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SoCal Roundup: Titles On The Line

Who clinched a spot in their conference tournament and who blew an important win late? Which team is only one win away from doing something for the first time in school history?

Find out that plus more in Saturday’s Southern California college baseball roundup that features photo galleries from Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside.

Loyola Marymount 2, Pacific 1

Loyola Marymount (30-21, 17-9) assured itself a spot in the West Coast Conference Tournament thanks to David Edwards’ RBI single in the ninth inning to score Cole Trezek.

The combination of Patrick McGrath (5.2 IP), Sean Buckle (2.1 IP) and Bret Dahlson (1.0 IP) held Pacific to only four hits and Jimmy Jack knocked a solo home run. The Tigers evened the score in the sixth inning when Taylor Murphy singled home Jimmy Gosano. Murphy finished 2-for-3 with a walk.

Cal State Fullerton 2, #27 UC Irvine 1 (10 innings)

Since rebooting the program in 2000, UC Irvine hasn’t been able to figure out Cal State Fullerton. The Titans (27-22, 10-10) now have a 12-2 series advantage, including being 7-0 at Irvine. The ‘Eaters (35-18, 15-5) just can’t get over the hump when it comes to Fullerton.

Last season, Fullerton’s Carlos Lopez had an otherworldly weekend that included a pair of walk-off homers. On Saturday, Fullerton was hapless with runners on base for eight innings, stranding nine men without a run as Elliot Surrey scattered six hits and two walks in seven innings.

But after head coach Rick Vanderhook was ejected in the ninth inning, Fullerton was finally able to scratch a run across. Keegan Dale hit one off of against the nation’s saves leader, Sam Moore, for an RBI single to tie the game, 1-1. In the 10th inning, a single and hit by pitch set up senior Jared Deacon’s game-winning RBI single to left field.

Deacon scored the tying run in the ninth inning and knocked in the winning running, finishing 2-for-2 after entering in the seventh inning. Phil Bickford picked up the win with two clean innings of relief.

#6 Cal Poly 6, Cal State Northridge 3

Cal Poly is one win away from clinching its first ever Big West Conference championship. The Mustangs (44-10, 17-5) knocked off Cal State Northridge, 6-3, and then saw UC Irvine’s loss set them up for the title.

Casey Bloomquist allowed two earned runs in seven innings to improve to 12-1 and Jimmy Allen continued his power surge, knocking a solo homer in the second inning for his third round tripper of the weekend. He finished with his second straight 3-for-5 day, finishing with three runs and an RBI.

Mark Mathias also had a big day atop the Mustangs’ lineup that produced 12 hits. Mathias was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run and two RBI.

Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee talked about the 6-3 victory, moving Bloomquist to the Saturday spot in the rotation, Allen getting hot and what it would mean to win the Big West Conference title:

Chester Pak led Cal State Northridge (18-34, 6-14). He was 3-for-4 with a run, two doubles and an RBI. Nico Garbella and Brett Balkan both finished 2-for-3. Jerry Keel allowed three runs in five innings, falling to 0-10 on the season despite being the Matadors most consistent starter with a 3.58 ERA.

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

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#29 Pepperdine 8, Gonzaga 6

Pepperdine clinched at least a share of the West Coast Conference regular season title with an 8-6 win at Gonzaga. The Waves took advantage of four Bulldog errors to score five unearned runs and held on in the ninth inning as Gonzaga (24-27, 16-10) scored two runs before Eric Karch got a strikeout and a flyout to leave the bases loaded.

Aaron Brown started for Pepperdine (36-15, 18-8), but lasted only three innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. The Waves got Brown off the hook with three runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead and continued to push the lead out to 8-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.

Bryan Langlois reached three times, driving in a pair of runs. Aaron Barnett was 3-for-5 with a run and two RBI while Manny Jefferson was 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI.

