March 23, 2012
Wichita, Kan. - Long Beach State took a 7-2 lead over Wichita State behind a solid offensive effort with 13 hits, but Wichita State scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth to spoil an excellent combined effort from Matt Anderson and Kyle Friedrichs in an 8-7 loss.
Long Beach State jumped out to an early lead with a big second inning. Brennan Metzger led off the inning run a bunt single, and Richard Prigatano followed with a single of his own to put two runners on. Jonathan Kim was then hit, loading the bases with no outs. Jeff Yamaguchi then walked to bring home a run, and a single from Jeff McNeil scored one more while keeping the bases loaded. Matt Duffy then collected his second hit of the day, driving in two with a single as the Dirtbags took a 4-0 lead.
Wichita State scored a run in the bottom of the second, but that would be the last damage for a while against Matt Anderson who topped six innings for a fifth straight start. Anderson allowed seven hits over 6.1, striking out seven while allowing two runs. The second came in the seventh inning in answer of a Dirtbags run in the top half. Anderson allowed two hits to start the seventh, and after a strikeout, gave up a third hit as the Shockers cut the Dirtbags lead to 5-2. Friedrichs entered with two runners on, and picked up two outs to get Long Beach State out of the inning, and also pitched a scoreless ninth.
Long Beach State scored two last runs in the top of the ninth. Juan Avila was hit for the second time with one out to put a runner on. Avila then stole second base, and the throw on his steal of third sailed over Aaron Rea's head, allowing Avila to score. Metzger then doubled, and a single from Prigatano gave the Dirtbags a 7-2 lead.
Leading after the pair of runs in the ninth, the Dirtbags turned to Josh Frye for the ninth inning with a five-run cushion. Dayne Parker started the inning with a double and reached third on an error, getting a ball just past the reach of a diving Bekakis. The hit unnerved Frye, who then walked the next batter, but recovered for a ground ball that McNeil flipped into the dugout for the second error of the inning. Taylor Doggett then singled, scoring two runs and cutting Long Beach State's lead to 7-5 with no outs. The Dirtbags recovered with a tapper back to Frye for one out on the lead runner, but LBSU couldn't convert on the double play, a returning theme of the inning.
Lambert singled up the middle to put the tying run on, but the Dirtbags had their first chance to end the game on a grounder to Duffy. The shortstop's throw pulled McNeil wide of the bag, and when McNeil tried to apply the tag, the slide knocked the ball out and the bases were loaded for Wichita State. Frye's second walk of the inning cut the lead to one, but one last chance at a double play materialized for the Dirtbags.
Another grounder to Duffy came in the next at-bat, and a clean transfer to McNeil created the second out of the inning. McNeil then threw to first, but the runner Rea was called safe in the first of two very questionable calls at first base by Ken McQueen affecting the game. Tied 7-7 after the first call, Avila then fielded a roller and threw to first, but the Shocker runner was again called safe, saying the LBSU first baseman Yamaguchi had been pulled off of the bag, allowing the winning run to score.
Long Beach State returns to Eck Stadium Saturday for game two of the series beginning at Noon PT. Ryan Strufing will make the start for the Dirtbags, as Shawn Stuart has been pushed from his Friday start due to lingering leg tenderness.
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