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SoCal Roundup: Dull Aces

There were some aces that were missing their sharp kitchen utensils on Friday afternoon. Instead of knifing through lineups like they were ripened pears, pitchers like West Virginia’s Harrison Musgrave, Irvine’s Andrew Morales and Fullerton’s Thomas Eshelman struggled to have the success they normally have.

Granted, those three staff aces are still going to give their team a chance to compete every time out, so were their squads able to pick them up when they didn’t have their A+ stuff?

That plus all of Friday’s other Southern California college baseball action, including some photos from the last two days at Cal State Northridge, some highlights and clips from Pepperdine and Cal State Fullerton:

Cal State Northridge 4, West Virginia 2

The Matadors (8-12) knocked around last year’s Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, Harrison Musgrave, for four runs on nine hits in 6.2 innings as they evened the series with West Virginia (9-6).

While Musgrave didn’t have his best stuff, topping out in the low 90s, rather than sitting there consistently, Cal State Northridge starter Brycen Rutherford was on point, mixing his array of darting 75-80 mph pitches to keep the Mountaineers off-balance. Despite having a maximum velocity of only 81 miles per hour, Rutherford gave up only four hits and two runs in 6.1 innings.

With two men on in the seventh inning and Northridge clinging to a 3-2 lead, CSUN head coach Greg Moore went to his closer Shay Maltese to try to collect an eight-out save. Maltese delivered, allowing no hits and only one walk while striking out three.

Ryan Raslowsky was the table setter for Northridge, collecting three hits. Chester Pak and Nick Blaser followed him in the lineup and proved to be the bread winners with each knocking in two runs. West Virginia got two hits and an RBI from Michael Constantini.

Here’s CBD photographer David Cohen’s top photos from the game:

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    Photo by David Cohen
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#15 UCLA 3, Cal 2

Christoph Bono broke a 2-2 tie when he knocked a ninth inning double to left-centerfield to score Trent Chatterton, who reached on an error to open the frame. David Berg recorded his fourth save with a 1-2-3 ninth to give James Kaprielian his third win.

Kaprielian allowed two earned runs in eight innings, striking out five. Ty Moore had three hits and an RBI for UCLA (10-7, 1-0). Bono had a pair of doubles and scored a run to go with the game-winning RBI.

San Diego 5, BYU 1

The Toreros (13-4, 2-0) clinched their West Coast Conference opening series at BYU (7-13, 0-2) with a 5-1 victory. Troy Conyers (3-0) picked up the win: 7.1 IP, 6 H, UER, 2 BB, 4 K. Louie Lechich reached three times while Kyle Holder knocked in two runs. BYU pitchers issued eight walks.

UC Santa Barbara 2, Wichita State 1

Andrew Calica and Woody Woodward had two hits, a stolen base and an RBI each in support of Justin Jacome, who was fantastic on the mound for the Gauchos (12-2). Jacome pitched 8.1 shutout innings (4 H, BB, 5 K) before turning it over to Dillon Tate.

Casey Gillaspie tagged Tate for a solo home run on a 3-2 pitch, but Tate got the final two outs to record his fourth save. Santa Barbara’s Joey Epperson was 2-for-4 with a run to maintain his .500 batting average.

Pepperdine 5, Pacific 3

Austin Davidson crushed his first home run off the scoreboard to put Pepperdine (13-4, 1-0) up 4-3 in the fifth inning and the Waves rode the lead to a 5-3 victory in their WCC opener.

Hutton Moyer had three hits for Pepperdine, which got another solid start from Corey Miller (3-1): 7.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (1 ER), BB, 4 K. Eric Karch got the final four outs for his fifth save.

The school’s highlights:

Long Beach State 4, #28 Indiana 3

With one out and the score tied 3-3 in the ninth, Indiana intentionally walked the bases loaded and brought a fifth infielder in from the outfield…none of it mattered.

Hoosiers’ All-American catcher Kyle Schwarber allowed a pitch from Scott Effross to go to Blair Field’s spacious backstop. Colby Brenner sprinted home for the winning run.

Zack Rivera was 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Richard Prigatano reached twice, ripping his first home run of the season. Ty Provencher earned the win for with 2.1 hitless innings of relief as the Dirtbags moved to 9-7.

Loyola Marymount 5, Portland 2

Colin Welmon allowed one run, scattering seven hits over eight innings as LMU (10-8, 1-0) won its West Coast Conference opener. Austin Miller had two hits, two stolen bases and drove in a run while Ted Boeke had two hits and two runs.

