May 6, 2012
Los Angeles, Calif. - Junior Juan Avila blasted high changeup over the "blue monster" at Page Stadium, a three-run home run that sparked the Dirtbags to a big lead on the way to a 5-4 victory at LMU on Sunday. The win gives Long Beach State seven weekend series wins in a row, and the Dirtbags will go for a sweep against the Lions Monday night at Blair Field.
Long Beach State took the lead in the third after a pair of Lions miscues. Michael Hill drew a one-out walk, and Alex Guthrie then overthrew first on an attempt to retire Royce Murai on a sacrifice bunt, putting both runners in scoring position. Johnny Bekakis then hit a ball straight back to the pitcher, but Trevor Megill overthrew first on the second straight play, allowing Hill to score with no hits in the inning.
The Dirtbags broke things open in the top of the sixth inning. After getting just one hit over the first five innings against Megill, Bekakis doubled to start the inning, and after a sacrifice, Megill hit Ino Patron to put two runners on. Avila then his home run to left, giving Long Beach State a four-run lead. Jeff McNeil then followed with a triple, and scored on a single by Jeff Yamaguchi as the Dirtbags plated another run.
Sophomore Ryan Strufing was outstanding through six innings, allowing just one hit on a bunt single, but ran into some trouble in the seventh. Shon Roe led off the inning with a double on the first pitch, and Strufing hit and walked the next two batters to load the bases. A sacrifice fly and a single brought home a pair of runs, ending Strufing's day, but Matt Johnson came on with runners on the corners and picked up a pop fly and a groundout to third base to end the inning.
The Lions added two more runs in the eighth inning, as Johnson loaded the bases with one out. Colton Plaia singled to bring home one run, and a sacrifice fly scored one more, but Jon Maciel picked up the last out of the inning to hold onto a one-run lead 5-4.
Kyle Friedrichs retired the Lions in order in the bottom of the ninth to record his eighth save of the season, while Strufing picked up the win, improving to 6-2 on the year.
The Dirtbags and Lions return to Blair Field tomorrow, finishing off the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Shawn Stuart takes the mound for Long Beach State, and he will be facing LMU's John Lally.
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