May 20, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Senior Shawn Stuart threw seven shutout innings, striking out seven as Long Beach State took an early lead and was never threatened in a 5-1 victory against Pacific, winning the series against the Tigers. The victory sets up a showdown for the Big West crown next weekend at Blair Field against Cal State Fullerton.
Stuart was in command throughout, going four innings before allowing a hit that reached the outfield, and scattering four total over seven innings pitched while improving to 7-0 on the season and 6-0 in the Big West.
Meanwhile, the Dirtbags offense jumped on Pacific starter Bryce Lombardi early, and never looked back. Brennan Metzger reached on an error with one out in the second inning, and after stealing second, scored on an RBI double from Matt Duffy. Brennan Fulkerson and Richard Prigatano followed with back-to-back hits to bring home the junior shortstop and put the Dirtbags on top 2-0.
Scoring one more run in the third off of Lombardi following a triple by Jeff McNeil, Long Beach State finally moved out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Kellen Hoime walked to start off the inning, and then Johnny Bekakis dropped a double directly onto the line on the way to left field. Bekakis then came home to score on two groundouts to finish LBSU's scoring on the day.
Sophomore Kyle Friedrichs came on in relief of Stuart and finished off the final two innings for Long Beach State, allowing a run in the eighth inning.
Long Beach State enters the weekend with a record of 14-7 in the Big West, and regardless of Sunday's Cal State Fullerton-UC Riverside result, is within reach of a Big West Championship and a trip to the NCAA Regionals with victories in the final weekend against the Titans. The series with Cal State Fullerton begins on Friday, May 25 at 6:30 p.m.
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