May 10, 2011
Long Beach, Calif. - Shawn Stuart's return to a starting role went well Tuesday, as the junior threw five scoreless innings, striking out four and allowing just two hits to stake the Dirtbags to a lead they would never relinquish in a 4-2 win over No. 13 UCLA.
Three Dirtbags had two hits as Long Beach State took an early lead, but Long Beach State (24-22) had some trouble early. Stuart walked the first two batters of the game, but got a grounder for a double play to leave just one runner on, and then a liner that was snared by Michael Hill at third base kept UCLA (27-17) off the board in the first inning.
The Dirtbags responded with two runs in the bottom of the first. Matt Hibbert was plunked to put the leadoff runner on, and Jeff McNeil singled for a second baserunner in the first. After a wild pitch advanced both runners, a sacrifice fly by Ino Patron brought in one run, and a single from Matt Duffy scored another as Long Beach State took a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Brennan Metzger made a gutsy play that resulted in a run. After drawing a walk with one out, Metzger stole second, and with a wild pitch bouncing past catcher Steve Rodriguez, advanced all the way to third base. He then scored on an RBI gounder by Johnny Bekakis to give the Dirtbags a 3-0 lead. An RBI single in the fifth then gave the Dirtbags a 4-0 lead.
Two walks from reliever Jake Stassi led to a UCLA run in the sixth inning, and Eddie Magallon ran into some trouble in the eighth inning after a leadoff triple, but two great catches in center field by Metzger kept the momentum in favor of the Dirtbags. Magallon then struck out Brenton Allen to end the inning, and Branden Pinder collected his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
McNeil, Marjama and Duffy all had two hits on the day for Long Beach State, while five Long Beach State pitchers held the Bruins to just five hits on the day.
Long Beach State's rivalry with Cal State Fullerton resumes Friday, as the Dirtbags travel to Goodwin Field for three games against the No. 9 Titans. The series begins with a 7 p.m. start on May 13.
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