April 28, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. - Trailing 5-4 in the seventh inning, Long Beach State loaded up the bases for senior Juan Avila, who came through in a big way, hitting his first home run of the season and lifting the Dirtbags to a 9-5 win over Cal Poly on Sunday. With the win, the Dirtbags take the series against the Mustangs.
For Avila, it capped a big week for the senior, who drove in the winning runs in both wins during the series. It was the first grand slam for Long Beach State since the 2009 season.
Cal Poly (28-13, 8-7 Big West) took the first lead of the game in the top of the third inning after both teams recorded two hitless innings. David Hill put this first batter on by hitting David Armendariz, and then Peter Van Gansen singled to put two runners on. After a sacrifice, Denver Chavez drove in two runs, and then two more singles brought in an additional run. Hill walked the bases loaded, but Nick Sabo came on in relief and got out of the inning with no further damage.
Long Beach State (20-21, 9-6 Big West), held hitless by Bryan Granger for the first five innings, put together a big rally to not only get back into the game, but take the lead in the sixth inning. Colby Brenner drew a leadoff walk to start the inning, and after a single by Jeff McNeil, a fielder's choice and a popout left two on with two outs.
The Mustangs answered right back, regaining the lead in the next inning. Chavez singled to the start the inning, and moved into scoring position. A single from Nick Torres tied the game, and after a walk, a wild play with two errors allowed Torres to score from second to give Cal Poly a 5-4 lead.
In the top of the eighth, Eric Hutting singled to start the action for Long Beach State, and McNeil singled and Jeff Yamaguchi walked to load the bases for Avila. The senior turned on an inside offering from Reed Reilly that easily cleared the fence in left center as the Dirtbags took an 8-5 lead with one swing of the bat.
The Dirtbags picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning, and Ty Provencher, who had pitched the top of the eighth, faced the minimum in the ninth, ending the game on a 6-4-3 double play to earn his first career save, while Eddie Magallon picked up the win.
Long Beach State remains at home for one more game, hosting Loyola Marymount on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Blair Field.
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