March 6, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State's bad luck in the late innings continued on Tuesday, as the Dirtbags surrendered a pair of ninth-inning runs before losing 3-1 to San Diego State. Senior Matt Johnson struck out six over five innings in his second start of the season, allowing just one run.
The Dirtbags struck first in a perfectly executed first inning. Brennan Metzger led off the inning with a perfect drag bunt, stopping in fair territory for a base hit, and then stole second for his fourth stolen base of the season. Jeff McNeil pushed the senior to third, and then after a walk, Ino Patron hit a sacrifice fly into center field to score the run.
Johnson went through the lineup in order through the first three innings, giving up his first hit in the fourth. Dillon Bryant picked up the Aztecs first hit, and then scored on a double by Jake Romanski which tied the game at 1-1.
Long Beach State moved to the bullpen after five innings, and they were helped by catcher Royce Murai, who threw out three potential base-stealers, including a strike them out, throw them out double play to end the sixth inning.
However, the Dirtbags were unable to plate any runs after the first inning, stranding 10 runners on the day. Richard Prigatano was 2-for-3 with a walk, while Brennan Fulkerson added another hit, but that was it against Ryan Doran, who went 7.0 innings for the Aztecs. He turned the ball to Justin Hepner, who got the win with two hitless innings.
The Aztecs moved ahead for good in the top of the ninth. The Dirtbags collected two outs with one runner on, but a single and a walk loaded the bases for the Aztecs, and a chopper from Tim Zier found its way through the middle to score a pair of runs in the top of the ninth.
Long Beach State plays three more games at Blair Field this weekend, hosting No. 9 Arizona State beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Dirtbags then play the Sun Devils at 2 p.m. on Saturday, before closing the series with a 1 p.m. finish.
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