West Coast Conference teams were the focus of Aaron Fitt’s Three Strikes after a big weekend, and San Diego kept its momentum going Tuesday night. The Toreros rallied late against No. 9 Cal State Fullerton and then won it on Troy Conyers’ two-run homer in the 10th in a 5-3 win.
“Our guys did a good job of not playing the jersey,” San Diego coach Rick Hill said. “We’re really sticking with the process.”
San Diego is now 11-4 and pinned a third straight loss on the Titans, the first time that’s happened in coach Rick Vanderhook’s three-year tenure. It’s the first time the Titans have lost three straight since dropping four in a row in March 2011.
Touted freshman Phil Bickford, who was picked 10th overall by Toronto in last June’s draft but did not sign, made his first start and went four innings, allowing three hits and a run while striking out three.
No. 23 UC Santa Barbara, which moved into our rankings this week, got a 2-1 win over Pepperdine at home on redshirt freshman Andrew Calica’s walk-off single in the ninth. Andrew Vasquez started and worked 5 1/3 strong innings for the Gauchos, who got 3 1/1 innings of one-hit relief from Greg Mahle, as their deep bullpen continues to shine. Pepperdine was coming off a strong 3-0 weekend and carried a 12-3 record into Tuesday, so this rates as another quality victory for UCSB (11-2).
In other top 25 action Tuesday, No. 1 South Carolina stayed undefeated and got its ninth shutout in 16 games with a 5-0 win over Furman. Freshman righthander Taylor Widener got his first win, working 3 1/3 innings of one-hit ball.
“It was good. I feel like I didn’t have control over everything but I was getting (the them to hit) ground balls and our players were making plays and our offense was scoring runs for me as well,” Widener said.
No. 2 Florida State erased a pair of three-run deficits and held on, as preseason All-American Jameis Winston escaped a ninth-inning jam to preserve an 11-10 win against Central Florida. The Seminoles went ahead for good in the eighth (on RBIs from Brett Knief and John Nogowski) in front of a record Jay Bergman Field crowd of 3,953.
“If you look at the overall ballgame you have to be pleased with the way we never folded the tent; we continued to scrap all night long,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “It’s a credit to the experience of our ballclub.”
UCF threatened in the bottom of the eighth, putting runners at the corners with one out against Dylan Silva. But Winston struck out the next two batters and then finished up for a five-out save.
No. 3 Virginia finally broke out the bats with 16 hits and pounded James Madison 13-2. Brandon Cogswell had three hits and Mike Papi homered twice.
No. 4 Oregon State (16-3) won its seventh in a row, finishing a 10-game homestand at 9-1 with a 4-3 victory over Ohio State.
In Louisville, Cardinals coach Dan McDonnell became the winningest coach in the program’s history in a doubleheader sweep of Western Illinois. McDonnell has 322 wins in eight seasons in Louisville. Lelo Prado won 320 games in 11 seasons (1996-2006).
In a midweek Top 25 matchup, No. 16 Indiana knocked off No. 20 Kentucky 7-2 in front of a standing-room only crowd of 2,746 at Bart Kaufman Field. It was the first time the two schools had faced off when both were members of the Top 25. The Hoosiers scored twice in the first and fourth en route to the win. Lefthander Kyle Hart struck out eight over eight innings for the win, shutting down the nation’s top scoring team.
In another interesting midweek game, No. 15 Rice blanked Texas Christian, which fell out of our rankings this week, 5-0. Senior Chase McDowell went six strong innings and knocked in a pair of runs.
In other action, No. 7 Vanderbilt used an eight-run, two-out rally to beat Eastern Illinois 11-2 as Walker Buehler went five for the win; No. 10 Texas topped Texas State, 6-3; No. 11 Cal Poly topped Northern Illinois, 4-2; No. 19 North Carolina beat George Mason, 13-3, and No. 25 UCLA blanked UC Irvine, 5-0.
Top 25 Upsets
No. 13 Miami fell to Bethune-Cookman as Javi Salas, who pitched a perfect game last week, got jumped early. The Wildcats sent 12 men to the plate in the first, scoring six runs and quickly ending Salas’ night.
Also, Texas San-Antonio upended No. 18 Sam Houston State 9-2 as John Bormann belted two home runs and matched a career-high with five RBIs.