West Impressions: Cal, USC Suffer Midweek Upsets

Nico Giarratano's two-run double was the difference. Photo courtesy USF Athletics

Nico Giarratano’s two-run double was the difference. Photo courtesy USF Athletics

San Fransisco Strikes Again

SAN FRANSISCO, Calif. – The San Fransisco Dons (8-13) continue to stack up midweek, top-ranked victims, this time its the No. 21 California Bears (15-5) with a 3-1 win at Benedetti Diamond on Tuesday. The Dons pulled off an improbable mid-week, two-game sweep of the No. 24 Oregon Ducks last week by scores of 4-1 and 8-2.

This week’s upset was provided by another brilliant performance from Dons’ freshman starter Sam Granoff (LHP) who allowed only an earned run while spreading out eight hits and a walk over seven innings of work. Granoff struckout six but didn’t figure in the decision as the Dons didn’t take the lead until Nico Giarratano (So., INF) slapped a two-run double in the eighth inning off Bears’ reliever Collin Monsour (Jr., RHP) in his third inning of work to take give the Dons a 3-1 lead.

Granoff tied his six strikeout performance from last week against Oregon in which he allowed a pair of earned runs over six and a third innings pitched.

The Dons opened 2015 on a 10-game losing streak, losing four at No. 17 Texas Tech, three at Tulane, single game losses at San Jose State. Then came the Lobo Invite in which they lost to Utah Valley and New Mexico before breaking through with a 7-6 win over Utah Valley. However, San Fransisco has caught fire, winning 8-of-11, including the three recent wins against Top 25 teams.

Fresno State Outslugs Trojans

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Junior catcher Taylor Ward hit a three-run homer (6) on a 3-for-4 night with a career-high five RBI as he led an offensive battering that led to 14 runs on 17 hits as the Fresno State Bulldogs upset the No. 10 USC Trojans 14-7 at Dedeaux Field on Tuesday. The win lifted the Bulldogs to 11-11 on the year and was only the fourth loss suffered by the 17-4 Trojans in 2015.

Ward leads Fresno State in every major offensive category hitting .333/.718/.454 with 17 runs scored and 23 RBI so far this year as the spark plug of the Bulldogs’ attack.

Ward also scored four runs on the night as senior Manny Argomaniz (3B) added three hits and junior Kevin Viers (1B) drove in three runs in the onslaught. The Bulldogs were averaging only 4.5 runs per game coming into the midweek contest and improved their runs per game figure by a full half point with the effort.

Fresno State threw nine, yes nine, pitchers at the Trojans with the longest work turned in by William Munro who tossed a pair of scoreless innings for his second save of the season.

The Trojans’ staff had no answers for the Fresno State bats as starter Mason Perryman (0-1) lasted only two-and-a-third innings, taking the loss, allowing five earned runs on five hits and two walks.

USC was paced offensively by junior AJ Ramirez (1B) who smacked his team-leading fourth long ball on the year, a two-run shot, as he went 4-for-5. The first basemen also drove in three runs while junior Bobby Stahel (RF) chipped in a three hit effort in the loss.

No. 23 Nevada 6, Sacramento State 2

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The No. 23 Nevada Wolf Pack (16-4) put together a four-run, sixth-inning rally that was capped by Jordan Devencenzi’s (Sr., C) two-out, two-run single to give the Pack a 4-0 lead on route to a 6-2 win over the Sacramento State Hornets (10-9) on Tuesday night at Raley Field. Relentless Nevada closer Adam Whitt (Jr., RHP) tossed a pair of scoreless innings to snag his ninth save of the year.

San Diego State 2, Loyola Marymount 1

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Four San Diego State Aztecs (16-5) hurlers combined to allow a single run as they held on for a 2-1 win over the Loyola Marymount Lions (11-9) at Page Stadium on Tuesday night. Sophomore southpaw Marcus Reyes (2-0) started the game and allowed an unearned run over 5.2 innings of work while the pen allowed one hit over the final 3.1 innings of the game to hold the 2-1 lead. Brain Heldman (Jr., RHP) recorded the final out of the sixth and then Jacob Erickson (Fr., LHP) allowed a hit over two innings while striking out four. Aztecs closer CJ Saylor (So., RHP) tossed a perfect ninth to snag his eighth save.

Anthony Villa hit a three-run homer. Photo courtesy Saint Mary’s College Athletics

Saint Mary’s 8, San Jose State 6

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Junior Anthony Villa hit a three-run blast (3) in the third to propel the Saint Mary’s Gaels (13-7) to an 8-6 win over the San Jose State Spartans (7-13). Saint Mary’s took an 8-4 lead into the ninth only to see the Spartans storm back to cut the lead to two after a pair of one-out, RBI singles off Gaels’ closer Anthony Gonsolin (Jr., RHP), but the junior would shut the rally down to earn his sixth save on the year.

San Diego 5, Washington State 4

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The San Diego Torreros (11-7) won for the ninth time in their last 10 games as senior Austin Bailey (OF) reached base for the third time in the game on a walk and then scored on a squeeze play to give San Diego the 5-4 win over the Washington State Cougars (12-8). Junior right-hander Drew Jacobs made the one-run lead stick, striking out four Cougars while surrendering a hit and a walk over three scoreless to set up closer Anthony McIver’s (Jr., LHP) perfect ninth for his fifth save of the season.

Cal State Northridge 4, Pepperdine 3

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Senior right fielder Chester Pak hit his team-leading third homer of the season, a fifth-inning solo shot, that turned into the game winner as the Cal State Northridge Matadors held off the Pepperdine Waves 4-3 at Matador Field on Tuesday night. Sophomore reliever Connor O’Neil (RHP) earned his fifth save on the year with 2.1 scoreless innings to hold the lead handed to him by junior righty Rayne Raven (4-1) who allowed three earned runs on seven hits over 6.2 innings pitched.

UNLV 7, Grand Canyon 1

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – UNLV Rebels (9-10) hurler Blaze Bohall allowed an earned run over 7.1 innings pitched to improve to 2-0 as the Rebels defeated the Grand Canyon Antelopes (11-10) 7-1. UNLV scored a run in each of the first three innings on a pair of sacrifices and a fielder’s choice to build a 3-1 lead but extended the lead to 7-1 on four RBI hits in the seventh to put away the Antelopes. Morgan Stotts (Sr., 1B), Edgar Montes (Sr., RF) and Nick Rodriguez (Fr., SS) each drove in a pair of runs for the Rebels.

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