West Impressions: Cal, Nevada Grab Important Wins

Brett Cumberland courtesy Cal Athletics

Brett Cumberland courtesy Cal Athletics

Streaks End As Oregon Avoids Sweep

BERKELEY, Calif. – A pair of opposing streaks came to an end Sunday as the No. 14 Oregon Ducks finally snapped their surprising slide this week with a 4-2 win over the California Bears at Evans Diamonds to salvage a win in the series loss. Cal saw its own impressive 10-game winning streak snapped in the home loss but can take solace in capturing the series win to start Pac 12 play at 2-1.

The Ducks capitalized on a pair of errors by the Bears to plate three-runs in the seventh inning that would stand up for the win. Junior outfielder Scott Heineman moved around the bases as Cal misplayed a duo of sacrifice attempts by Austin Grebeck (So., OF) and Nick Catalano (Jr., OF) to score the game’s first run after leading off the inning with a single. JUCO transfer Matt Eureste (Jr., 3B) lobbed a sac fly that scored Grebeck and Catalano would come in on a groundout to build a 3-0 lead.

Cal quickly responded in the home half of the frame as freshman Brett Cumberland (.328/.569/.512, 3 HR, 17 RBI) smacked a two-run double to cut the lead to 3-2. However, the Ducks struck back a Catalano smashed his second homer of the year to push the lead back to 4-2. Ducks’ closer Garrett Cleavinger (Jr., LHP) came on to close out the game, tossing a scoreless inning-and-a-third while notching a pair of strikeouts to snag his third save on the year.

Oregon was riding terrific momentum after a road series win at No. 19 UC Santa Barbara and then a home sweep of St. John’s but then scored only three runs while dropping back-to-back, mid-week decisions to the San Fransisco Dons before falling in the first two games of this series at Cal.

The Bears swept Kansas State, blew out San Fransisco (11-0), swept Chicago State and then won at Pacific leading into this series. Cal proved it can win against the Pac 12s big boys with this series win over Oregon and may finally be doing enough to get noticed outside of the west coast.

Nevada Establishes Early Mountain West Dominance In Win Over New Mexico

RENO, Nev. – Infielders Austin Byler (Sr.) and Ryan Howell (Jr.) drove in three runs each as the No. 23 Nevada Wolf Pack downed the New Mexico Lobos 9-2 to take the series win. Byler blasted his sixth long ball of the season in the third while Howell drove his second triple of the year to the gap as the Wolf Pack erased the memory of a 3-1 loss to open the series.

Juniors dominated on the mound for the Pack as right-hander Michael Fain (2-0) started the game and was solid, allowing two earned runs in five innings of work before handing the game over to Christian Stolo (LHP). The stingy southpaw hurled four scoreless frames, allowing only a pair of hits while striking out four to grab the four-inning save, his first of the year.

Both squads opened conference play with New Mexico taking 2-of-3 at home against San Diego State while the Wolf Pack snagged 2-of-3 at UNLV. This series was expected to produce the early favorite for the Mountain West title and Nevada stepped up big.

The Wolf Pack dropped the opener 3-1 and it looks briefly as though the Lobos were going to again be the dominant team in the conference. However, Nevada returned a 3-1 win on Saturday and then clubbed the Lobos on Sunday to solidify their place atop the Mountain West and in the Top 25.

Quick Hits

No. 20 Texas Tech 6, San Diego State 3

The No. 20 Texas Tech Red Raiders flexed some west coast muscle in taking series win over the San Diego State Aztecs. You can read my coverage here.

Trent Chatterton swarmed after walk-off sac fly. Photo by Andy Berg courtesy UCLA Athletics

Trent Chatterton swarmed after walk-off sac fly. Photo by Andy Berg courtesy UCLA Athletics

No. 9 UCLA 5, Washington 4, 13 Innings

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Bruins’ senior stopper David Berg (RHP) earned his first win of 2015 after tossing six scoreless innings in relief as the No. 9 UCLA Bruins pull out the 5-4 win over the Washington Huskies in 13 innings at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Sunday to take the series. Berg fanned eight and scattered seven hits over his six innings of work and got the win in melodramatic fashion as Ty Moore (Jr., OF) scored on a Trent Chatterton (Jr., INF) sac fly after leading off the 13th with a single back up the box.

No. 10 USC 11, Washington State 0

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Just a day after a heroic effort by Washington State Cougar Joe Pistoree evened the series, the No. 10 USC Trojan re-asserted their mettle with an 11-0 stomping to take the series win. Resilient freshman righty Mitch Hart improved to 4-0 in another brilliant performance, tossing a two-hitter while striking out five in a complete game effort. Trojan hitters clubbed three homers as Garrett Stubbs (Sr., C) hit his first while David Oppenheim (Jr., OF) smacked his second on the year and Dante Flores (Sr., INF) hit his third long ball of the year to tie AJ Ramirez (Jr., INF) for the team lead in the blowout win.

No. 15 Arizona State 7, Oregon State 4

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The cardiac No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils got a pair of late-inning, two-run hits to down the Oregon State Beavers 7-4 and take the series win at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Sunday. After falling behind 4-2, Colby Woodmansee drove a two-run single to center in the seventh to tie the game. In the eighth it was A Snow’s two-run, seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield that sealed the win for Sun Devil baseball.

No. 19 UC Santa Barbara 8, Wichita State 0

WICHITA, Kan. – Junior Ryan Clark sparked the No. 19 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos offense by smashing his first collegiate homer, a three-run shot, in a five-run seventh-inning rally as the Gauchos took the series win over the Wichita State Shockers with an 8-0 win at Eck Stadium on Sunday. Meanwhile, junior southpaw Justin Jacome ran his record to 3-1 while striking out eight over six scoreless innings for the win.

Indiana 10, No. 25 Cal State Fullerton 4

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The No. 25 Cal State Fullerton Titans couldn’t get out of Indiana quick enough as the Hoosiers completed the sweep with a 10-4 win at Bart Kaufman Field on Sunday. No easy answers were found for Indiana bats that worked 10 runs out of 11 hits and six walks as the Titans’ staff scrambled to stop the bleeding. Titans’ sophomore Josh Estill smashed a three-run homer to capture a 4-3 lead that the pen would not be able to hold as it surrendered seven runs over the final three innings in the loss.

Utah 9, Arizona 8

TUCSON, Ariz. – After building a solid record and resume heading into conference play, the Arizona Wildcats failed to capitalize in dropping a home series to the Utah Utes with a 9-8 loss on Sunday at Hi Corbett Field. Riley Moore (Sr., C) hit a solo homer and drove in three while Kevin Newman (Jr., SS) had a four-hit game and scored twice. Wildcats’ starter Tyger Talley (Jr., RHP) tossed seven scoreless innings sending the Wildcats into the eighth with a 7-0 lead. However, Talley opened the eighth with a one-out walk and hit batsman before being pulled for reliever Bobby Dalbec (So., RHP). The sophomore allowed seven earned runs in the last two innings as the Utes stormed back to take the series win.

About the Author

Mark West
Mark West grew up playing and loving baseball. In college, he found an interest in writing and reporting on sports. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television Broadcasting with a News emphasis and a minor in Political Science. Mark can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MarkWestCBC Mark began writing a few years ago informally about politics and sports on various blogs, but has focused primarily on baseball writing for the last two years. He loves Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball and writes about the games and the players for the Red Wolves and the Sun Belt Conference. Mark is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting. Follow on Twitter @MarkWestCBC