College baseball: UC Irvine stays in Big West title hunt; UCLA clinches Pac-12 title

UC Irvine scored 11 runs in the first two innings, giving starting pitcher Andre Pallante plenty of cushion to work with as the Anteaters won their series opener against host UC Riverside 11-4 on Thursday night and kept alive their hopes for a share of the Big West Conference title.

UCI’s win, combined with Cal Poly’s 3-0 victory over visiting UC Santa Barbara tightened the conference race heading into the final two days of the season. The 12th-ranked Gauchos (44-8 overall, 18-4 Big West) have a two-game lead over both UCI (36-16, 16-6) and Cal Poly (27-27, 16-6). If Cal Poly beats the Gauchos again Friday and Saturday in San Luis Obispo, UCI can finish in a three-way tie for the title by beating UCR (19-35, 7-15) twice more.

UCI had runners at second and third with one out in the first inning when it took control of Friday’s game. Seven consecutive hits followed, resulting in seven runs and an early exit for UCR starting pitcher Shamus Lyons (3-7).

Mike Peabody and Konnor Zickefoose each singled home runs in the second inning, then Jake Palmer added a two-run single of his own for an 11-0 lead.

Pallante (10-4) blanked the Highlanders until the fifth inning, when a double, a wild pitch and a groundout gave UCR its first run. Pallante held UCR to three runs over his six innings, striking out six against one walk. His 26th career win ties him for sixth with in program history with Glenn Swanson.

Kaz Akamatsu earned his first career save, allowing one run and two hits over three innings. He struck out the side in the eighth.

Palmer went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and a run scored to pace UCI. Adrian Damla (2 for 5, two RBIs, two runs scored), Konnor Zickefoose (2 for 3, two RBIs, two runs scored), Peabody (2 for 5, RBI, two runs scored) and Mikey Filia (2 for 5, one RBI, one run) also had multi-hit days for the Anteaters.

The series continues Friday at 6 p.m. at UCR. Trenton Denholm will start for UCI.

In other games … 

Cal State Northridge 1, Cal State Fullerton 0: Timothy Josten pitched seven scoreless innings (two hits, five strikeouts), but the Titans dropped the opener of their season-ending series on a walk-off passed ball at CSUN.

Blake Doremus led off the bottom of the ninth with a pinch-hit single through the right side. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sean Skelly, then Andrew Lucas stroked a single through the left side of the infield to put runners at the corners with one out. With Wesley Ghan-Gibson at the plate, Fullerton reliever Kyle Luckham threw a pitch outside that catcher Kameron Guangorena could not stop. The ball bounced far enough from home plate for Doremus to dash home with the game’s only run.

Josten, who has allowed just three runs in his last five appearances, retired the final 13 batters he faced.

Mitchell Berryhill went 2 for 4 for the Titans (25-26, 11-11 Big West), raising his batting average to .416, which would be the fifth highest single-season average in program history. AJ Curtis also went 2 for 4, but the rest of the Fullerton lineup was held to one hit by CSUN’s Isaiah Nunez. The senior left-hander tied a career high with eight strikeouts in his 126-pitch outing for the Matadors (23-30, 9-13).

The series resumes Friday at 1 p.m., and the Titans now find themselves needing to win their final two games of the season to avoid finishing with the first losing record in program history.

No. 1 UCLA 4, Oregon 2: Michael Toglia’s two-run home run to left field in the eighth inning proved to be the difference as the top-ranked Bruins took the series opener in Eugene, Ore., and, combined with losses by No. 3 Stanford and No. 11 Oregon State, clinched the Pac-12 title.

Ryan Garcia (9-0) allowed just three hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and three walks for UCLA (46-8, 23-5 Pac-12), and Holden Powell earned his conference-leading 15th save. The Bruins have won nine games in a row and 25 of their past 27.

Ryan Kreidler (2 for 4, run scored), Jake Pries (2 for 4, RBI), Jack Stronach (2 for 4) and Noah Cardenas (2 for 3, RBI) paced the Bruins at the plate.