San Diego State 8, Purdue 7

The Aztecs (13-4) rode a five-run seventh inning and held on for an 8-7 win over 1-11 Purdue. Michael Cederoth collected his seventh save despite a two-run homer from Kyle Johnson to trim the lead to one.

Cody Thompson earned the win for SDSU with 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while striking out three. Ty France had yet another big game (2-3, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, HBP) while Saby Zavala also drove in two runs.

Conner Hudnall and Brandon Krieg both had three hits, doubled and had an RBI for the Boilermakers.

#8 Cal State Fullerton 6, St. Mary’s 5 (13 innings)

J.D. Davis capped off an impressive 4-for-5 performance with a two-out, two-run single to right field in the bottom of the 13th inning to give Cal State Fullerton a come-from-behind walk-off win in the series opener against St. Mary’s.

Davis stole the thunder from the Gaels’ Anthony Villa, who ripped an RBI double to left field in the top half of the 13th. Villa finished with two doubles.

Thomas Eshelman gave up four runs in a nine-inning effort while Koby Gauna picked up the win with four innings of relief. Austin Diemer collected three hits and scored two runs while Timmy Richards knocked in two runs.

Here’s Davis’ final swing:

UC Irvine 7, Nebraska 6

Coming off what he described as his best start of the season, UC Irvine ace Andrew Morales (4.2 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) gave up his first earned runs of the season and was chased before even pitching the requisite five innings needed to be eligible for a win as a starter.

But the ‘Eaters offense picked him up. Taylor Sparks was 2-for-5 with his first homer of the season and knocked in three runs. Connor Spencer reached three times, scored twice and drove in one.

Sam Moore allowed an inherited runner to score and a run of his own in the ninth inning to make it interesting, but still notched his ninth save. Nebraska freshman Ryan Boldt was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and two runs scored.

Stony Brook 2, UC Riverside 1

The Highlanders managed only five hits — Devyn Bolasky & Francisco Tellez with two each — in a 2-1 loss. Jacob Smigelski was a tough luck loser once again for UC Riverside, after throwing a complete game: 9 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.

USC 3, #9 Oregon 2

USC (10-6, 1-0) got a big-time performance from Wyatt Strahan as it took the all-important series opener on the road in Eugene. Strahan struck out seven in 7.2 innings, scattering seven hits and allowing only one earned run to get the win for the Trojans.

Oregon was able to put two men on with two outs in the ninth inning, but Kyle Davis closed it out for his first save of the season. Garrett Stubbs was 1-for-3 with two runs scored while Oregon’s Shaun Chase was 2-for-2

THURSDAY
San Diego 14, BYU 7

The Toreros (12-4, 1-0) won their West Coast Conference opener by bashing the ball all over the yard. San Diego had 14 hits, including two doubles and three home runs, and took advantage of nine BYU walks and three hit by pitches as well.

Connor Joe led the way offensively, blasting a grand slam and reaching five times: 2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, HBP. Andrew Daniel also went 2-for-3 with two walks and a hit by pitch while nine-hole hitter Kyle Holder was 3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB. Holder knocked the first homer of his Torero career.

Louie Lechich also bashed a round tripper. Ben Wylly also had two hits and three RBI. For BYU, Parker Starr had three hits and drove in two runs.

Sophomore PJ Conlon moved to 3-0 on the season and is now 12-1 in his young career. He allowed two runs in eight innings and struck out seven, which you can see in his Instagram video here:

West Virginia 5, Cal State Northridge 4

Cal State Northridge (7-12) loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth inning (without a hit past the pitcher). The Matadors’ top hitter, Nick Blaser, brought in a run with a hit by pitch, but CSUN couldn’t get the big hit to tie the game or take the lead. West Virginia closer Paul Pascal struck out Michael Livingston to end the game.

After neither team had a hit through three innings, West Virginia scored three runs in the fourth inning with Cameron O’Brien and Max Nogay both driving in runs. The Mountaineers added another pair of runs in the seventh inning. It proved to be just enough.

Jacob Rice and O’Brien both reached three times, scored a run, drove in a run and swiped a base for West Virginia. Northridge’s top producers were Ryan Raslowsky, who was 3-for-5 with a double and a run, and Nick Blaser. Blaser reached three times and drove in two runs.

Here’s CBD photographer David Cohen’s top photos from the game:

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    Louis Cohen struck out 4 in 2 innings Photo by David Cohen
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  • stevie

    That kid from USD PJ Conlon is something special.. 12-1 in his career and no one gives him any recognition because he isn’t your projectable 6’4′, 190lb pitcher. Surely, he deserves some cedit for his accomplishments, I thought this game was about getting outs. You can’t teach determination and the will to win. Give the kid his overdue props, 12-1 isn’t too shabby