West Impressions: Joe Pistoree Impresses, Eshelman Human

Joe Pistoree tossed a complete game effort for Washington State. Photo Courtesy Washington State Athletics

Joe Pistoree tossed a complete game effort for Washington State. Photo Courtesy Washington State Athletics

Washington State’s Joe Pistoree Stops No. 10 USC

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Cougars’ hurler Joe Pistoree continues to impress, this time against one of the nation’s hottest teams in the No. 10 USC Trojans. Pistoree was supposed to be on a definite pitch count, but once he got on a roll against Trojans’ hitters and Cougars’ head coach Donnie Marbut rolled with him.

The southpaw ran into to trouble in the fourth when a two-out, high fly ball off the bat of Adalberto Carrillo (Fr., DH) was mis-judged by freshman shortstop Jack Strunc resulting in a double and run scored to extend the USC lead to 2-0. However, the senior wasn’t rattled and instead struck out AJ Ramirez (Jr., RF) to end the inning.

Washington State then grabbed a 3-2 lead in the next half inning as an RBI single struck by senior Ian Sagdal (1B) scored a run, but was extended as Trojan’s first baseman Jeremy Martinez (So.) fired the ball into the Cougars dugout trying to stop the run from scoring. Sagdal was awarded third and another run score the tie the game. Senior catcher PJ Jones worked a full count against USC starter Kyle Twomey (Jr., LHP) into an RBI single that scored Sagdal to take a 3-2 lead.

With the lead in hand Pistoree turned bulldog on the mound and mowed his way through the Trojans’ lineup, needing only 12 pitches to get through the fifth and sixth innings. The southpaw then struckout two in the seventh, one in the eighth and the final batter on the night to close with eight strikeouts and by retiring 13 of the final 14 Trojans he faced for the complete game win to up his mark to 3-1 on the year with the 4-2 win.

Not bad for a thrower who opened the year being chased after allowing three earned in an inning and a third against Missouri State and allowing two earned over three innings against Kansas. Pistoree has done nothing but respond to those two outings with three straight quality starts against UC Riverside, Sacred Heart and the complete game Saturday night against No. 10 USC.

Indiana Proves No. 25 Cal State Fullerton’s Thomas Eshelman Human

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Titans’ ace Thomas Eshelman (Jr., RHP) has been absolutely dominant in his four starts coming into Saturday’s matchup with Indiana. The junior hurler put together a quality starts in each of his first four outings but had only a 2-2 record to show for it but a miniscule 1.22 ERA and 0.75 WHIP to prove his dominance.

Eshelman was coming off a complete game shutout of No. 20 Texas Tech in which he hit a season high with 14 strikeouts. Everything seemed to be clicking until the team’s first road trip east, a long one to Bloomington, Indiana.

The Hoosiers offense managed to push four earned runs across, doubling Eshelman’s total of four in his prior four starts, in a 10-hit effort which also doubled the most hits the righty had allowed in a game this season. In the 10 hits, Indiana managed only one extra-base hit, a two-out double by freshman left fielder Logan Sowers in the eighth that netted zero runs.

Indiana’ big strike was a thee-run rally in the third inning. Trailing 2-0, the Hoosiers opened the inning with three straight singles to load the bases before plating their first run on a groundout. Three-hole hitter Brad Hartong (Sr., C) hit a two-run single to take a 3-2 Indiana lead. Eshelman would induce a double-play ball in the next at bat to stop any further damage.

Leadoff man Casey Rodrigue (Sr., 2B) paced the Hoosiers with three hits and the game ending seemed fitting as the Titan’s committed three-errors in the 10th inning, two by shortstop Timmy Richards (So.) that included a boot on a chopper that allowed Craig Dedelow (So., CF) to score the winning run in a 5-4 loss.

Eshelman’s ERA jumped to 1.93 on the day and he didn’t figure into the decision in spite of throwing eight innings on the day.

Ryan Mason allowed an earned run over eight innings. Photo courtesy Cal Athletics

Ryan Mason allowed an earned run over eight innings. Photo courtesy Cal Athletics

Cal Bears Take Series From Falling Ducks

BERKELEY, Calif. – The No. 14 Oregon Ducks dropped their fourth straight game falling Saturday night to the California Bears 6-2 as the Bears continue to show their ability to be a contender in what is becoming a stacked Pac 12 Conference race in 2015.