The series continues Friday at 6 p.m. Oregon is 27-28, 10-18.

USC 2, No. 11 Oregon State 0: John Beller pitched seven scoreless innings, then Chandler Champlain and Chris Clarke retired the final six batters in order as the Trojans (24-28-1, 12-14-1 Pac-12) shut out the Beavers (35-17-1, 20-7) in the opener of their three-game series in Corvallis, Ore.

USC took advantage of Oregon State errors for each of its runs, setting up Tyler Pritchard’s RBI single in the second inning and Matthew Acosta’s RBI single in the fifth.

Beller worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third, getting a strikeout and then a pop-up to end the threat. The lefty also stranded a runner in scoring position in the fifth after a leadoff double and worked around a two-out single in the seventh.

Champlain got a groundout and two fly balls in the eighth and Clarke got a strikeout, fly ball and a grounder in the ninth to earn his seventh save. Brady Shockey helped preserve the shutout with a highlight-reel catch in the ninth, robbing a home run from the Beavers’ Zack Zalesky.

Long Beach State 3, Hawaii 0: Sophomore left-hander Adam Seminaris scattered five singles and struck out seven, facing just three batters over the minimum on his way to a shutout of Hawaii in the series opener at Blair Field. It was the first complete game of Seminaris’ college career and the first of the season for LBSU (12-41, 6-16 Big West).

Seminaris retired the first 10 batters he faced in order and recorded 16 ground ball outs compared to just two in the air. He also pounded the strike zone with 70 of his 94 pitches going for strikes. He also set a tremendous pace, dispatching Hawaii (20-28, 8-14) in just 2 hours, 1 minute.

Junior Jacob Hughey paced the Long Beach offense with his fifth three-hit game of the season. The junior first baseman was 3 for 4 with a double and scored twice. Chris Jimenez and Chase Luttrell had the other two hits for LBSU and Victor Carlino logged a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to record the only RBI of the night.

The series continues Friday at 6 p.m. when Long Beach junior Nick Avila (0-5, 3.99 ERA) squares off with Hawaii’s Aaron Davenport (2-5, 4.80 ERA).

Read more about College baseball: UC Irvine stays in Big West title hunt; UCLA clinches Pac-12 title This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

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Brubaker pitches complete game as UC Irvine baseball defeats LBSU Dirtbags

IRVINE – UC Irvine’s Tanner Brubaker and Long Beach State’s Nick Avila went head-to-head in a pitcher’s duel Saturday night at Cicerone Field, the Anteaters getting the win thanks to a ball that rolled about ten feet.

Brubaker won his fourth game of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.04, pitching the Anteater’s first complete game of the season in a 4-1 win, allowing just six hits, not walking anyone and striking out eight.

Avila, making his second start for the Dirtbags, allowed three hits in seven innings and the lone run scored against him cam home on a force play.

Tied 1-1 after 7 ½, the Anteaters rallied against reliever Tyler Gums. With one out, Mikey Filia drew a walk and went to third on Brandon Lewis’ single to left field.

With Adrian Damla at-bat, head coach Ben Orloff called for a safety squeeze. Damla’s bunt slowly rolled toward the pitcher but never reached the grass. Catcher Dominic Campeau stayed home and let Gums make the play, and the pitcher’s throw was too late to get Filia.

“We want to be able to win any kind of game we’re in,” Orloff said after the win that pushed the Anteaters to 20-5 on the season and 4-1 in Big West play. “It was a safety squeeze which can be tough to defend.”

Filia went on contact as the ball rolled toward the mound. “You just trust the play,” the junior center field said.

“You go on contact and run as fast and as hard as you can.

“I thought the pitcher did a good job getting off the mound and to the ball.”

“I’m not sure it was a safety squeeze,” Dirtbags coach Troy Buckley said. “It was just aggressive baseball. Filia did a great getting down the line.”

The bunt made it 2-1, and Christian Koss singled two runs home later in the inning to make it 4-1.

Both coaches praised their starters. Orloff left Brubaker in for nine even though he allowed the leadoff man to reach base in six of nine innings.

