Mississippi State routs Vanderbilt to send College World Series finals to Game 3

By ERIC OLSON The Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. — Mississippi State’s first three wins in the College World Series were one-run games. The Bulldogs’ fourth was a blowout, and it was well-timed.

Houston Harding and Preston Johnson combined on a four-hitter and MSU capitalized on struggling Vanderbilt pitching in a 13-2 victory on Tuesday night that forced a deciding third game in the College World Series finals.

The easy win allowed Bulldogs coach Chris Lemonis to hold back rested pitchers, including star reliever Landon Sims, for the winner-take-all Game 3 on Wednesday night.

“We’re ecstatic because, one, we’re still playing, and, two, we used two arms tonight,” Lemonis said. “We have an opportunity to use some different guys tomorrow now because of the score. It was nice after the game. I grabbed Landon, I said, ‘Man, it was sure nice not having to pitch you tonight’ because I feel like in every win for the last month he has been out there.”

The Commodores (49-17) will be going for their second straight national title and third since 2014 after their most lopsided loss in their 29 all-time CWS games.

“Just got to have a short memory,” Vandy’s CJ Rodriguez said. “I think we need to wash it out as fast as we can and get it done tomorrow.”

The Bulldogs (49-18) will be playing for their first championship.

“This game is done, and we’re going to remain cool, calm and collected and bring the same energy out tomorrow,” MSU’s Scotty Dubrule said. “Tomorrow is a new day and we’re going to have to face some tough arms.”

The start in this one was delayed two hours because of rain, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of another pro-MSU crowd that included Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in a pinstriped “State” baseball jersey and former NFL QB Jay Cutler and basketball coach Jerry Stackhouse representing Vandy.

Like Game 1, when Vanderbilt scored seven first-inning runs on its way to an 8-2 win, this one was over early as Mississippi State broke things open with a four-run third inning.

“Big bounce-back game from our guys, just a resilient group,” Lemonis said after MSU’s biggest winning margin in Omaha since beating Georgia Southern, 15-1, in 1990. “We’ve had our back against the wall feels like all year long and they just keep responding.”

The Commodores issued a season-high 10 walks, including three in a row by 17-year-old starter Christian Little (3-2) that fueled Mississippi State’s big fourth inning.

The Bulldogs turned an error into a run in the first, and the decisive third inning started with shortstop Carter Young fielding Tanner Allen’s grounder but unable to get the ball out of his glove. It was scored a hit, but probably should have been an out – and was a sign of things to come.

Little’s three straight walks forced in a run and brought on reliever Patrick Reilly. Dubrule’s hard comebacker deflected off Reilly’s leg and scored two runs, and the Bulldogs got another on a bases-loaded wild pitch.

Mississippi State scored five times in the seventh to push its lead into double digits.

“We haven’t played a game like that, but whether it’s 13-1 or 2-1 – if you lose 2-1 it might have more of an effect than a 13-1 game,” Vandy coach Tim Corbin said, shorting his team a run in his comment. “It’s embarrassing.”

The Bulldogs finished with 14 hits, with light-hitting shortstop Lane Forsythe leading them with three hits out of the No. 9 spot in the lineup after going 1 for 11 in his first five CWS games.

Johnson (4-0) allowed two hits and struck out seven in five innings of relief of Harding.

Prescott, MSU’s two-time All-SEC quarterback in 2014-15, got big cheers during an in-stadium interview when he gushed over a Bulldogs’ fan following in Omaha that far exceeds Vandy’s in numbers and volume. When an MSU fan caught a foul ball and tossed it up to the section behind him where Prescott was sitting, Prescott signed it and tossed it back.

The all-SEC finals could come down to a pitching matchup between stars Kumar Rocker of Vanderbilt and Will Bednar of Mississippi State.

Rocker, the 2019 CWS Most Outstanding Player, is coming off four days of rest. Bednar, who struck out 15 against Texas in his CWS debut on June 20, would have three days of rest since throwing 97 pitches in the bracket final against the Longhorns.

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NC State out of College World Series due to COVID-19 issues; Vanderbilt to finals

OMAHA, Neb. — Vanderbilt will advance to the College World Series finals after North Carolina State was forced to drop out because of COVID-19 protocols, the NCAA announced late Friday night.

NC State had only 13 players available during its 3-1 loss to the Commodores on Friday. The teams were scheduled to meet again Saturday afternoon in a winner-take-all Bracket 1 final.

The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee declared that game a no-contest.

“This decision was made based on the recommendation of the Championship Medical Team and the Douglas County Health Department,” the NCAA said in a statement. “As a result, Vanderbilt will advance to the CWS Finals.