Cal starter Ryan Mason (Jr., RHP) tossed a gem, allowing the prolific Ducks offense two runs (one earned) over eight innings of work on five hits and two walks while striking out four. Mason scattered the Ducks hits, allowing Oregon to break through for a run in the second before shutting them down before being pulled in the ninth for a reliever.

Four Bears had two-hit games to provide enough offense to down Oregon who didn’t help matters with three errors in the field. Four and five hole hitters Brett Cumberland (Fr., C) and Chris Paul (Sr., 1B) each had two hits and an RBI with Paul having a double and a walk. Leadoff man Aaron Knapp (So., CF) had two hits and scored twice while Preston Grand Pre (Fr., SS) added a couple of hits from the bottom of the lineup with a runs scored and an RBI.

Cal (15-3, 2-0) looks to sweep the Ducks (13-6, 0-2) and start conference play at 3-0 on Sunday.

Huskies Out-Clutch The Bruins

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Junior Jack Meggs (RF) came up with a clutch, two-out double to the gap in right that scored three in the four-run fourth inning rally that helped sink the No. 9 UCLA Bruins on Saturday. Sophomore Josh Cushing (DH) entered the fray with a career high, three hit game that included a pair of doubles, a run scored and an RBI.

The Huskies unmercifully pounded Bruins starter Grant Watson (Sr., LHP) for six runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks in just four innings of work to build a 6-0 lead. Washington hurler Tyler Davis (Sr., RHP) made the lead stick, holding the Bruins at bay over eight and a third innings of work.

Davis retired the first 10 Bruins that stepped into the box and had the help of four double-plays to erase threats in the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth innings as the right-hander masterfully stopped the UCLA attack. The senior finished with three strikeout and kept six hits and a pair of walks from scoring more than one run for the Bruins.

The complete game was just out of reach as Davis was pulled with one out in the ninth after surrendering an RBI single to Kevin Kramer (Jr., SS) and walking Luke Persico (So., 1B) to put two on. Huskies reliever Troy Rallings (Jr., RHP) would retire the next two hitters to seal up the 8-1 win for Washington.

Quick Hits

No. 20 Texas Tech 11, San Diego State 0

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The No. 20 Texas Tech Red Raiders smashed the San Diego Aztecs and you can read my coverage of it here.

No. 15 Arizona State 4, Oregon State 3

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils get a two-out, walk-off single from Brian Serven (So., C) to complete the come-from-behind win over the Oregon State Beavers 4-3 and even the series setting up a Sunday rubber match. The Sun Devil scored three runs in the final two frames to avoid losing the series at home after start Ryan Kellogg (Jr., LHP) ran into early trouble, allowing three earned runs in the first two innings.

Shane Bieber struck out 10 in a complete game win. Photo by Vince Agapito courtesy Gauchos Athletics

Shane Bieber struck out 10 in a complete game win. Photo by Vince Agapito courtesy Gauchos Athletics

No. 19 UC Santa Barbara 6, Wichita State 3

WICHITA, Kan. – Gauchos right-hander Shane Bieber (So.) was artistic in scattering seven Shockers’ hits over nine innings for a complete game 6-3 win on Saturday. The sophomore struck out 10 in a 138 pitch effort to even the road series with Wichita State and set up a Sunday rubber match.

No. 23 Nevada 3, New Mexico 1

RENO, Nev. – The No. 23 Nevada Wolf Pack even their series with the New Mexico Lobos with a 3-1 win on Saturday led by senior first baseman Austin Byler’s two RBI on the day. Another senior, right-hander Jason Deitrich allowed an earned run over six-and-one-third innings of work to improve to 3-1 on the year.

Sacramento State 2, Cal Poly 0

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Hornets deliver a second straight, road shutout of the defending West Coast Conference Champion Mustangs, this time a 2-0 win on the arm of sophomore Sam Long (LHP). The southpaw threw a complete game, allowing five hits while striking out five to improve to 4-0 on the year and take the series from Cal Poly.

San Diego 9, Portland 2

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The San Diego Toreros have now won 7-of-8 and clinched their weekend set with Portland with a 9-2 win on Saturday behind PJ Conlon’s (Jr., LHP) solid outing. The lefty tossed seven innings while striking out eight and allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits to ground the Pilots’ offense as the Toreros continue their surge upward after stumbling out of the gate.

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