“The way he throws so many strikes, he wasn’t going to beat him by issuing any walks even when they had men on base,” Orloff said.

Avila pitched well in a five-inning start last week at Cal. He worked out of a second-and-third and one out rally in the sixth. UC Irvine was able to use a single, two walks and a groundout to nick him for a run in the seventh and tie the game.

“Nick gave us a chance to win, and I think that’s a good step up for him,” Buckley said of the junior right-hander. “That was his longest effort, and it would have been unfair to him if we had asked him to go any longer.”

Long Beach got its run on Calvin Estrada’s first home run of the season, a line drive over the left field wall.

The snake bit Dirtbags (4-25) got the leadoff runner on in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings but were unable to push a run across. In the eighth, Kyle Hogan singled, went to second on a bunt and to third on a fly ball, but Jacob Hughey struck out to end the rally.

The Anteaters finally got a run in the seventh. With one out, Mike Peabody singled. Avila then issued his first walk on four pitches to Christian Koss, then was ahead of John Jensen 1-2 before walking Jensen to load the bases.

Avila stayed in and Brooks hit a grounder in the hole a short that resulted in a fielder’s choice and a run to tie the game 1-1.

The Anteaters have gone from the unranked to the No. 19 spot in the latest rankings. They win Saturday clinched the series for them, giving them a series win in all eight they have played this season.

The teams finish the series at Cicerone Field today at 1 p.m.

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Cal State Fullerton’s Colton Eastman, Rick Vanderhook earn Big West awards

Cal State Fullerton pitcher Colton Eastman and Coach Rick Vanderhook received Big West Conference postseason awards as the league’s Pitcher and Coach of the Year on Wednesday, while relief pitcher Blake Workman and second baseman Hank LoForte joined Eastman on the all-conference first team.

Eastman, who pitched the fifth no-hitter in program history in a 3-0 victory over UC Santa Barbara on March 29, pitched 103.2 innings and struck out 108 en route to a 2.26 ERA. Eastman (9-3) anchors a Titans pitching staff that ranks seventh in the country in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.04) and fifth in walks allowed per nine innings (2.69). He is the 14th Titan to earn Big West Pitcher of the Year honors.

Vanderhook earned his fifth Big West Coach of the Year honor after guiding the Titans to their 22nd league title with an 18-6 mark. After dropping their opening series to UCSB, the Titans won their final seven league series to wrap up the crown before the season’s final week. Fullerton will make its 27th straight NCAA appearance when it opens play in the NCAA Stanford Regional on Friday. The fifth COY award ties Vanderhook with George Horton for the most in program history.

Workman went 1-1 with three saves and a 2.81 ERA during 15 appearances in conference play. He had 35 strikeouts and eight walks in 25-2/3 innings. LoForte batted nearly .400 during conference play, scored 21 runs and had 20 RBIs and was constantly in the middle of key rallies.

Cal Poly’s Alex McKenna was named Big West Field Player of the Year and teammate Nick Meyer (Santa Margarita High) earned Defensive Player of the Year. UC Riverside’s Cole Percival was named Freshman Pitcher of the Year while UC Davis’ Tanner Murray was named Freshman Player of the Year.

Fullerton, UC Irvine and Hawai’i paced the league with three first-team selections apiece.

Five other Titans received all-conference recognition as Jacob Pavletich, Tommy Wilson and Ruben Cardenas earned second-team honors, while Mitchell Berryhill and Daniel Cope were given honorable mention nods.

Nine UCI players earned all-conference honors, led by first-team selections Andre Pallante, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Parker Coss.

Pallante, named one of five finalists for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame’s National Pitcher of the Year award, was the only pitcher in the Big West to win 10 games, going 6-1 in conference play and leading the league with a 1.60 ERA. His 115 strikeouts ranked No. 2 among conference pitchers.

Fitzpatrick, a first baseman, led UCI and the Big West in on-base percentage (.436) while pacing the Anteaters with 44 RBIs and a .526 slugging percentage. He hit .307 with 59 hits and 14 doubles and shared the team lead with eight home runs.

