The Mountain West Conference Tournament had a couple of exciting finishes and officially has a team swinging a mean scythe. The West Coast Conference has its championship game participants and it will be a familiar face-off.
Oh…and some guy named Garza happened to throw nine innings without the other team getting a hit and there might have been an upset of the No. 1 team in the country.
All that plus more in a super exciting final Friday regular season edition of the Southern California College Baseball Roundup:
Cal State Fullerton 3, Cal State Northridge 0
Justin Garza pitched the fourth no hitter in Cal State Fullerton history and the first since 2001. J.D. Davis had two of the Titans’ four hits — with both of them going over the fence — and all three RBI. It was a complete victory for Cal State Fullerton (31-22, 13-10) over Cal State Northridge (18-37, 6-17).
J.D. Davis’ ridiculous surface-of-the-sun hot streak over his last nine games: 21-38, 9 R, 7 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI. Jerry Keel allowed three runs in six innings, taking another loss to fall to 0-11 despite a season ERA of 3.64 — best of any Northridge starter.
Here are CBD photographer David Cohen’s top photos from the game:
Long Beach State 10, UC Irvine 1
If there was any doubts about Long Beach State was returning to the postseason, those doubts have been acquiesced. The Dirtbags (31-24, 16-7) beat up on UC Irvine, 10-1, Friday evening to take the series and second place in the Big West.
Josh Frye was spectacular on the mound once again. He improved to 8-0 on the season allowing one run on six hits in eight innings. He struck out six.
The Dirtbag offense gave him plenty of support, pushing runs across in six of its eight at bats. The Dirtbags scored three runs in the first inning, highlighted by Richard Prigatano’s two-run double, and never looked back. They knocked Elliot Surrey around for six runs (four earned) in five innings. It was only the second time this season that Surrey has allowed more than two earned runs.
Prigatano (1-3, 2B, 2 BB) and Ino Patron (2-5, 3B) both scored a run and drove in two. Jerry McClanahan led the ‘Eaters offense, going 2-for-2 with two walks.
UC Irvine (35-21, 15-8) has now lost its last seven conference games and is unlikely to find the NCAA selection committee merciful if it loses tomorrow and drops eight straight conference games.
UC Santa Barbara 6, UC Davis 5
UC Santa Barbara scored five runs in the second inning and held on in a wild ninth inning for a 6-5 win. UC Davis (23-30, 7-16) scored three runs and had the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position when closer Dillon Tate struck out Tanner Bily to end the game.
Austin Pettibone picked up his fifth win of the season, allowing two runs in six innings. Campbell Wear led the Gauchos (33-17-1, 11-12) with three hits and two runs while Cameron Newell had another strong game, going 2-for-4 with a run, a double and an RBI.
UC Riverside 8, Hawai’i 6
UC Riverside (26-27, 12-11) used a five-run fifth inning to rally from a 6-1 deficit and eventually took an 8-6 victory over Hawai’i. After Devyn Bolasky was hit by a pitch and had to be replaced by Mark Contreras in the sixth inning, Thomas Walker knocked an RBI double to score Contreras and put the Highlanders ahead 7-6.
Contreras delivered an RBI single in his only at bat for an extra insurance run. But the story was the performance of Dylan Stuart out of the bullpen. Starter Zach Varela allowed six runs in 3.1 innings before Stuart came in and completely shut down the Rainbow Warriors (21-31, 5-18). The senior lefty did not allow a hit and faced only one above the minimum (HBP) in 5.2 innings to pick up the win.
USC 4, #1 Oregon State 2
After falling behind 2-0, USC rallied for a 4-2 victory over the top-ranked team in the country. The Trojans (28-23, 15-13) scored a pair of unearned runs off Jace Fry in the fifth inning and jumped on the bullpen for two runs in the seventh.
Frankie Rios finished 2-for-4 with a run and a two-run, two-out triple that tied the game. Pitching on two days rest after a very short start on Tuesday night, Brent Wheatley allowed two runs in six innings, working his way out of multiple jams, including in the fifth inning when Oregon State (41-11, 22-6) tried to regain the lead.
Back-to-back singles and a fly out that advanced the runner put men on the corners with one out, but Wheatley struck out Caleb Hamilton and then got All-American Michael Conforto to chase an off-speed pitch in the dirt to end the inning.
After the game, USC head coach Dan Hubbs talked about Wheatley’s performance in the Trojans’ big win:
Rather than cashing in the runs, Rios started the rally in the seventh inning. The freshman singled to right field. Reggie Southall followed with a single to right-centerfield on a slash play and both were advanced on a well-executed sacrifice bunt.
Jake Thompson was brought in to face the meat of USC’s lineup. He got Timmy Robinson to fly out, but the drive was deep enough to allow Rios to score the go-ahead run. Jeremy Martinez followed with an RBI single to right-centerfield to put the Trojans up 4-2.
Frankie Rios talks about facing the No. 1 team in the country and what it is going to take to win the series against the Beavers:
Marc Huberman (1.1 IP, H) and Kyle Davis (1.2 IP, 2 H) closed out the final three frames to give USC a trademark win against the No. 1 team in all the land.
Despite the loss, Oregon State clinched the Pac-12′s automatic bid to the NCAA Tounament later in the evening when UCLA defeated Washington 3-0.
