Feb. 24, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Scoring on wild pitches, balls in the dirt, errors and on sacrifice flies on Friday, Long Beach State clawed its way to a Dirtbag-style victory over No. 20 California, defeating the Bears 7-4 in the first game of a three-game set.
Long Beach State (3-2) struck first in the bottom of the first inning. With runners on first and third, a ball in the dirt from Cal starter Justin Jones put Ino Patron in motion to second, and the sophomore kept a rundown alive long enough for Johnny Bekakis to score in what became a theme for the night.
Cal (3-1) evened the score in the third inning on an RBI single by Tony Renda, but the Dirtbags answered back in the bottom half with their big inning. Jeff Yamaguchi led off the inning with a walk, but seemed in danger of being stranded after a sacrifice and a flyout. Jeff McNeil was hit by a pitch, and then back-to-back wild pitches brought home the first run of the inning. Senior Brennan Metzger then walked, and after taking second on a third wild pitch from Jones, a single by Patron scored two more runs to give the Dirtbags a 4-1 lead.
Ahead 5-2 in the sixth inning, a two-run home run by Danny Oh ended LBSU starter Shawn Stuart's day, but the senior would take the win after allowing just three hits in 5.2. Kyle Friedrichs ended the inning, and would finish the day throwing 2.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts in middle relief. Jake Stassi ended up coming in to get the save in the ninth, playing the matchups and getting two outs on two pitches to end the day.
Long Beach State had collected a 7-4 lead at that point following two additional runs. McNeil had singled with two outs in the sixth, and after stealing second, scored on an error by Cal second baseman Tony Renda. Freshman Richard Prigatano scored the final run for Long Beach, coming around to score in the seventh after picking up his first hit of the season.
The Dirtbags continue the series with Cal at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday before closing the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday. RHP Matt Anderson will take the hill for Long Beach State in game two.
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