Coss’ .276 average was second among Big West third basemen, and he was arguably the conference’s best defender at the hot corner.

UCI’s Cole Kreuter and Konnor Zickefoose earned second-team honors, while Matt Reitano, Jordan Bocko, Christian Koss and Brendan Brooks received honorable mention nods.

Two-way standout Clayton Andrews was Long Beach State’s lone first-team selection, earning the nod as a starting pitcher. The five-time Big West Pitcher of the Week led the conference with a 1.11 ERA during conference play, finishing with a mark of 1.99 overall. His 118 strikeouts led the conference, and his 11.21 strikeouts per nine innings during conference games was easily the highest among starters. Andrews allowed 78 hits and 17 walks in 99.2 innings pitched, giving him a conference-best WHIP of .950.

Andrews also hit .302 with a team-leading five triples. He was second on the team in RBIs (26), walks (25), and stolen bases (13) and struck out just six times in 215 at-bats, making him the toughest batter in the country to strike out. Andrews was also the first player in Big West history to win Pitcher of the Week and Player of the Week during the same season.

Three Long Beach players earned second-team recognition: second baseman Jarren Duran (Cypress High), junior closer Chris Rivera and starting pitcher Zak Baayoun (Woodbridge High). LBSU had no honorable mention picks.

Read more about Cal State Fullerton’s Colton Eastman, Rick Vanderhook earn Big West awards This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. SaddleBack Valley Shredding Service

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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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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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College baseball roundup: Cal State Fullerton takes series opener against Hawaii

Colton Eastman pitched seven strong innings and Daniel Cope delivered a towering two-run home run to lead Fullerton to a 6-3 victory over Hawaii in the opener of their three-game Big West Conference series Friday night at Goodwin Field.

Fullerton (18-18, 5-2 Big West), which improved to 7-3 in games Eastman starts, moved into sole possession of first place with the win.

Eastman (5-3) allowed three runs on eight hits while striking out six in his seven innings. Blake Workman struck out the side in a scoreless eighth inning, then Brett Conine added a scoreless ninth to earn his eighth save.

Jackson Rees (3-1) took his first loss for Hawaii (20-14, 6-4).

Hank LoForte went 3 for 4 with a run score to extend his season-long hit streak to 10 games. Cope went 1 for 4 with his team-leading fourth home run and three RBIs.

Hawaii scored a first-inning run on back-to-back doubles, but Fullerton responded with two runs in the bottom of the third. Mitchell Berryhill reached on an error, then Ruben Cardenas and Chris Prescott followed with singles, the second one scoring Berryhill. Cope followed with a sacrifice bunt to score Cardenas from third.

Hawaii regained the lead in the top of the fifth when Adam Fogel hit a two-out, two-run home run to left field for a 3-2 advantage. Fullerton answered again, with LoForte scoring on a Cardenas single up the middle and Cardenas scoring the go-ahead run on Sahid Valenzuela’s two-out single. Cope’s titanic blast in the seventh made it 6-3.

The teams meet again Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

UC Irvine 4, Cal State Northridge 2: Christian Koss hit his first career home run and Brendan Brooks denied CSUN one of its own with a spectacular catch late as surging UCI took the series opener Friday afternoon at Matador Field.

Trailing 1-0 in the third inning, Koss, a sophomore shortstop, scored from first on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s second double of the game to tie it. CSUN regained the lead in the bottom of the inning on Alvaro Rubalcaba’s leadoff home run.

Koss gave UCI (22-14, 6-4 Big West) the lead for good when he blasted a three-run home run to left field in the top of the fourth inning.

Starting pitchers Andre Pallante (UCI) and Walker Armstrong took control from there, trading blows through the middle innings to hold the score steady at 4-2. Pallante pitched into the eighth and was looking for the final out of the inning when Nolan Bumstead came to the plate looking for his second home run of the day. He launched one high and deep to left, but Brooks made a leaping catch at the wall to deny preserve the lead.

Jordan Bocko pitched the ninth for his fifth save. Pallante earned his sixth win, scattering seven hits and striking out a season-low four. Armstrong went 7-2/3 with seven strikeouts for CSUN (17-20, 5-5).

