Comeback complete as two runs in ninth bring Dirtbags back past Arizona 8-7
Long Beach State rallies from four-run deficit in first inning to grab win.
Feb. 26, 2010
Tucson, Ariz. - Down 4-0 after the first inning, Long Beach State climbed back into the game a couple runs at a time, culminating in a two-run ninth to cap the comeback in an 8-7 win. Jonathan Jones was 4-for-5 with a double, two runs, an RBI and a stolen base.
The Dirtbags offense finally got on track Friday, as The Beach finished the marathon contest with 16 hits and eight runs, seeing nine players get hits and four with multiple hits, including Jones' career high four. Steve Tinoco continued his hot start with three hits on Friday night.
Long Beach State started in a big hole, as Kurt Heyer looked like the same pitcher that struck out 13 in his first start, striking out the side in the first, and Arizona came out with a quick start in the bottom half. Bryce Ortega started off the inning with a leadoff single, and three more singles brought home two runs. The big hit then came with two outs as Joey Rickard tripled to right field, bringing home two more runs as the Dirtbags entered the second inning behind 4-0.
The Dirtbags started what would be a trend in the second, keeping the game within reach by scoring a couple of runs. TJ Mittelstaedt started the action by picking up a single, and Jones followed with his first hit of the day to put two runners on. One more single scored Long Beach State's first run of the day, and a Derek Legg sacrifice fly cut the Arizona lead in half.
Arizona added another run after Alex Mejia started the second inning with a leadoff double, followed by an RBI single from Ortega. Long Beach State answered in the top of the third by manufacturing a run on a double from Brennan Metzger and an infield hit by Devin Lohman.
The teams traded single runs one more time in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth, but Arizona opened up another three-run lead with an additional run in the bottom of the fifth. The Dirtbags mounted their rally at that point behind four innings of scoreless relief from four different relievers.
Down 7-4, Long Beach State picked up a run in the top of the seventh courtesy of a pair of balks from reliever Nick Cunningham after Lohman's second hit, and cut the lead to one with a run in the eighth after a leadoff walk from Tinoco.
With a one-run lead, Arizona had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the eighth, with two runners on and one out, but David Brown entered and picked up a second out on a grounder, and after an intentional walk loaded the bases, Brown got out of the inning with a strikeout to keep the lead at one run.
The comeback was then completed in the ninth, sparked by a one-out triple by Mittelstaedt, who tied Steve Moore for second in school history with 14 career triples, and few have been as aptly timed. Jones singled to tie the game, and a double by Tinoco scored Jones, giving the Dirtbags their first lead of the game.
Brown retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the win for Long Beach State.
The Dirtbags are back in action Saturday for game two against Arizona, taking on the Wildcats at Sancet Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. Andrew Gagnon will take the hill for Long Beach State, facing Kyle Simon.
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