COLLEGE BASEBALL : Cal State Long Beach Earns Automatic Playoff Berth


Cal State Long Beach won its second consecutive Big West Conference championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament by sweeping a three-game series against Nevada over the weekend.

Long Beach clinched the title with a 4-3, 12-inning victory Sunday at Blair Field. The 49ers are 34-17 overall and finished conference play 17-4.

Long Beach had entered the series tied for first place with Cal State Fullerton, which played host to San Jose State.


Fullerton won, 12-1, Friday to give Coach Augie Garrido his 1,000th victory. The Titans also won, 7-1, Saturday. But Fullerton lost Sunday, 5-3, leaving the door open for Long Beach to win the championship outright.

Fullerton (32-15, 16-5 in the Big West) will probably receive an at-large berth in the tournament, which begins May 27 and 28 at eight regional sites.

The NCAA will announce the sites May 17. The 48-team field will be announced May 24.

Defending national champion Pepperdine clinched its third consecutive West Coast Conference championship--and an automatic tournament berth--with a three-game sweep against second-place San Diego at Malibu.

The Waves improved their record at home to 25-3. Pepperdine (38-13, 22-5) concludes its conference schedule this weekend against Loyola Marymount (22-29, 13-13), which lost a WCC doubleheader against St. Mary’s Sunday.

USC tuned up for its final Pacific 10 Conference Southern Division series against UCLA by winning two of three nonconference games against Chapman (22-32).

USC is on the bubble for a playoff berth. The Trojans are 27-24 overall and in fourth place in the conference at 14-13.


UCLA won two games against Southern Utah to improve to 27-18 overall. The Bruins are in third place at 13-11 with series left against USC and Stanford.

Cal State Northridge (31-16) split two nonconference games with UC Santa Barbara (22-27-1) in a tuneup for this weekend’s Western Athletic Conference West division series against Fresno State.

Fresno State clinched the division championship by winning two of three against San Diego State.