May 13, 2014
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Nick Rossetta gave a career-best performance out of the bullpen to pitch the Long Beach State Dirtbags to a 6-1 win over San Diego on Tuesday at Blair Field. Rossetta recorded all 27 outs in a nine-inning relief effort after entering the game after just two batters had come to the plate.
Cameron Pongs started on the mound for the Dirtbags (27-23) but walked the first two batters of the game and was down 2-0 in the count to his third batter. Head Coach Troy Buckley made the call to the bullpen to bring in Rossetta.
The senior right-hander entered with two on and no outs yet recorded. A soft, looping fly hit into left center dropped in for a single to load the bases. Rossetta recorded an out on the next three plays although a ground ball turned into a fielder's choice that allowed the run to score from third. Austin Bailey trotted home for the 1-0 Torero lead.
The Toreros (34-20), whose offense ranks among the nation's best in terms of average and slugging percentage, was limited to just five singles all night and the lone run at the top of the game. Rossetta let only one more runner advance as far as second after the first inning and allowed only one more runner into scoring position.
Rossetta seemed to grow stronger as the game wore on. The Torero's last hit was Hunter Mercado-Hood's single in the fifth. Their last baserunner came when Rossetta nicked Josh Goosen-Brown with a pitch in the sixth. Rossetta went on to retire the last 10 batters he faced in order and 16 of the last 18 in the game.
All the scoring in support of Rossetta's relief game came early. With Garrett Hampson on second and Ino Patron on first, the Dirtbags dialed up a double steal. The throw down to third sailed into left field and allowed Hampson to hop up and score to tie the game at 1-1.
The Dirtbags broke out in the second for five runs to give themselves a 6-1 lead, which is how the game would end. Johnny Bekakis singled to lead things off. He moved up to third on a hit-and-run with Eric Hutting, who moved up to second when the throw from the outfield came to third.
Colton Vaughn's ground ball was good enough to score the first run and Colby Brenner's second double of the day plated Hutting for a 3-1 Dirtbag lead. Patron would single in Brenner later in the inning and Hampson trotted home on a passed ball. A ground ball off the bat of Michael Hill plated the final run of the second inning rally.
Brenner ended the game 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Patron was 2-for-4 to get hit No. 225 in his career and leapfrog into fourth place in school history.
Neither offense threatened much in the later innings as the pitchers took over. CJ Burdick rivaled Rossetta with four innings of shutout relief for the Toreros. Ryan Olson took the loss on the mound.
Rossetta's nine inning effort more than doubled his previous career-high in a Dirtbag uniform and needed just 93 pitches to send the Dirtbags home with their fourth win in a row and ninth out of their last 11 games.
Only Big West games lie ahead on the Dirtbag schedule for the 2014 regular season. LBSU will head up to UC Riverside this weekend for a three-game series and return home May 22-24 to wrap up the regular season with a three-game set against UC Irvine.
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