Koss finished with three hits, two runs scored and three RBIs, and Fitzpatrick had three hits and his RBI.

The series resumes Saturday at 1 p.m.

Cal Poly (SLO) 5, Long Beach State 4: Long Beach loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning before a pair of strikeouts ended the nationally televised game Friday night in San Luis Obispo.

Long Beach (16-22, 3-4 Big West) fell behind 3-0, but battled back behind junior Clayton Andrews, who was 3 for 4. He singled to lead off the fourth then later scored on a single from Jarren Duran. An inning later, with runners on first and second and two outs, Andrews ripped a 3-and-2 pitch into the gap in right center for a two-run triple to tie the score.

Cal Poly (17-19, 4-6) scored twice in the sixth inning, but pinch hitter Tristan Mercadel delivered a two-out RBI single in the eighth to cut the margin to one.

Long Beach got a one-out walk from Santino Rivera to start its ninth-inning rally. Andrews was then hit by a pitch and Chris Jimenez battled for a walk of his own to load the bases without a hit. However, Cal Poly went to lefty reliever Matt Arens, who recorded back-to-back strikeouts to leave the bases loaded and give Mustangs coach Larry Lee his 500th career victory.

Dylan Spacke pitched the final two innings for Long Beach, striking out four.

Duran finished 2 for 5 for his 12th multi-hit game of the season.

The teams meet again Saturday night at 6.

No. 15 UCLA 16, USC 1: Kevin Kendall hit a three-run home run and scored three times, while Jake Bird allowed just one run in seven innings as the Bruins dominated Friday night’s Pac-12 series opener at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Bird (5-2) held the Trojans (18-16, 6-10 Pac-12) to one run in seven innings, scattering eight hits and recording one strikeout.

Michael Toglia had a home run and three RBIs for the Bruins (23-10, 12-4), while Daniel Amaral went 3 for 4 with two doubles and three runs scored. Chase Strumpf had two hits and two RBIs as UCLA finished with 14 hits.

UCLA had all the offense it would need after a five-run first inning. Strumpf started the scoring with a two-run double to the gap in left-center field. Jack Stronach and Garrett Mitchell added RBI singles, and Ryan Kreidler added a sacrifice fly to right field.

The Bruins tacked on two more runs in the second inning when Toglia drove in Kendall with a line drive to right field and later scored as Amaral singled to right-center field.

USC got a run back in the top of the fifth inning but UCLA responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Daniel Rosica drove in Amaral with an RBI single, then two batters later Kendall smashed a three-run home run down the right-field line with two outs for a 10-run lead.

The Bruins scored five more runs in the bottom of the eighth, highlighted by Toglia’s two-run home run to center and Kendall’s RBI single. Eight of the nine UCLA starters drove in at least one run.

Kyle Hurt (2-4) took the loss for USC, allowing seven runs on eight hits with three walks in four innings.

The teams resume the series Saturday at 4 p.m.

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College baseball roundup: Andre Pallante, UC Irvine dominate UCSB in opener

UC Irvine turned on its refurbished scoreboard and made sure most of the lightbulbs got an opportunity to shine, giving starting pitcher Andre Pallante plenty of support in a 10-2 rout of UC Santa Barbara on Friday night at Anteater Ballpark.

UCSB took an early lead when Marcos Castanon’s two-out triple scored Sam Cohen in the second inning, but UCI scored seven runs in the third and fourth innings to take control of the game.

Playing in his first game back from injury, Christian Koss started the onslaught with an RBI tapper. Brendan Brooks added an RBI single for a 2-1 lead, then Ryan Fitzpatrick – who reached base four times – delivered a three-run home run to cap the five-run third inning.

UCI (19-13, 4-3 Big West Conference) extended the margin when Koss added a well-placed double down the line, and Jake Palmer slapped an RBI single into center to make it 7-1.

Meanwhile, Pallante (5-0) held the Gauchos (15-14-1, 2-2) to just three hits in his seven innings, striking out 10.