“The NCAA and the committee regret that NC State’s student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to continue in the championship in which they earned the right to participate. Because of privacy issues, we cannot provide further details.”

Vanderbilt returns to the finals for a second straight time. The Commodores won the 2019 CWS. There was no tournament last year because of the pandemic.

The Commodores will meet Mississippi State or Texas in the best-of-three finals beginning Monday.

NC State players and coaches gathered at home plate to take pictures around the CWS logo late Friday night, after the rain-delayed Texas-Mississippi game was completed,

NC State was missing four starting position players and had only 13 of its 27 players available for its Friday game, which was delayed an hour after the NCAA said it needed time to complete “health and safety protocols.” NC State said “several players” had entered the COVID-19 protocol.

After the game, North Carolina State coach Elliott Avent grew frustrated and wouldn’t answer directly when asked if he or the baseball program encouraged players to be vaccinated.

“My job is to teach them baseball, make sure they get an education and keep them on the right track forward,” he said. “But I don’t try to indoctrinate my kids with my values or my opinions. Obviously, we talk about a lot of things. But these are young men that can make their own decisions and that’s what they did.”

Avent rolled his eyes when asked if he’s been vaccinated.

“If you want to talk baseball, we can talk baseball,” he said. “If you want to talk politics or stuff like that, you can go talk to my head of sports medicine, Rob Murphy.”

NC State did not immediately respond to a request for an interview with Murphy.

The NCAA does not require athletes, coaches and other staff working closely with a team to be tested for COVID-19 if they are fully vaccinated and showing no symptoms. Those who are not vaccinated must be tested at NCAA championships. Tests are done every other day at the CWS.

Avent said he found out there was a problem 45 minutes to an hour before the game. He told ESPN during an in-game interview that players not with the team were getting tested Friday afternoon and, if the results were negative, would have a chance to play in the rematch Saturday.

The regulars in the lineup were Austin Murr, who moved from first to left field; Jonny Butler, who moved from left to center; Luca Tresh at his usual catcher spot; Devonte Brown in his usual spot in right field; and Vojtech Mensik, who moved from third base to shortstop.

Carson Falksken played second in place of J.T. Jarrett, Eddie Eisert was designated hitter instead of Terrell Tatum, DeAngelo Giles moved into Vojtech’s spot at third and Sam Highfill, the No. 2 starting pitcher, played first base.

Avent said he gave his available players the choice to play or forfeit Friday. They all wanted to play, he said.

Avent told reporters Monday an illness was running through the team but made no mention of it possibly being COVID-19. He said associate head coach Chris Hart had been sick for five or six days and that second baseman J.T. Jarrett and pitcher Cameron Cotter weren’t feeling well.

The pandemic heavily disrupted college sports over the past year and three teams dropped out of an NCAA championship event because of COVID-19: The VCU men’s basketball team, the Michigan men’s ice hockey team and the Rice women’s volleyball team.

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UC Irvine baseball doomed by rough start in season-ending loss to Stanford

No matter how good a baseball team might be, it is very hard to win after spotting a talented opponent a seven-run lead in the first inning.

That was UC Irvine’s reality on Monday night against Stanford in the championship game of the four-team Stanford Regional of the NCAA tournament. The Cardinal pounced on the Anteaters for seven runs and eight hits before the Anteaters had a chance to grab a bat and held on for an 11-8 win.

The loss ends UCI’s season at 43-18, with a Big West Conference record for wins in a season, their first regional appearance since 2014 and a determined effort against a solid Stanford team. The Cardinal (36-15) advance to a best-of-three super regional against Texas Tech next weekend in Lubbock, Texas, with the winner moving on to the eight-team College World Series.

Nathan Church hit a first-inning home run for UCI and went 4 for 6 on the night to punctuate a regional performance that saw him go 13 for 26 over five games. Dillon Tatum hit a two-run home run in the third to set the program record for single-season homers (15).

UCI head coach Ben Orloff knew he would use a lot of pitchers in the Anteaters’ fifth game in four days, but he was comfortable starting with Game 1 star Mike Frias, who threw a complete game two-hitter in a victory over Nevada on Friday night.

But Frias gave up four straight hits to start the game and was removed after the fifth batter. Eddie Park hit the first pitch for a single and Tim Tawa slugged a 3-and-1 fastball for a two-run home run.

Brock Jones hit a nubber to the triangle between the mound and third base for a single and Kody Huff doubled to left to put runners on second and third. Christian Robinson hit a deep fly to score Jones.

