Fullerton wins ugly one against Pepperdine in NCAA regional opener

Fullerton takes advantage four walks and two hit batters in a six-run third inning in 9-3 win over Pepperdine

It was a wild Friday night at the NCAA baseball regional hosted by Cal State Fullerton.

Wild, as in pitches flying everywhere but over home plate.

Tournament host Fullerton used a six-run, gift-wrapped third inning for a 9-3 victory over Pepperdine at Goodwin Field.

The Titans' win set up a Saturday night matchup at 8 against Pac-12 entrant Arizona State, which defeated Clemson in the early game.

 

Fullerton (35-22), which has won four national championships, the last in 2004, is hosting an NCAA regional for the 12th time. Pepperdine (30-28) will face Clemson at 4 p.m.

Fullerton scored one run in the first inning and Pepperdine answered with two in the top of the third.

It was then that the game took an erratic turn.

Pepperdine starting pitcher Jackson McClelland, as much he'd like to, will never forget Friday night's bottom of the third inning.

He walked four batters and hit two others in a nightmarish display of wildness that seemed to be contagious.

McClelland was pulled after giving up four runs and two of his runners still on base. The only out he recorded was a sacrifice fly.

He issued three straight walks before hitting the fourth hitter, Jarrod Bravo, to force in a run. Another run scored on a catcher's errant pick-off throw to second.

McClelland left after hitting his second batter of the inning and was replaced by Evan Dunn, who promptly walked two batters and hit another.

Pepperdine also committed an error at second that scored a run.

It wasn't pretty. Fullerton scored six runs on one hit. Pepperdine contributed five walks, three hit batters and two errors.

The inning mercifully ended with first baseman Brad Anderson bobbling a grounder and then diving with an outstretched ball to beat the runner to the bag.

Fullerton didn't exactly play a clean game. John Gavin started for the Titans but couldn't make it out of the fourth inning. He gave up three runs and five hits, with six strikeouts and three walks.

The Titans scored in the bottom of the first when Tyler Stieb worked a walk and scored on singles by David Olmedo-Barrera and Bravo.

Pepperdine took the lead with two runs in the third after recording two quick outs. Gavin then walked Hutton Moyer and the Waves followed with consecutive singles by Brad Anderson, Aaron Barnett and Brandon Caruso.

Arizona State 7, Clemson 4: The Sun Devils trailed by a run before scoring three runs in the seventh inning and three in the eighth.

Joey Bielek's two-run home run in the seventh gave Arizona State a 3-2 lead, and that was followed by a solo home run to left by Brian Serven.

Arizona State (35-21) took what seemed to be a comfortable 7-2 lead to the ninth, but Clemson (32-28) scored two runs against Darin Gillies and had the tying run on base.

With two outs, the Sun Devils had to call on closer Ryan Burr, who struck out Tyler Krieger on a 3-2 pitch to record his 14th save.

Arizona State starter Ryan Kellogg pitched seven innings to earn the win. He gave up two earned runs and six hits, striking out six and walking four. Clemson starter Matthew Crownover took the loss, giving up four earned runs in seven innings.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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