Santa Barbara.
Both of the featured Big West/WCC matchups had a late opportunity for redemption that was cashed in. A roundup of all those games and the rest of the SoCal squads in action with photo galleries from UCLA and Northridge:
San Diego 5, #8 Cal State Fullerton 3 (10 innings)
Troy Conyers is known for his left-handed pitching as San Diego’s Saturday starter, but he also has been moonlighting as a first baseman/designated hitter for the Toreros. But he was hitting only .190 entering Tuesday’s big midweek matchup with Cal State Fullerton.
Conyers was not in the starting lineup, but after pinch hitter Brandon DeFazio tied the game in the eighth inning with a two-run double off the left-centerfield wall, Rich Hill sent the big-swinging lefty up to try to drive in DeFazio. Cal State Fullerton’s fourth reliever of the inning, J.D. Davis, struck him out and the game remained tied for the next two frames.
With two outs in the 10th inning, Josh Goossen-Brown singled through the left side, bringing up Conyers for the second time. This time Conyers got retribution facing Davis, cranking his first career home run for the game winner.
San Diego’s bullpen allowed only three hits and did not allow an earned run in six innings, but most of the pitching focus was on Fullerton’s freshman top prospect Phil Bickford, who allowed three hits and one run during four innings in his first collegiate start.
Tanner Pinkston finished 3-for-5 and Davis reached base three times for the Titans, who have lost three in a row for the first time under Rick Vanderhook. Louie Lechich, Austin Bailey and Goossen-Brown each had a pair of hits for San Diego.
San Diego State 8, Cal State Northridge 0
SDSU: 12-4. CSUN: 7-11.
#15 UCLA 5, UC Irvine 0
Freshman Grant Dyer put together his first true gem for UCLA (9-7). The right-hander allowed three hits and two walk in seven innings before turning the ball over to Jake Ehret and David Berg to finish off the four-hit shutout that snapped UC Irvine’s 10-game winning streak.
The Bruins put a pair of runs on the board in the first inning on a Luke Persico double, added another the next inning on a sac fly and finished off the scoring in the seventh inning with a pair of runs on a Brian Carroll RBI single and Christoph Bono’s second sacrifice flies.
“It’s 5-0. It felt like 55-0,” Irvine head coach Mike Gillespie said after the game. Hear him talk about the ‘Eaters 5-0 loss and tipping the cap to Dyer:
Bono and Persico each had two runs batted in while Caroll and Trent Chatterton had two hits apiece for UCLA.
Kyle Davis pitched 3.2 hitless innings of relief for UC Irvine (12-4). Matt Fielding and Michael Miller also had clean innings out of the Anteater bullpen.
Here’s the top photos from CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling:
UC Riverside 9, Gonzaga 6
UC Riverside (9-8) moved back above .500 on the year with a 9-6 win over Gonzaga (3-12). The Highlanders took advantage of 12 free passes (10 BB & 2 HBP) issued by Gonzaga’s pitching. David Andriese knocked his first homer of the year.
Francisco Tellez and Joe Chavez both drove in three runs each for Riverside. Tellez knocked four hits while Chavez reached five times. Austin Roberts also had three hits and scored three runs for the Highlanders.
Mitchell Gunsolus reached four times and Tyler Jones scored three times for the Bulldogs.
USC 6, Loyola Marymount 1
Dante Flores knocked a bases-clearing double in the seventh inning to bust open a 2-1 game and push USC (9-6) to a 6-1 win, snapping a four-game losing streak and ending LMU’s seven-game win streak. Vahn Bozoian followed Flores with an RBI double for good measure.
Jimmy Jack had two hits and drove in LMU’s only run. Tommy Cheek also had two hits for the LIons (9-8). USC catcher Garrett Stubbs had three hits and two RBI while Jeremy Martinez and Kevin Swick both reached three times.
Brent Wheatley (5 IP, 6 H, UER, BB, 3 K) picked up the win while the Trojan bullpen allowed only two hits in four innings of work after a shaky weekend.
UC Santa Barbara 2, Pepperdine 1
In another SoCal marquee midweek, a pair of hot teams battled to the end. Joey Epperson continued his hot hitting, reaching four times (2-3, 2 BB) and driving in the game’s first run when he pulled the trigger on a 3-0 pitch in the fourth inning, singling home Dempsey Grover.
But Pepperdine (12-4) tied it up in the sixth inning on an RBI groundout by Brad Anderson when Epperson grabbed a ball down the line and double-clutched contemplating a throw home before thinking better of it and firing to first for the out.
The Gauchos (11-2) loaded the bases in the seventh inning, but Ivan Dilda came on and got Andrew Calica to pop up to escape the jam.
UCSB threatened again in the ninth inning with the help of a bad hop on a grounder to shortstop that hit the infield lip and shot over Manny Jefferson’s head for a single that put the winning run on third base.
Grover struck out and Epperson was intentionally walked to load the bases for Calica, who got retribution with a walk-off single through the left side to give the Gauchos the 2-1 victory.