After the game, head coach Pat Casey stated the Beavers’ case for the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Casey also talked about his pitching staff, freshmen and compared this year’s squad to his previous College World Series clubs:
Here are CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling’s top shots from Dedeaux Field:
UCLA 3, #13 Washington 0
James Kaprielian has been starved at times this season by his teammates’ run support. But on Friday night, the UCLA ace was given two runs in the first inning on a Justin Hazard triple. From there, Kaprielian was lights out, striking out 11 and allowing only four hits in eight innings as UCLA (24-29-1) snapped its 10-game losing streak.
UCLA turned the ball over to David Berg in the ninth inning and Berg produced a 1-2-3 inning for his first save since April 4.
Hazard finished 2-for-3 as did Trent Chatterton, who also walked twice. Ty Moore was 2-for-5 and drove in UCLA’s other run with an RBI single in the sixth inning. Brian Wolfe had two hits for Washington (38-14-1, 20-8).
West Coast Conference Tournament
GM 3 – Gonzaga 8, Santa Clara 6
Santa Clara and Gonzaga played a back-and-forth elimination battle. Gonzaga tied the game 3-3 in the fifth inning, but Santa Clara retook the lead with a run in the bottom half. The Bulldogs (26-28) responded with a four-run sixth inning to go up 7-4, but the Broncos trimmed it to 7-6 with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
But Santa Clara couldn’t get anything against Gonzaga closer Karl Myers, who pitched the final 2.2 innings without allowing a baserunner to lock up the win for the Bulldogs. Payden Cawley Lamb had three hits and three RBI for the Zags.
***Santa Clara (26-30) was eliminated from the West Coast Conference Tournament.
GM 4 – Pepperdine 4, Loyola Marymount 1
Loyola Marymount took an early 1-0 lead when Brice Savage tripled and scored on a Tommy Cheek sacrifice fly, but Aaron Brown was lights out on the mound after that. LMU (31-23) managed just three hits off Brown in his final six innings to improve to 11-1 on the season.
Brad Anderson launched a two-run homer in the fourth inning to put Pepperdine ahead and the Waves (38-16) added two insurance runs in the eighth inning to advance to the WCC Tournament championship game on Saturday.
Aaron Barnett was a perfect 4-for-4 at the dish and scored a run. David Fletcher was the only Lion with multiple hits.
GM 5 – Loyola Marymount 7, Gonzaga 4
The Lions bounced back from their loss to Pepperdine with a 7-4 victory to assure themselves of another shot at the Waves. LMU scored three runs and chased starter Taylor Jones in the first inning. The Lions (32-23) added a pair of runs in the fourth and eighth innings to push its lead out further.
Freshman J.D. Busfield pitched 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks to pick up his first collegiate win. LMU’s first five hitters all reached base multiple times, including Austin Miller and his four walks.
The win advances the Lions to the winner-take-all WCC Tournament championship game to face off with Pepperdine once more. The two teams have now split the season series, 2-2.
Mountain West Tournament
GM 7 – Nevada 10, Fresno State 2
The Wolfpack continued to be the grim reaper in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. After eliminating San Jose State on Thursday, Nevada (30-26) took the scythe to another pair of clubs on Friday.
In the first game of the day, Trenton Brooks was 4-for-4 with two runs, a two-run homer in the first inning to set the tone and four RBI total. Kyle Hunt also added a homer, going 2-for-3 with a run and three RBI while Scott Kaplan was 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, HBP.
***Fresno State (28-29) was eliminated from the Mountain West Tournament.
GM 5 – Nevada 9, New Mexico 4 (11 innings)
Trenton Brooks continued his strong day with two hits and four RBI at the plate and a win on the mound after 2.1 innings of relief for Nevada (31-26). After the teams played to a 2-2 tie through nine innings, things got wacky in the extra frames. The teams traded runs in the 10th inning with Brooks getting back-to-back strikeouts to strand a runner at second base. In the 11th inning, the Wolfpack exploded for six runs while New Mexico could manage only one.
***New Mexico (37-20-1) was eliminated from the Mountain West Tournament.
GM 6 – UNLV 5, San Diego State 4
San Diego State was on the verge of punching its ticket to the Mountain West Conference Tournament championship game, but the Aztecs will have to recover from a crushing loss. Leading 4-1 in the eighth innings, SDSU (39-19) went to flamethrowing closer Michael Cederoth, but after a single and a strikeout, Edgar Montes jumped on a fastball and launched it over the left-field fence for a game-tying, three-run homer.
In the ninth inning, Cederoth hit Matt McCallister and after a passed ball moved McCallister to second base, T.J. White looped a ball over the first baseman and placed it perfectly right inside the chalk for a walk-off RBI double to advance the Rebels (35-21) to the championship. White finished 4-for-5 with a run, two doubles and the game-winning RBI.
Brad Haynal led San Diego State, going 3-for-4 with a run, two doubles and an RBI. Tim Zier also had three hits and Seby Zavala reached three times. TJ Kendzora pitched three innings of hitless relief.
With the loss, the Aztecs are pushed to the loser’s bracket where they will face Nevada at 3 p.m. PT on Saturday, with the winner facing off with UNLV immediately after.