Feb. 21, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Brennan Metzger had three hits on Tuesday to lead the Dirtbags along with a pair of stolen bases, but didn't get enough help from the offense in a 4-2 loss to USC in Long Beach State's first weekday contest.
Metzger has now hit safely in Long Beach State's last six games, and is hitting .545 to start the 2012 season after tying a team high with three hits on Tuesday. The Dirtbags (2-2) only scratched out two other hits against the red-hot Trojans, who have now started the season 4-0.
USC scored first with an unearned run in the second inning. A single by Kevin Swick got the action started, and after an attempt on a double play went into the dugout, Alex Sherrod scored on a double by designated hitter Jake Hernandez.
Long Beach State answered back, taking the lead in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Brennan Metzger picked up an infield single, and after a steal and a single by Juan Avila, scored on a balk. Royce Murai then singled to score Avila, giving the Dirtbags a 2-1 lead.
The Trojans tied the game in the third inning, and then regained the lead with another run in the fourth. Sherrod led off the inning with hit, and after a hit and run, scored on a grounder to put USC back on top 3-2. The Trojans would add an insurance run in the seventh inning on a ground-rule double from Matt Foat, which was followed by two wild pitches, allowing the senior to score.
Long Beach State had one final scoring chance in the bottom of the seventh, when Murai reached second after a two-base error with two outs, but a hard liner by Jeff McNeil was snared by a leaping James Roberts to end the opportunity.
The Dirtbags had four pitchers see the mound on Tuesday, with two freshman getting the majority of the innings. Nick Sabo got the start and allowed two earned runs in four innings, while Edgar Gomez gave up just a single hit in 2.0 innings. Lefty Jake Stassi pitched two innings, and junior Eddie Magallon returned to the mound by throwing a scoreless ninth, helped by a double play from McNeil and Matt Duffy. Brandon Garcia got the win for USC with 5.2 innings of work, while Wyatt Strahan pitched two innings of hitless relief to earn the save.
Long Beach State closes its seven-game season opening homestand with three games this weekend, as the No. 20 Cal Bears come to Blair Field for a weekend series. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:30 p.m., with senior Shawn Stuart facing right-hander Justin Jones from California.
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