Orloff pulled Frias, but Stanford kept producing against reliever Gordon Ingebritson. Nick Brueser hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it 4-0. None of the next three batters got the ball out of the infield but loaded the bases regardless.

Drew Bowser reached on a Justin Torres fielding error, Tommy Troy beat out a slow roller to third and a bunt single loaded the bases. Park then singled up the middle to score two more runs, and Tawa singled to right for another and a 7-0 lead.

Church homered in the first and Tatum homered in the bottom of the second, but Stanford added single runs in the second and third to make it 9-3.

UCI scratched back but struggled with runners in scoring position – stranding two on with no outs in the third, stranding Torres after a leadoff triple in the fifth, and eventually leaving 12 runners on base. The Big West champions also committed four errors in the first three innings, and five of Stanford’s runs were unearned.

The Anteaters trailed 11-5 going into the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Stanford relievers walked the bases load and Luke Spillane’s cue ball double to right field scored two to cut the margin to 11-7.

Stanford coach Dave Esquer’s plan was to tag-team the UCI lineup. Four of the first five hitters are left-handed, so the Cardinal started left-hander Drew Dowd.

Thereafter, the Cardinal flopped pitchers according to the Anteaters’ lineup – left-handers at the top of the order and right-handers at the bottom. They went through eight pitchers by game’s end, with closer Zach Grech facing 11 batters in two innings.

Grech got two quick outs in the ninth before Spillane had his third hit of the game. Left-handed pinch hitter Jake Palmer was then semi-intentionally walked by Grech.

Stanford went to left-hander Jacob Palisch to face the UCI lefties. Church lined a single to left to score a run and keep the inning alive, but Palisch retired Mike Peabody on a high fly to center.

The Anteaters scored 46 runs in their five games. Of the 30 runs they allowed, 14 came in two innings of play, and 11 of the runs allowed were unearned.

More to come on this story.

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UCLA can’t catch North Carolina in NCAA regional opener

LUBBOCK, Texas — Love was on the mound Friday at Dan Law Field and that wasn’t a romantic thing at all for UCLA in an opening-round game of the NCAA baseball tournament.

The Bruins’ offense sputtered and coughed for most of the night in a 5-4 loss to North Carolina at the Lubbock Regional, with UNC ace pitcher Austin Love setting the tone by striking out nine and allowing only six hits and three runs in 6-2/3 innings.

In a game that turned into a bullpen chess match in the final few innings, UCLA (35-19) never managed more than one run in an inning and struggled to produce in clutch situations, going 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position and 2 for 11 with two outs.

Love had plenty to do with that, locking in after a rocky start and mowing down 15 of 16 hitters during a key stretch to stymie the Bruins.

UCLA starter Jesse Bergin battled through 5-1/3 innings, allowing eight hits but only a pair of earned runs.

“I thought it was a hell of a game,” Bruins coach John Savage said. “Love did his duty, struck out nine. I thought Jesse competed hard and made some pitches.”

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels (28-25) chipped away early on Will Stewart’s productive groundout in the second inning and his clutch two-out, two-run single two innings later to open a 3-1 lead.

UNC’s Danny Serretti supplied what turned out to be huge – and somewhat shocking – insurance with a two-run home run in the seventh against UCLA reliever Adrian Chaidez on an 0-and-2 count. That was just the second long ball and eighth hit Chaidez has allowed all season and marked the first time he surrendered more than a single run in his 28 appearances.

“Chaidez has been outstanding all season, but he left a pitch up and you’ve got to give credit where credit is due,” Savage said.

“They did a great job extending innings and giving themselves a chance to score some runs.”

The Bruins finally snapped their drought against Love when Kevin Kendall began the sixth with a double down the right field line. He got to third base on a wild pitch and darted home on Matt McClain’s sacrifice fly to close the gap to 3-2. The homer extended the lead to set the stage for a significant UCLA threat in the seventh.

Mikey Perez gave the Bruins a leadoff man on for the second straight inning with an infield single and Love walked JonJon Vaughn before recording the second out. Kendall delivered again with an RBI single that ended Love’s night, but North Carolina left-hander Caden O’Brien came on and struck out pinch-hitter Michael Caulfield in a full-count check swing to keep the Bruins two runs down.

UCLA cut the deficit to one run in the eighth when McLain scored on a wild pitch, but that was all the Bruins could manage despite two hits and a walk in the inning.

Things began with plenty of promise for the Bruins when McClain’s double chased home Kendall, who led off with a base hit to center field.