San Diego State 11, Fresno State 8

After the teams traded early home runs as Brad Haynal hit his 12th home run and Fresno State’s Brody Russell hit a two-run shot, Taylor Ward put the Bulldogs ahead 5-2 with a three-run homer in the third inning.

But after Fresno State starter William Munro (5 IP, ER) exited the game, San Diego State jumped all over the Bulldogs bullpen. The Aztecs (37-18, 17-13) put up six runs in the sixth inning and added another three runs over the next two frames.

San Diego State’s 3-8 hitters in the lineup each had two hits. Fresno State (27-27, 13-17) got another strong performance from Jordan Luplow, who reached in all five plate appearances, going 2-for-3 with a run, two RBI and three walks.

#15 Oregon 4, UCLA 1

Jeff Gold improved to 10-1 on the season for No. 15 Oregon as the Ducks took the series at UCLA (23-28-1, 10-16). The Bruins have now lost nine in a row and have only one win in the last 14 games. The loss also assured that the Bruins will not defend their NCAA title as they now are guaranteed to finish below .500 this season, making them ineligible for an at-large berth for the NCAA Tournament.

Shane Zeile, one of the team’s bright spots this season, was 2-for-4 knocking a solo homer forUCLA’s only run. Kyle Garlick led Oregon (39-16, 16-10), going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Long Beach State 6, UC Riverside 3

UC Riverside (24-25, 11-9) missed out on some early opportunities and Josh Frye only got stronger as the 6-foot-7 senior improved to 7-0 this season, allowing one run in eight innings to lead Long Beach State to a 6-3 win.

The Dirtbags (28-24, 14-6) also missed some early chances, failing to score in the first three innings, despite getting runners in scoring position in all three frames.

Long Beach State head coach Troy Buckley talked about Josh Frye’s performance on the mound and winning when the Dirtbags don’t play their best:

Riverside took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when Joe Chavez singled, stole second and barely beat Richard Prigatano’s throw home on a Devyn Bolasky single. Prigatano nearly had back-to-back outfield assists after he had thrown out Cody Hough at the plate on Chavez’s single (see photo gallery below).

But in the fifth inning, Long Beach State finally got the clutch hits with runners on. After a Garrett Hampson sacrifice fly tied the game, Prigatano chopped one over the third baseman to score a run and Johnny Bekakis delivered a two-run single. Both hits came with two outs.

Prigatano talked about his defensive effort and the Dirtbags’ big inning:

The Dirtbags added a run in the seventh inning and a run in the ninth inning and let Frye do the rest. He scattered eight hits and struck out a career-high eight batters to lower his ERA to 1.56 and take the team lead in wins.

Prigatano finished 2-for-4 with a run and three RBI while Bekakis had two hits and two RBI. Chavez hit the ball hard all game, but only had two hits and a run to show for his effort.

UC Riverside head coach Doug Smith talked about the game, starter Zach Varela and Joe Chavez’s performances and what he thinks the Highlanders have to do to reach the NCAA Tournament:

CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling’s top photos from the Riverside Sports Complex:

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UC Santa Barbara 6, San Francisco 0

Austin Pettibone was lights out once again as UC Santa Barbara (31-16-1) got another needed victory, defeating San Francisco (24-28). Pettibone pitched his second consecutive shutout, striking out 10 and allowing only five hits.

Robby Nesovic continued his strong series, going 3-for-5 with two runs, a stolen base and an RBI. Tyler Kuresa was 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI while Woody Woodward also drove in two runs for the Gauchos.

Santa Clara 10, St. Mary’s 6

The Gaels and Broncos put together an impressive streak of five consecutive innings with one team putting up a three-spot. After falling behind 3-0, St. Mary’s (16-28, 8-18) scored six straight, but Santa Clara had the next pair of three-run innings to go up 9-6 in the sixth inning. The Broncos (24-28, 14-11) scored an insurance run in the seventh inning and held on to keep their postseason hopes alive.

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