April 27, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. - Junior Jake Stassi had another outstanding start to keep Long Beach State within reach of No. 18 Cal Poly Saturday, and Juan Avila drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Dirtbags dropped the Mustangs 3-2 at Blair Field.
Long Beach State (19-21, 8-6 Big West) took an early lead, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Ino Patron led off the frame with a single, and after Richard Prigatano followed with another base hit, Colton Vaughn was able to beat out a chopper to load the bases with no outs in the inning. Zach Miller hit a hard ground ball that brought in one run, and an overthrow by Peter Van Gansen trying to turn the double play allowed Prigatano to score as well.
Both Stassi and Mustangs starter Matt Imhof would remain in command for the next few innings, as Cal Poly (28-12, 8-6 Big West) and the Dirtbags put zeroes up on the board for the next four innings.
An error by Long Beach State opened the door for the Mustangs in the seventh inning, however, as Brian Mundell reached base to start the inning, and then scored on a double by catcher Elliot Stewart. Stewart then came around to score after a sacrifice and a single, tying up the game at 2-2.
The Dirtbags pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the eighth. Colby Brenner singled to get the action started, and then on a ground ball to Denver Chavez at second, the Mustangs tried to turn two but were unable to get either out as both Brenner and Jeff McNeil beat out close throws, putting two runners on with nobody out. Jeff Yamaguchi was able to advance the runners, and then a deep fly ball from Juan Avila scored Brenner, giving Long Beach State the lead.
Ryan Millison, who picked up the final two outs of the eighth inning, finished off the top of the ninth for Long Beach State, earning his second win of the season.
The rubber game in the series is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start on Sunday at Blair Field. Freshman David Hill will start for the Dirtbags.
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