Before UCLA could inflict any more damage, though, Love struck out cleanup hitter JT Schwartz and coaxed a fly ball out of Mikey Perez with two runners in scoring position to slam the door.

Now the Bruins will attempt to stay alive in the four-team event when they take on Army (28-24) in an elimination game on Saturday at noon PT. Army dropped a 6-3 decision to host Texas Tech (37-15) earlier Friday.

“That’s why they call it a double-elimination tournament,” Savage said. “Our backs have been against the wall all season, so this is no different.”

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UC Irvine baseball on cusp of Big West championship

The UC Irvine baseball team defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 7-4, on Sunday afternoon and moved within one win of the Big West Conference title.

The 18th-ranked Anteaters (36-16 overall, 28-8 Big West) have a three-game lead over second-place UC Santa Barbara (35-18, 25-11) with four games left in the regular season. UCI, which took three of four at UCSB earlier this month to earn the tiebreaker advantage, hosts Cal State Fullerton (20-31, 13-19) in its final series, beginning Friday at 3 p.m. at Anteater Ballpark. The teams play a doubleheader on Saturday at noon, then play the regular-season finale on Sunday at 1 p.m.

UCSB concludes its season with four home games against Bakersfield (20-19, 17-15). Third-place Long Beach State (24-15, 22-14) closes with four games against last-place UC Davis (14-39, 8-28) at Blair Field.

“We’re just trying to get better, we’re trying to improve,” UCI coach Ben Orloff said. “I’m sure the team is aware of what’s at stake because of the internet, but we want to play for a while and beyond next weekend, and in order to do what we want to do, we’ve got to keep getting better. We’re trying our best not to scoreboard watch, we’re really trying to worry about ourselves, get better, and put together a really good weekend performance against Cal State Fullerton. We’re not worried about who beats who.”

The Anteaters put themselves in the driver’s seat by doing this weekend what they’ve been doing throughout conference play – winning another four-game series. UCI has won seven of its nine Big West series with a pair of 2-2 splits.

On Sunday, they erased an early 3-1 deficit. They tied the score in the third when Jacob Castro reached on a one-out walk and scored on a Justin Torres double, then Thomas McCaffrey drove in Torres with a single. Two pitches later, Dillon Tatum hit his 13th home run of the season to cap the four-run inning put UCI ahead to stay, 5-3.

While the UCI offense was taking control, junior Peter Van Loon was settling in on the mound. He retired the Roadrunners in order in four innings and stranded leadoff singles in two others in his second consecutive seven-inning outing. He allowed three runs, scattering six hits with six strikeouts and no walks, before Josh Ibarra and Jacob King pitched the last two innings to close out the win.

McCaffrey finished 3 for 5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Torres also drove in two with a pair of doubles, as eight UCI players had at least one hit.

“It’s so fun to see how many guys are contributing,” Orloff said. “To score seven from a bunch of different guys was really good to see.”

Bakersfield starter Roman Angelo lasted just 2-1/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and two walks.

Long Beach State 4, Cal State Fullerton 1: Long Beach scored three runs in the top of the ninth to beat rival Fullerton in Sunday afternoon’s series finale. Toren Craig delivered what proved to be the game-winning RBI.

For the fourth straight game, Long Beach scored a run in the first inning, this time by rattling off three consecutive one-out hits. Isaac Ramirez drove in the run with a double down the left field line.

The Titans tied the score in the third inning on a solo home run from Josh Urps, but both starting pitchers shut down the offenses after that.

LBSU starter Jack Noble needed just 85 pitches to get through seven innings, holding the Titans to four hits and a walk while striking out six. He retired the final 14 batters he faced before handing the ball off to the bullpen. Fullerton starter Kyle Luckham went 7-1/3 innings, holding Long Beach to just five hits while striking out five.

Long Beach finally broke through and reclaimed the lead in the ninth. After a leadoff double from Calvin Estrada, Craig drove him in with a single into left for a 2-1 lead. Connor Kokx provided some insurance with a two-run home run – his sixth of the season.

Devereaux Harrison pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win and give Long Beach its first series victory over the Titans since the 2017 regular season.

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Jace Chamberlin’s pinch-hit home run gives Cal State Fullerton walk-off win against Stanford

STANFORD — Jace Chamberlin hit a towering pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth to lift Cal State Fullerton to a dramatic 2-1 victory over Stanford in a winner’s bracket game of the Stanford regional.late Saturday night at Sunken Diamond.

