Feb. 25, 2011
Long Beach, Calif. - Junior Andrew Gagnon delivered another masterful performance in his second start of the season, striking out seven and walking none over 7.2 scoreless innings, leading the Dirtbags to a 2-1 defeat of No. 17 Arizona.
Gagnon had an outstanding outing, dodging trouble while allowing just four hits over his 7.2 innings to out-duel Arizona's Kurt Heyer, who also went seven, while striking out four.
The game sped through the early innings behind the work of the two pitchers, but Long Beach State was the first team on the board in the fourth inning behind classic small ball. Leadoff hitter Brennan Metzger reached on a single, and after being sacrificed to second by Jeff McNeil, he came around to score on an RBI single by sophomore Matt Duffy.
Long Beach State scored its key run on a mistake by Arizona in the seventh inning. Ino Patron started the inning by reaching as a hit batter, and was promptly sacrificed over to second base. The Wildcats picked up the second out of the inning with a strikeout, but a base hit by Jeff Yamaguchi extended the inning and put runners on the corners.
The runner on third was the key for the Dirtbags, as Heyer failed to step off the rubber on a pickoff fake to first base, resulting in a balk and advancing both runners to make the score 2-0 after the seventh.
Shawn Stuart held on in the ninth to record his second save of the season. Josh Garcia reached on an error to start the inning, and a double by Johnny Field along with a wild pitch moved the tying run to third with no outs. Stuart responded with a key strikeout, and after a solid play a tough grounder to third base by Duffy, a fly ball from Bryce Ortega landed harmlessly in the glove of LBSU center fielder Metzger as the Dirtbags recorded the win.
Long Beach State and the Wildcats are set to return to Blair Field on Saturday, Feb. 26. The game time has been moved to 6 p.m. to allow for the greatest opportunity to avoid rains in the Southern California area.
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