Senior Matt Johnson set down all nine batters he faced Tuesday.
April 24, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - LOS ANGELES - Brennan Fulkerson's pinch-hit single to score Ino Patron in the seventh inning was the only scoring in a brisk, well-played affair between Long Beach State and USC on Tuesday as the Dirtbags defeated USC 1-0.
Patron led off the top of the seventh by poking an outside pitch into center field, and after a sacrifice moved the sophomore over to second base, Fulkerson ripped a grounder past a diving Andres Rodriguez at second base to bring home the only run of the day.
Pitching was the strength of both teams throughout the day, and nowhere was that more apparent than in the starters. Matt Johnson threw three perfect innings for Long Beach State, while Stephen Tarpley went four innings for USC, without giving up a hit. However, both players were lifted due to the pitch management that is required at times in midweek games.
USC's best two chances to score came in the middle innings. In the fourth inning, Matt Foat walked with two outs, and moved into scoring position following a hit batter. Foat tried to score from second on a single through the left side by Dylan Flores, and was cut down at the plate by Johnny Bekakis to keep the game scoreless. The Trojans then left designated hitter Jake Hernandez stranded at third base after Edgar Gomez picked up a key one-out strikeout.
Jake Stassi recorded the win after pitching the sixth inning, and Eddie Magallon and Jon Maciel retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth innings respectively. Kyle Friedrichs allowed one seeing-eye single, but that was his only damage as he finished off the game by striking out Brandon Garcia to record his seventh save of the season.
With the win, the Dirtbags record improves to 19-19, and Long Beach State reaches .500 for the first time since the team was 4-4 in February. Long Beach State is 9-3 in Big West play, and tied for first place with Cal State Fullerton.
Long Beach State stays on the road this weekend, playing a three-game series at Cal State Northridge. Junior right-hander Matt Anderson will get the start for the Dirtbags in the opener on Friday, April 27. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
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