Chamberlin’s dramatic shot – the burly freshman’s first career homer – bounced off the scoreboard in right-center field. The win means the Titans (34-23) will play the Sunday night game (6 p.m.) against the winner of the Stanford-Baylor elimination game that takes place at 1 p.m. Should the Stanford-Baylor winner beat Fullerton on Sunday night, the teams would meet in a winner-take-all game on Monday at 7 p.m.

Both starters were superb. Fullerton’s Tommy Wilson held Stanford to one run on three hits in six innings. He struck out six with no walks. The Cardinal’s Kris Bubic went seven innings (130 pitches), also allowing one run on three hits. He struck out 10 and walked two.

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The Titans, who were designated the home team, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Hank LaForte and Mitchell Berryhill led off the game with back-to-back singles. Daniel Cope’s sacrifice fly scored LaForte.

Wilson only allowed one hit in the first five innings but Alec Wilson got to him leading off the sixth with a double. Tim Tawa’s triple tied the score. Fullerton third baseman Brett Borgogno made a huge play when he snared a hot grounder off the bat of Nico Hoerner and dove to tag Tawa, who had no time to get back, which probably short-circuited any further scoring.

Stanford is the No. 2 national seed in the 64-team tournament.

Much more to come on this story.

🐘 TITANS WIN ON A WALK-OFF! 🐘#RoadToOmaha pic.twitter.com/fNRXu8yezi

— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 3, 2018

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College baseball roundup: Colton Eastman strikes out 13 as Cal State Fullerton extends win streak

Colton Eastman struck out a career-high 13 batters and Cal State Fullerton got timely hits when it needed them as the Titans held on for 3-2 victory over UC Riverside and extended their winning streak to seven games on Friday night at Goodwin Field.

The Titans (26-20 overall, 13-3 Big West Conference) has won four consecutive Friday games, and Eastman (8-3) has had a significant hand in all of them.

The right-hander has never lost a Big West game on the mound, and he held UCR to two runs while scattering seven hits amid all those strikeouts in seven innings. Blake Workman pitched two shutout innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out four.

Ruben Cardenas went 2 for 4 with an RBI for his team-leading 17th multi-hit game. Sahid Valenzuela picked up two hits himself, including a double, and scored a run. Hank LoForte extended his on-base streak to 30 consecutive games and has at least one hit in 19 of his last 20 games.

Mitchell Berryhill was 1 for 2 with a walk, an RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases. Jacob Pavletich went 1 for 2 with two walks, while Jairus Richards went 1 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI.

Brett Borgogno produced a hit and a walk.

UCR (17-27, 5-11 Big West) opened the scoring in the second when Connor Cannon homered to right center.

Fullerton tied the score in the bottom of the third when Berryhill singled, stole second and third and scored on Cardenas’ sacrifice fly.

The Titans took the lead for good one inning later. Valenzuela led off with a slicing double down the right field line, and Pavletich bunted for a base hit to put runners at the corners. Two batters later, Richards delivered an RBI single to left. Borgogno then walked to load the bases, and Berryhill drew a bases-loaded walk for a 3-1 lead.

The Highlanders got one run back in the fifth inning, but that was all they could muster.

The series continues Saturday at 6 p.m.

Great game by @EastmanColton as he tosses 7 innings and gets a career high 13 strikeouts in a win over UC Riverside#TusksUp | #EverythingTogether pic.twitter.com/QnAzaoEdgh

— Titan Baseball (@BaseballTitans) May 12, 2018

UC Irvine 3, Cal Poly 1: UCI and host Cal Poly combined for 23 hits, but pitching and defense dictated the outcome with UCI prevailing behind Andre Pallante on Friday night in San Luis Obispo.

UCI’s Andre Pallante and Cal Poly’s Trent Shelton each pitched six innings. Pallante (8-1) limited the Mustangs (22-26, 8-8 Big West) to Elijah Skipps’ RBI double in the second inning and got them to strand eight runners on base while striking out nine on a career-high 117 pitches.

After watching their four hits produce no runs in the second inning, the Anteaters (28-19, 9-7) finally broke through in the fifth. Cole Kreuter’s two-out single scored Mikey Filia from third base to even the score, then Matt Reitano’s sacrifice fly drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth.

Sean Sparling took over for Pallante in the seventh, and Filia bailed him out by throwing out the potential tying run at the plate to end the inning. Jordan Bocko retired all six hitters he faced to earn his seventh save.

No. 9 hitter Filia had a career-high four hits and scored two runs, the second coming on Kreuter’s two-out single in the ninth. Christian Koss had a three-hit night and Konnor Zickefoose had two for UCI, which collected five infield singles among its 13 hits.

