April 15, 2011
Long Beach, Calif. - Andrew Gagnon, Eddie Magallon and Branden Pinder combined for 12 shutout innings, giving the Dirtbags a chance to get the win Friday night in a thrilling 1-0 victory. Sophomore Matt Duffy brought home Ino Patron in the bottom half of the 12th for the walkoff victory.
Both Gagnon and Matt Andriese were very sharp throughout as both starting pitchers pitched brilliantly on Friday evening. In the matchup between the aces, neither pitcher got the win despite excellent pitching from each.
Gagnon gave up a double to the Highlanders first batter, Trevor Hairgrove, but that would be the only hit he allowed in eight innings of shutout baseball for the junior. He struck out a season-high 10 batters, including five straight at one point, and walked four but only allowed the one hit to keep the Dirtbags in the game.
Andriese was just as good if not better for UC Riverside, throwing ten innings of shutout baseball for the Highlanders. Andriese allowed three hits, and walked three with six strikeouts as both teams would end up having to turn to the bullpens.
Long Beach State's best chance came in the seventh inning, as Patron had the first of his two hits with one out to begin the rally as well as breaking up six innings of no-hit pitching from Andriese. After a flyball out, Duffy singled to put runners on first and third, and Avila walked to load the bases. A chopper by Johnny Bekakis went off the top of Andriese's glove, but Hairgrove snatched the ball and beat Avila to second in a contested play to keep the game scoreless.
The Dirtbags defense also came up big at times to help the shutout bid. With a runner in scoring position in the sixth inning, Mike Marjama speared a hard line drive from Tony Nix at the hot corner to keep the game scoreless. Then in the eighth inning, after an error put runners on at first and second with one out, Royce Murai threw out the lead runner at third base on an attempted double steal to shut down a UCR rally.
With Gagnon out of the game, Magallon pitched two scoreless innings, and turned the ball over to Pinder who was dominant in relief, inducing a groundout and then striking out five straight batters to account for the six he faced Friday.
The 12th stacked up just like the seventh inning for the Dirtbags. Patron led off the inning with a hit, and after being sacrificed over to second, was able to avoid the tag from replacement catcher Bart Stepanovich to win the game on Matt Duffy's RBI single.
The win was the first 1-0 victory for Long Beach State since the 2008 season, which also came in extra innings, a 10th-inning walkoff against No. 6 Rice.
The teams return for game two of the series on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
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