May 19, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. - Down 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Dirtbags put two across to tie the game, and won it in extra innings as Juan Avila singled to start the inning, and scored on an RBI single by Zack Rivera, his third hit of the day. The walkoff hit gave Long Beach State a 5-4 win over UC Riverside.
Avila, one of four seniors who were honored by Long Beach State (28-25, 14-10 Big West) prior to the team's final home game, started off a rally in the bottom of the tenth inning with a single into the hole, and Ino Patron followed with a single on a hit and run to put runners on the corners with one out. Rivera then came through with his second RBI on his third hit of the day, a chopper through the left side to walk off UC Riverside (12-31, 8-16 Big West).
The Dirtbags were already in a hole in the bottom of the ninth inning, down 4-2, but Eric Hutting gave the team life with a leadoff single. Zack Belanger followed with his third hit of the day to put the tying run on base. A sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position, and one run came home on a groundout, and then Clayton Prestridge misplayed a grounder, allowing the tying run to come home and force the game into extra innings.
Jon Maciel, who collected the final out in the ninth inning, struck out two Highlanders in the tenth, stranding a runner and getting his second win of the year in the process.
Prior to the ninth inning, the Highlanders had led through the entire contest. David Hill gave up two singles and a hit batter in the first inning, as UCR put a run on the board. Hill and the Highlanders' starting pitcher Zack Varela each went through five innings with no further damage until the Highlanders pushed a second run across in the top of the sixth inning.
Long Beach State got on the board in the sixth inning as Colton Vaughn led off the inning with a single, and after a wild pitch, scored on an RBI from Rivera. An error let the Highlanders regain a two-run edge once more in the seventh inning, but again the Dirtbags pulled back a single run, as Belanger scored after cracking a leadoff triple after the stretch.
UC Riverside had one final answer, however, scoring in the top of the eighth inning as Nick Vilter doubled home Phil Holinsworth after a leadoff base hit to make the score 4-2 before the Dirtbags' late inning heroics.
With the win, the Dirtbags are riding a five-game winning streak, and have won seven of their last eight games. Long Beach State finishes the 2013 regular season next weekend, traveling to UC Irvine for a three-game set beginning on Thursday night at Anteater Ballpark.
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