Long Beach State 9, UC Santa Barbara 8: Trailing by eight runs going to the bottom of the sixth inning, things looked grim for the hosts Friday night at Blair Field, but four-run rallies in the sixth and eighth innings helped set the stage for a wild walk-off win on a wild pitch in the ninth. It was the fifth straight win for LBSU (23-26, 8-8 Big West).

UCSB (22-23-1, 7-9) scored six runs in the second inning and one each in the third and fourth to open its 8-0 lead, but Long Beach started to chip away a few innings later. Freshman Chris Jimenez, who finished 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored, drove in LBSU’s first two runs with a bases-loaded double in the sixth. A pair of RBI groundouts by Steven Rivas and Shaq Robinson followed and cut the deficit in half.

Jimenez started the rally in the eighth with a leadoff single. After a two-out walk and a wild pitch, Clayton Andrews blooped a two-run single down the left-field line. Brooks Stotler then drove a triple over the head of the UCSB center fielder to make it a one-run game, and Jarren Duran tied the score with a sharp single through the left side to cap the two-out, four-run rally.

Long Beach senior Sebastian Sanchez worked three scoreless innings of relief to get the game to the ninth, where closer Chris Rivera took over, striking out the side in the top half.

Jacob Hughey started the bottom of the ninth with a single up the middle, and was lifted for pinch-runner Garrett Nelson. After a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk, then an unintentional walk, the bases were loaded for Santino Rivera. All he had to do was watch as the first pitch to him sailed well wide and reached the backstop. Nelson scored easily to give LBSU its first walk-off win of the season.

Through the first five innings, UCSB had eight runs on 10 hits while holding Long Beach scoreless on two hits. Over the final four innings, Long Beach State scored nine runs on nine hits, while the Gauchos were held scoreless and had just two hits. Five Long Beach players had multi-hit games and eight players scored at least one run.

The series continues Saturday at 2 p.m.

No. 11 UCLA 7, Washington 3: Michael Toglia hit a three-run home run and Jake Bird pitched 6-1/3 innings with seven strikeouts as the Bruins took the series opener in Seattle and snapped their four-game losing streak.

Bird (6-3) held Washington (23-21, 13-9) to three runs on eight hits while striking out seven. Garrett Barker earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning.

Daniel Amaral had two doubles and a run scored for UCLA (31-14, 15-7 Pac-12), while Chase Strumpf and Jack Stronach each had two hits and an RBI.

USC 8, Washington State 6: Jamal O’Guinn drove in the game-tying and go-ahead runs, and Stephen Dubb drove in the eventual game-winner in the ninth as the Trojans rallied to win the series opener in Pullman, Wash.

Washington State (14-26-1, 6-15-1 Pac-12) led 4-1, but USC (22-22, 10-15) scored three runs in the sixth inning to tie the score. With a runner on third and one out in the eighth, O’Guinn singled home Dillon Paulson with the go-ahead run. Kaleb Murphy scored on a wild pitch in the ninth, then Dubb’s two-run single provided what proved to be the winning runs.

Chris Clarke earned the win in relief, holding the Cougars to one hit over three innings and striking out four to retire nine of the 10 batters he faced. Lunn allowed a two-run homer in the ninth before closing out the win.

Dubb finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs and one run scored, while O’Guinn was 2 for 4 with three RBIs and Murphy was 2 for 4 with a run scored. Blake Clanton hit two home runs for Washington State, including the two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning.

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Chapman rallies from 10-1 deficit to beat Redlands and win SCIAC baseball tournament title

Chapman University stormed back from a nine-run deficit in the last three innings to beat Redlands 20-12 in the final game of the SCIAC baseball tournament Sunday at LaVerne and claim its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship since 2011.

The Panthers (34-11) trailed 10-1 through six innings, but sent 15 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the top of the seventh to tie it, then added seven runs in the eighth and three in the ninth. Senior Jared Love (Brea Olinda High) had a two-run double in the outburst in the seventh, and senior Gavin Blodgett (Sonora High), who began the inning by getting hit by a pitch, tied the game with  a three-run homer over the left field wall.

In the eighth, Love hit another two-run double and Blodgett followed with a two-run single. Jarod Penniman doubled in another and freshman Trevor Marrs hit his second homer of the tournament – a two-run blast to right to put the Panthers up 17-10. Love and Blodgett combined for 11 RBIs, six hits and five runs scored to fuel the comeback.