UCSB scored its other run in the top of the eighth, but a Cole Kreuter home run, an infield single and a bases-loaded walk extended the Anteater lead to 10-2.

UCSB freshman left-hander Jack Dashwood allowed seven runs and 10 hits in his 3-1/3 innings.

The bottom third of the UCI lineup excelled, as 7-8-9 hitters Matt Reitano, Konnor Zickefoose and Koss each finished the night 3 for 4 and each scored twice.

The series resumes Saturday at 2 p.m.

San Diego State 6, Cal State Fullerton 3: Colton Eastman allowed three runs in seven innings as the Aztecs did just enough offensively to snap the Titans’ season-long six-game win streak in the nonconference series opener at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Eastman (3-2) shook off a rough start (three runs on four hits in the bottom of the first) and struck out a career-high eight while allowing six hits for Fullerton (16-16).

Offensively, Hank LoForte had a career-high four hits, including a triple, an RBI and a run scored. Mitchell Berryhill went 2 for 3 with an RBI, Brett Borgogno went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and Ruben Cardenas had an RBI.

Down 3-1, Fullerton loaded the bases with no one out in the fifth inning but failed to score a run. The Titans made better use of their next threat, with Cardenas driving home Borgogno on a sacrifice fly in the seventh to cut the deficit to one run.

The Aztecs gave themselves some cushion with three runs in the bottom of the eighth, and LoForte’s RBI triple in the ninth was Fullerton’s last gasp.

The series resumes Saturday at 6 p.m.

Long Beach State 7, Cal State Northridge 5: Long Beach State (14-20, 2-2 Big West) scored six times in the fifth inning, capitalizing on some key mistakes by CSUN (16-17, 4-3) to earn a come-from-behind victory at Matador Field. Five of LBSU’s runs were unearned, and the six-run inning helped erase a 3-0 deficit.

Tristan Mercadel reached base in all four trips to the plate, singling twice and drawing a pair of walks. He was one of four Long Beach players with multiple hits, joining Jacob Hughey, Chris Jimenez and Santino Rivera. Hughey’s two-run single with the bases loaded in the fifth inning gave LBSU its first lead.

Sophomore Zak Baayoun picked up his sixth win of the season, covering seven innings while allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with seven strikeouts.

The series continues Saturday at 1 p.m.

No. 18 UCLA 16, Utah 3: Jeremy Ydens hit a home run and a double with three runs scored, while Jake Bird allowed just two runs in 7-1/3 innings of work as the Bruins rolled to an easy win in the series opener in Salt Lake City.

Michael Toglia added three hits, three RBIs and two runs scored and Chase Strumpf finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs for UCLA (20-9, 9-4 Pac-12). Daniel Amaral and Ryan Kreidler each drove in two runs for the Bruins, who posted a season-best run total.

Bird (4-2) scattered five hits with seven strikeouts to improve to 3-1 in conference play.

The Bruins took their first lead in the top of the fourth inning when Kreidler split the right-center field gap with a two-out, two-run triple to bring home Amaral and Toglia for a 3-1 advantage. UCLA extended its leas to 8-1 with five runs in the fifth inning. The Bruins loaded the bases and scored their first run when Jake Pries was hit by a pitch, then Toglia and Amaral hit back-to-back two-run doubles.

Strumpf’s two-run single highlighted a five-run seventh inning that pushed the lead to 11 runs. UCLA drew a season-high 12 walks.

Josh Tedeschi (0-7) allowed eight runs on five hits and four walks in 4-1/3 innings for Utah (9-23, 4-6).

The series resumes Saturday at noon PT.

Arizona 14, USC 2: Arizona (21-11, 5-5 Pac-12) scored in each of the first four innings, breaking the game open with a five-run fourth in the series opener at Dedeaux Field.

USC (16-13, 5-8) cut its deficit to 5-1 in the bottom of the third when Brandon Perez tripled and then scored on a Lars Nootbaar groundout, but there wasn’t much else from the Trojans. USC got an RBI groundout from Kaleb Murphy in the ninth inning, and Riley Lamb pitched two scoreless, hitless innings of relief, striking out three.

