March 23, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. - A promising start for Long Beach State was soured with a late Titans comeback, as No. 8 Cal State Fullerton rallied to defeat the Dirtbags 8-6 on Saturday. Ino Patron finished with a single, a double, a triple, and an intentional walk with four RBI to lead the Dirtbags.
Jake Stassi, in his third start of the year, was outstanding for the second weekend in a row, striking out four and allowing just one run while scattering seven hits over seven innings, and had support from a fellow junior in Patron and solid defensive play as Long Beach State (9-14) opened up a lead over the Titans, scoring more earned runs off of Cal State Fullerton (20-3) starter Justin Garza (5) than the freshman had allowed in five previous starts (4) in 2013.
Jeff McNeil led off the bottom of the first with a double for the Dirtbags, and came home to score on an RBI groundout to give Long Beach State an early 1-0 lead. Patron then tripled home two more runs in the bottom of the third inning following a walk to Zach Miller and a base hit by Colton Vaughn put the Dirtbags a 3-0 lead.
Stassi's biggest jam came in the top of the fourth inning, as Richy Pedroza beat out an infield single to start the inning, and a balk and a single put runners on the corners with nobody out. The Dirtbags turned a double play while the first run scored, but then got out of the inning with runners on the corners once more on a fielder's choice after a diving stop from Vaughn.
Long Beach State scored two more runs as Patron doubled to bring home Vaughn and Jeff Yamaguchi, making the score 5-1, and Jake Stassi pitched two more scoreless innings to get the Dirtbags to the seventh inning with a four-run lead.
After Stassi's exit, trouble escalated quickly for the Dirtbags. Ryan Millison retired the first batter he faced in the top of the eighth inning, but then put four runners in a row on base, two on singles and the final one, walking in a run. Jon Maciel then came in to try and close the door, but surrendered an RBI single to Anthony Hutting before striking out Clay Williamson. Maciel hit pinch hitter Jared Deacon to bring in another run, making the score 5-4, and Pedroza hit a comebacker up the middle, that ended just out of the reach of Maciel and Michael Hill, with Michael Lorenzen coming around to score the go-ahead run before the Dirtbags threw out Austin Kingsolver at the plate in a wild play around the infield.
The Titans added two insurance runs off of Maciel in the top of the ninth inning, and while McNeil scored in the bottom of the ninth inning on a Jeff Yamaguchi single, Patron was unable to collect his fourth hit of the day to keep the rally going, and Long Beach State fell 8-6.
Prior to the game, Long Beach State recognized the 1993 College World Series team on the 20th anniversary of their historic season. The series with the Titans concludes tomorrow, with first pitch coming at 1 p.m. at Blair Field.
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