Earlier in the day, the Panthers beat Redlands 5-2, winning their third consecutive elimination game and forcing the “winner take all” title game. Junior Christian Cosby (El Dorado High) threw eight strong innings to get the win, improving his record to 8-3. Freshman Cody Turner took over in the ninth and got himself out of a bases-loaded jam to earn a save. Turner returned to pitch 2 2/3 innings in the second game, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out three to pick up his first collegiate win.

Chapman will head to an NCAA Regional on May 17-21. The NCAA will announce the tournament field on Sunday, May 13.

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Long Beach State baseball dominates UC Davis in series opener

LONG BEACH — Sophomore Zak Baayoun pitched 7-2/3 scoreless innings and Long Beach State made the most of its six hits in an 8-0 victory over visiting UC Davis in a Big West Conference series opener Friday night at Blair Field.

Playing in front of a season-high crowd of 2,978, Long Beach (18-24, 4-6 Big West) delivered in all phases of the game. Baayoun scattered six hits and a walk while striking out two, relying on a steady diet of ground outs and a pair of early double plays.

Long Beach scored a run in each of the first two innings on an RBI double from Leonard Jones and a key throwing error from the Aggies (13-23, 5-8) that allowed Shaq Robinson to score during a two-out rally. Jones scored on a Chris Jimenez sacrifice fly in the fourth to make it a 3-0 lead.

Long Beach made the most of its hits by doing the little things offensively, delivering four sacrifice bunts and three sacrifice flies. The hosts eliminated all doubt by scoring four runs in the seventh despite getting just one hit in the inning. Runs scored on a bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly, a wild pitch and a squeeze bunt.

Freshman Jake Lopez pitched the final 1-1/3 innings in relief, allowing just a hit while striking out a pair. Jones finished 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI, while Robinson scored two runs for the second game in a row. He and Santino Rivera were effective turning the lineup over, drawing two walks apiece.

Junior Clayton Andrews (3-7, 3.06 ERA) will take the mound for Long Beach on Saturday at 2 p.m., facing off with UC Davis right-hander Jared Sasaki (3-4, 5.67 ERA). The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.

Read more about Long Beach State baseball dominates UC Davis in series opener This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Santa Ana Shredding Service

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Cal State Fullerton baseball takes advantage of UC Irvine’s generosity

  • Cal State Fullerton starting pitcher Colton Eastman throws to the plate during Friday’s Big West Conference series opener against UC Irvine at Anteater Ballpark. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Cal State Fullerton starting pitcher Colton Eastman throws to the plate during Friday’s Big West Conference series opener against UC Irvine at Anteater Ballpark. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine’s Christian Koss is out at first base as Cal State Fullerton’s Jake Pavletich makes the catch while they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    UC Irvine’s Christian Koss is out at first base as Cal State Fullerton’s Jake Pavletich makes the catch while they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

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  • UC Irvine pitcher Andre Pallante throws against Cal State Fullerton as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    UC Irvine pitcher Andre Pallante throws against Cal State Fullerton as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton’s Sahid Valenzuela is congratulated after scoring a run against UC Irvine as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Cal State Fullerton’s Sahid Valenzuela is congratulated after scoring a run against UC Irvine as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine players watch the game as they are down against Cal State Fullerton as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    UC Irvine players watch the game as they are down against Cal State Fullerton as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine’s Jake Palmer celebrates being safe at second base against Cal State Fullerton as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    UC Irvine’s Jake Palmer celebrates being safe at second base against Cal State Fullerton as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine’s Christian Koss goes high for the catch as Cal State Fullerton’s Hank LoForte is safe at second as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    UC Irvine’s Christian Koss goes high for the catch as Cal State Fullerton’s Hank LoForte is safe at second as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton’s Jake Pavletich beats the tag at second by UC Irvine’s Cole Kreuteras they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Cal State Fullerton’s Jake Pavletich beats the tag at second by UC Irvine’s Cole Kreuteras they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton’s Hank LoForte hits an RBI against UC Irvine as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Cal State Fullerton’s Hank LoForte hits an RBI against UC Irvine as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine’s Christian Koss throws to first after Cal State Fullerton’s Jairus Richards is out at second as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    UC Irvine’s Christian Koss throws to first after Cal State Fullerton’s Jairus Richards is out at second as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton’s Brett Borgogno is congratulated after scoring during the Titans’ 8-3 Big West Conference victory over UC Irvine on Friday night at Anteater Ballpark. The series continues Saturday and Sunday. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Cal State Fullerton’s Brett Borgogno is congratulated after scoring during the Titans’ 8-3 Big West Conference victory over UC Irvine on Friday night at Anteater Ballpark. The series continues Saturday and Sunday. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton’s Jake Pavletich is on the dirt after getting hit with a UC Irvine pitch as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine. Pavletich got up and made it to first base.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Cal State Fullerton’s Jake Pavletich is on the dirt after getting hit with a UC Irvine pitch as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine. Pavletich got up and made it to first base.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine’s Devin Pettengill is out at second as Cal State Fullerton’s Hank LoForte looks to throw to first base as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    UC Irvine’s Devin Pettengill is out at second as Cal State Fullerton’s Hank LoForte looks to throw to first base as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton pitcher Colton Eastman is congratulated after pitching against UC Irvine as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Cal State Fullerton pitcher Colton Eastman is congratulated after pitching against UC Irvine as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton players warm up against UC Irvine as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Cal State Fullerton players warm up against UC Irvine as they battle during a Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Fans wait for the game to start as UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton battle during a three series Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Fans wait for the game to start as UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton battle during a three series Big West Conference baseball game Friday, April 27, 2018 in Irvine.
    (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

