Monday, February 25, 2008

West Side Story

A few observations from up and down the West Coast during the first weekend of the 2008 season:

-- Top-ranked UCLA got solid outings from a pair of local products - Rancho Buena Vista graduates Tim Murphy and Gavin Brooks - in Saturday's doubleheader against Oklahoma. Brooks allowed one hit and one run in five innings of a 7-5 win. Murphy allowed five hits and two runs over six innings in a 3-2, 12-ininng loss. Neither left-hander figured in the decisions.

-- Cal State Fullerton wasn't included in Baseball America's preseason Top 25 rankings for the first time in a decade, but that didn't stop the Titans from taking two of three against a TCU team picked to win the Mountain West Conference. Fullerton's Erik Komatsu missed the cycle by a single in the season opener, driving in five runs in an 11-5 victory. TCU starter Seth Garrison was done after two innings after allowing four earned runs on five hits, walking one batter and hitting three others. TCU starter Steven Maxwell allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings in the Horned Frogs' lone win (4-2 on Saturday).

-- Two-time defending national champion Oregon State dropped two of three games (losing 8-1 to Vanderbilt and 11-0 to Arizona State while beating Miami, Ohio 8-3) at the DeMarini Invitational in Tempe, Ariz.

-- ASU swept its three games in the DeMarini, getting shutouts against Miami, Ohio and Oregon State. Sophomore Mike Leake, the pitching standout from Fallbrook High, got the win in an 18-6 victory over Vanderbilt, allowing seven hits and one earned run in six inning with four strikeouts and no walks.

-- USC, which visits SDSU on Tuesday night, completed a three-game sweep at Florida International with Sunday's 12-7 win. The Trojans scored 37 runs in the series, with first baseman Mike Roskopf (eight RBI) and outfielder Mike Buss (seven RBI) leading the way. USC homered eight times in the series.

-- Long Beach State came up short in its bid to sweep Rice, falling 3-1 in Sunday's finale. The Dirtbags won the opener 1-0 in 10 innings and took Saturday's game 3-2. The Long Beach State pitched staff compiled a 0.96 ERA in the series. The Dirtbags play host to USD on Tuesday.

-- La Costa Canyon High graduate Mike Kenney earned Loyola Marymount's first win of the season, going 5 2/3 innings in a 7-3 win at Sacramento State. The junior right-hander allowed nine hits and three runs with six strikeouts.

-- Wake Forest apparently ran out of pitching after splitting the first two games of its series at Pepperdine, getting pounded by the Waves 22-3 in Sunday's finale. Pepperdine had nine straight hitters reached base during a 10-run fourth inning in which the Waves assumed a 17-0 lead. It was scheduled to be a doubleheader (it probably still felt like it) but late-night rain on Saturday reduced it to one game because the field needed extra attention Sunday morning to make it playable.

-- UC Irvine's Scott Gorgen pitched six hitless innings as the Anteaters opened the season with a 6-0 win at Nevada. UCI followed that up with an 8-7 win Saturday. Sunday's game was cancelled because of snow. And here we thought the late start date was for all those schools in the Northeast.

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