March 29, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. - Michael Hill finished off a 4-for-5 day with four runs scored by hitting an inside-the-park home run in the eighth inning, the highlight of an offensive showcase for the top of the order as Long Beach State roared back to even the series with Cal State Northridge in a 14-2 victory.
The top five bats in the Long Beach State order, Jeff McNeil, Hill, Juan Avila, Ino Patron, and Richard Prigatano combined to go 13-for-21, scoring 12 runs and driving in 11 in the blowout win for the Dirtbags (10-16, 1-1 Big West).
The action started early for LBSU, as they scored a pair after shutting down Cal State Northridge (12-13, 1-1 Big West) in the top of the first inning. Hill got the rally started with a one-out single, and after Avila reached base, Ino Patron singled to score Hill, and Avila advanced when Patron got caught in a run-down following a delayed steal.
With the top of the order coming around for a second time in the third inning, Long Beach State put up another crooked number in a huge two-out rally. Hill and Avila extended the inning with two straight singles, and Patron doubled into the gap, scoring both runs. Patron then scored on Prigatano's second hit, as the Dirtbags opened up a 5-0 lead.
Up 6-0 after scoring another run in the bottom of the fourth, the top of the order struck again with two outs. McNeil stretched a single into a double to keep the action going, and after an RBI single by Hill, Matadors reliever Michael Coates loaded the bases by walking Avila and hitting Patron, setting up Prigatano who picked up his third hit of the day with a two-run single.
Already leading 9-2, the Dirtbags piled on more in the top of the eighth inning. Colton Vaughn and McNeil started off the inning with back-to-back singles, and Hill struck a liner to right field. CSUN's Chester Pak tried to make a diving catch, but the ball rolled past him and drifted all the way to the wall, allowing Michael Hill to follow McNeil all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park home run, his second homer of the season. The Dirtbags added two more on a Richard Prigatano single in the inning, accounting for the final tally.
All of the offense was more than enough in support of junior left-hander Jake Stassi, who improved to 2-1 on the year with another strong start. Stassi went 6.2 innings, scattering six hits and allowing just one run in the seventh inning to hold the Matadors back.
The Dirtbags and Matadors return to Blair Field Saturday at 2 p.m. in the rubber game of the series. Freshman David Hill takes the mound for the Dirtbags, facing southpaw John Salas.
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