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A scene from last season’s UCLA-USC game at Dodger Stadium, the Trojans winning 4-3 in extra innings. Photo courtesy of dailybruin.com




Here are the college baseball programs in the greater Los Angeles area that are off to good starts so far this year…


Current Record: 10-2

National Rank: 11th

Coach: John Savage

Last Game: Beat LMU, 12-1, on March 6th

Next Game: vs Vanderbilt at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday, march 9th

Top Hitters:

Michael Toglia, 1B – .400 average, 4 HR, 12 RBI

Chase Stumpf, 2B – .295 average, 2 HR, 16 RBI

Jake Hirabayashi, 3B – .325 average, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Top Pitchers:

Zach Pettway: 3-0, 0.95 ERA, 15 strikeouts

Ryan Garcia: 2-0, 1.45 ERA, 22 strikeouts

Jon Olsen: 2-0, 2.08 ERA, 20 strikeouts



Current Record: 8-3

Coach: Dan Hubbs

Last Game: Lost to Arkansas, 7-6, on March 4th

Next Game: vs TCU at Dedeaux Field on Friday, March 9th

Top Hitters:

Chase Bushor, SS – .433 average, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Dillon Paulson, 1B – .303 average, 1 HR, 9 RBI

Matthew Acosta, CF – .273 average, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Top Pitchers:

Kyle Hurt: 1-0, 3.95 ERA, 17 strikeouts

Quentin Longmire: 2-0, 4.96 ERA, 14 strikeouts

Connor Lunn: 3.00 ERA, 5 saves


A good shot of UC Irvine’s Anteaters celebrating some good fortune. Photo courtesy of articles.dailypilot.com



Current Record: 7-4

Coach: Mike Gillespie

Last Game: Beat TCU, 15-2, on March 4th

Next Game: at Portland on Friday, March 9th

Top Hitters:

Ryan Fitzpatrick, 1B – .378 average, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Nick Anderson, DH – .333 average, 0 HR, 8 RBI

Cole Kreuter, 2B – .243 average, 2 HR, 8 RBI

Top Pitchers:

Andre Pallante: 2-0, 0.47 ERA, 27 strikeouts

Louis Raymond: 1-1, 2.84 ERA, 12 strikeouts

Taylor Rishi: 1-0, 0.90 ERA, 12 strikeouts,



Sophomore Albee Weiss releases some emotions after he finished with his team photograph during Media Day in Matadors Field. (Raul Martinez / The Sundial) Photo courtesy of dailysundial.com



Current Record: 8-5

Coach: Greg Moore

Last Game: Lost to UNLV, 7-5, on March 4th

Next Game: at Pepperdine on Friday, March 9th

Top Hitters:

Trevor Casanova, C – .434 average, 3 HR, 13 RBI

Brandon Bohning, 2B – .380 average, 2 HR, 10 RBI

Nolan Bumstead, 3B – .378 average, 3 HR, 14 RBI

Top Pitchers:

Wesley Moore: 1-1, 3.21 ERA, 16 strikeouts

Matt Acosta: 2-2, 3.86 ERA, 10 strikeouts

Isaiah Nunez: 2.45 ERA, 12 strikeouts, 2 saves


A Few Thoughts:

After about three and a half weeks, UCLA has clearly gotten off to the best start as their pitching is clearly the best of all the SoCal teams – so far.

Plus the Bruins’ hitting has improved from last season, but those numbers are nothing compared to the hitting that CSUN’s Matadors have done.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that some of the big name programs in the Southland have gotten off to pretty bad starts.

Pepperdine, which has had a long history of baseball success, is a mere 5-8.

However, what has jumped out at me in these early days of the college baseball season is the fact that two of the standout programs in these parts, the two teams that fought like rabid dogs in 2017 not only in the Big West Conference, but in the NCAA Super Regionals – the three-game series that determines who gets a berth to the College World Series in Omaha, NE,

And are longtime bitter rivals ala UCLA-USC on top of all of that,

Are a combined 8-16 to begin 2018, defending Big West champ Long Beach State’s Dirtbags being 5-8.

While the team that beat the Dirtbags in the Super Regionals before standing room only crowds at Long Beach’s Blair Field last June, Cal State Fullerton’s Titans – who were rewarded with a ticket to the College World Series for their efforts,

Have won only three of their first eleven games in this early going.

At first glance, one would think “What’s wrong with the Titans and Dirtbags?!”

But being the longtime baseball guy/fan that I am, I know that you usually can’t judge a team based on its first few games; you need to see where they are roughly halfway into the campaign, when they are well into their conference slate.

The reason? Baseball’s a marathon, not a sprint, and there’s a good chance that I may mention some completely different teams in these pages when the postseason comes along in late May.

In other words, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, and Pepperdine along with other SoCal teams may well have stellar records this time next month.

As such, the big event coming up is the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic this coming weekend, which the Dodgers have organized since 2010 and has featured big time programs like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi State, and (in this year’s case) Vanderbilt and TCU.

Not to mention the marquee match-up between UCLA and USC at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon that ends the affair, what with the crowds decked out in true blue and cardinal to go with their gold, plus the bands and the cheerleaders.

I should know, because I’ve been to almost all of those games at Chavez Ravine and have made that Crosstown Rivalry contest the only one in which I cover and recap on this site.

Which I will do again this year, as the annual recap of this season’s Bruin-Trojan clash at Dodger Stadium – this Sunday at 3:00 p.m. – will appear on this site next Monday.

For more info on this clash, go to either UCLA’s or USC’s sites:





More Crosstown Rivalry action between the Bruins and the Trojans on the diamond. Photo courtesy of johnmigillen.photoshelter.com