Nick Quintana went 3 for 6 with three doubles and four RBIs to lead the visiting Wildcats.

The series resumes Saturday at 2 p.m.

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College baseball roundup: Jacob Hughey, Long Beach State beat No. 18 UCLA

Redshirt sophomore Jacob Hughey drove in three runs and earned the victory in his first start of the season to lead Long Beach State to a 5-2 nonconference victory over No. 18 UCLA on Tuesday night at Blair Field.

Hughey allowed two runs on three hits and struck out a career-high seven over six innings, retiring 10 consecutive Bruins after Chase Strumpf’s two-run home run down the left-field line in the third inning – the former JSerra High standout’s eighth home run this season.

Hughey came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh inning and stroked an opposite-field single to left to score two runs and give Long Beach (13-20) a 5-2 lead. He had an RBI groundout in the first inning.

Jarren Duran had two hits, including an RBI triple and scored a run. Santino Rivera also collected a run and an RBI for Long Beach.

Eli Villalobos and Chris Rivera combined for three hitless innings behind Hughey, with Rivera earning his ninth save with a scoreless ninth.

Jack Ralston (0-2) took the loss for UCLA (19-9), allowing three runs on three hits in 1-1/3 innings. Nick Scheidler followed with 4-2/3 shutout innings in relief, scattering three hits with four strikeouts.

Long Beach resumes Big West Conference play on Friday at 3 p.m. at Cal State Northridge, while UCLA heads to Salt Lake City for a Friday-Sunday Pac-12 series with Utah.

Cal State Fullerton 3, Pepperdine 2: The Titans (16-15) rallied for their sixth consecutive victory to climb over .500 for the first time this season, and they did it with another one-run victory at Goodwin Field. Four of Fullerton’s last six victories have been one-run wins.

Timothy Josten held the Waves (14-17) to one run and five hits over the first 3-2/3 innings, striking out three. Tanner Bibee (2-3) surrendered just one run on two hits in 4-1/3 innings of relief, while striking out seven. Blake Workman struck out the side in the ninth to earn his first save of the season.

Ruben Cardenas reached base three times (single, walk, hit by a pitch) and drove in two runs for the Titans, while Jacob Pavletich had a double and a run scored. Hank LoForte had one hit, a run scored and the game-winning RBI from the leadoff spot.

Pepperdine scored a run in the fourth and another in the sixth to take a 2-1 lead, but Fullerton responded in the bottom of the sixth. Ryan Williams reached on pinch-hit leadoff walk, advanced to second on a passed ball and moved to third on a Mitchell Berryhill groundout, then Cardenas drove him in when he beat out a chopper to third for an infield single.

Fullerton took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh. Pavletich had a one-out double to center field, then moved to third on Brett Borgogno’s pinch hit single to left. Daniel Cope drew a walk to load the bases before LoForte plated the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Fullerton opens a three-game nonconference series at San Diego State on Friday night.

UC Irvine 10, San Diego State 2: The Anteaters picked up where they left off over the weekend slugging, pitching, and playing spotless defense in a nonconference victory at SDSU’s Tony Gwynn Stadium.

UCI (18-13) erupted for seven of its runs in the second inning. Cole Kreuter and Parker Coss hit back-to-back doubles to produce the first run, and then, all with two outs, Konnor Zickefoose doubled to score Coss and run-scoring singles from Ryan Johnston and Brendan Brooks set the table for Ryan Fitzpatrick to deliver a three-run homer to left field. Nick Anderson added an RBI single in the fourth and a two-run single in the sixth.

Meanwhile, Trenton Denholm made his first start in nearly two weeks and kept the Aztecs (21-12) scoreless through his four innings. Denholm was followed by Sean Sparling (two innings), Jake Lachemann (one inning) and Alonzo Garcia (one inning) as UCI extended its scoreless pitching streak to 23 consecutive innings before the Aztecs scratched out a pair of runs in the ninth.

UCI hosts UC Santa Barbara in a three-game Big West series Friday-Sunday.

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