May 5, 2013
Fullerton, Calif. - Long Beach State's troubles with Titans continued on Sunday, as the Dirtbags surrendered an early lead in a 9-4 loss to No. 4 Cal State Fullerton on Sunday. Zack Belanger hit his first collegiate home run for the Dirtbags, a solo shot in the seventh inning.
McNeil got Long Beach State (21-24, 9-9 Big West) on the board in the top of the first inning, drawing a walk against Grahamm Wiest. After stealing second, McNeil moved to third on a groundout and came home on Juan Avila's third sacrifice fly of the season.
The lead was short-lived, however as Cal State Fullerton (39-7, 14-4) evened up the score in the bottom half of the inning. Richy Pedroza started off the inning with a single, and while David Hill was able to get two outs without a run, Anthony Hutting singled up the middle with runners on the corners to tie the game at one run apiece.
The Titans broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth inning. Nick Sabo, who had struck out Matt Chapman to end the fourth inning, was victimized by two errors, putting runners on second and third with one out in the inning. Rattled, Sabo walked the next two batters to tie the game, and after a passed ball brought home the go-ahead run, Anthony Hutting drove in two runs with his third hit of the day to give Cal State Fullerton a 5-2 lead.
Command issues continued to plague the Dirtbags, as Landon Hunt walked the only two batters he faced, and while Eddie Magallon picked up two outs following the southpaw in the bottom of the sixth inning, Carlos Lopez hit a three-run homer to extend the Titans lead.
Belanger cracked his solo shot in the top of the seventh, and the Titans pushed across one additional run in the bottom of the eighth inning as each team added a run in the late innings.
The Dirtbags tacked on one more to start the top of the ninth, scoring a run on back-to-back hits from Juan Avila and Ino Patron against reliever Jose Cardona. Willie Kuhl came on for the Titans and walked Zack Rivera to put two on with nobody out, but struck out three in a row to end the rally and finish off the game.
Long Beach State returns to action on Tuesday, facing Pepperdine for the first time this season. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
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