Johnson leads Dirtbags past San Diego State in 12 innings
May 3, 2011
San Diego, Calif. - It wasn't always pretty. Instead it was grind-it-out, pitch-by-pitch Dirtbags baseball as Long Beach State improved to 5-0 in extra inning games, beating San Diego State 7-6 in 12 innings. Matt Johnson earned the win, striking out six over the final three innings for Long Beach State.
Mike Marjama had three hits for Long Beach State, including a double in the second inning and the first hit in the 12th, scoring the winning run. Kirk Singer was 1-for-1 with a single, walking three times and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Each team had a big blemish on the stat line, as Long Beach State (23-19) walked 10 but San Diego State (15-30) left 20 on base as the Dirtbags danced around trouble all night but never allowed more than a single run in an inning to the Aztecs.
San Diego State took their first and only lead in the second inning. Ben Vasko led off the inning with a bunt single, and after back-to-back walks from Shawn Stuart, a single by Cody Smith brought home the first run of the game. Kyle Friedrichs got Ryan Colwell to ground into an inning-ending double play to leave two runners on in the second inning, a recurring theme for the Aztecs in the contest.
Long Beach State took the lead in the top of the third. After a walk by Singer, the first of a season-high three for the shortstop, Marjama's double and a single from Ino Patron put Long Beach State in front by a 2-1 margin.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Aztecs tied the score, but Long Beach State regained the lead in the fourth. Brennan Metzger singled to start the inning, and after stealing second, came around to score on a bunt and a sac fly from Singer.
The teams traded runes once in the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh, and then the Dirtbags added an insurance run in the top of the eighth. Patron hit his second single of the game to lead off the inning, and after a double by Metzger, Ino scored on a wild pitch to give the Dirtbags a 5-3 lead.
In the eighth inning, the Aztecs pulled back one run. With two outs and a runner on second, Nate Underwood walked back-to-back batters to load the bases, forcing the Dirtbags to turn to closer Eddie Magallon for a four-out save. A wild pitch let one run in, but Magallon struck out Tim Zier to keep Long Beach State in the lead heading into the ninth.
After adding an insurance run in the top of the ninth, Magallon retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth. Smith battled for a walk on eight pitches, however, and a pitch that ran in on Ryan Colwell put two runners on base for the Aztecs. Singles from Jomel Torres and Chris Wilson scored both runners to tie the game, but Magallon got Dillon Bryant to ground out to Hill to send the game to extra innings.
Entering the game in the bottom of the tenth, Johnson's first six outs were strikeouts, helping the junior work around a double by Smith in the 11th, and set up a chance for the Dirtbags in the 12th inning. Marjama smoked a single up the middle on the first pitch of the inning, and after a sacrifice moving him to second, a passed ball moved the junior over to third base. Hill then followed with the second hit of the inning, scoring Marjama and once again giving the Dirtbags a lead.
Johnson, working the 12th, allowed a single to Vasko, but picked up three outs, with Metzger making a sliding catch in center to seal the win.
The Dirtbags remain on the road this weekend, traveling to No. 6 Arizona State for a three-game series.
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