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IRVINE — When Cal State Fullerton’s version of small ball is working, it doesn’t need much help from an opponent. But UC Irvine gave the Titans plenty Friday night in the first game of their three-game Big West Conference series at Cicerone Field.

The Anteaters made an uncharacteristic four errors to assist the Titans’ 8-3 win, pushing Fullerton (20-20, 7-3) into first place in the Big West. UCI (25-15), which had a six-game winning streak and had won 11 of its previous 13 games, fell to 8-5 and second place.

UCI came into the game ranked 31st nationally in team defense with a .977 fielding percentage and had committed just 33 errors in 39 games. But a night of bad throws and muffs led to seven unearned runs. Second baseman Cole Kreuter had a pair and pitchers Andre Pallante and Cole Spear each had errant throws to first.

“We’ve been good in the infield this season,” UCI coach Mike Gillespie said. “The second baseman had a rough night. But we do have the disease of pitchers throwing the ball away. It was a bit of a meltdown tonight.”

Ruben Cardenas had three hits and Mitchell Berryhill two for the Titans. Fullerton ace Colton Eastman (6-3) allowed just a run five hits through eight innings before getting touched for two runs and four hits in the ninth, including Konnor Zickefoose’s third home run of the season. Dillon Brown got the final two outs.

“Their pitchers made a couple of mistakes and it ballooned on them,” Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook said. His pitcher, Eastman, was marvelous for eight innings.

“Colton’s like a lot of our Friday night guys in the past,” Vanderhook said. “What makes him different is that he’s super competitive. He’s one of the few guys who we let shake off a pitch. He’s earned the right to do that.”

The Titans’ two runs in the second inning scored without a hit.

Jake Pavletich walked. Sahid Valenzuela dropped a sacrifice bunt but reached first when second baseman Kreuter bobbled an easy throw from pitcher Pallante. Jairus Richards then bunted the runners over to second and third.

Pallante struck out Brett Borgogno and induced Hank LoForte to hit a comebacker to the mound for what should have been the third out, but Pallante’s throw to first was in the dirt and popped off the glove of first baseman Ryan Fitzpatrick, allowing both runners to score.

The Titans made it 3-0 in the fifth, LoForte reaching on an infield single and scoring on Cardenas’ hard single to right field. The Anteaters pushed a run across in the bottom of the fifth, Matt Reitano doubling into the left-field corner and eventually scoring on a Jake Palmer groundout to first.

Fullerton made it 4-1 with the help of another UCI error. Pavletich singled and reached second when the umpire ruled Kreuter came off the base taking a throw from shortstop Christian Koss. LoForte drove home the run on an infield out.

“They are way better than their record shows,” Gillespie said of Fullerton. “They’re a handful to put it mightily. We’ll shake this one off and hopefully come out and play better tomorrow.”

The Titans blew the game open in the eighth, scoring four runs on three hits, a walk, a hit batter and a two-base throwing error by reliever Spear. The Anteaters did little against Eastman.

The Anteaters had two shots early. They loaded the bases with one out in the second on a Kreuter double, a walk and a Koss single, but Eastman struck out Reitano and Ryan Johnston grounded out. Jake Palmer doubled to start the third and was bunted to third but was stranded.

The teams meet again Saturday at 2 p.m. and play the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m.

Ruben talking postgame after his big offensive performance in tonight’s W#TusksUp | #EverythingTogether pic.twitter.com/LdziEVcqrc

— Titan Baseball (@BaseballTitans) April 28, 2018

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