Dirtbags Win Epic With North Carolina, Lose In Regional Final To End Season
June 2, 2014
Gainesville, Calif. - Senior Michael Hill carried the Dirtbags to a win in a marathon third game with North Carolina, but the Dirtbags' momentum came up short against the College of Charleston, and the Dirtbags were eliminated from the postseason in the Gainesville Regional Final.
First baseman Ino Patron, Shortstop Garrett Hampson, Third Baseman Hill and Starting Pitcher Andrew Rohrbach were all named to the Gainesville Region All-Tournament team while leading the Dirtbags to the regional final.
The Dirtbags' second game Monday was set up with a win over North Carolina in a resumed game from Sunday.
Coming out of a day-long break, Long Beach State came out of the gate aggressive against the Tar Heels, with a double-steal on the first pitch of the restart. With the bases loaded after an intentional walk to Richard Prigatano, Hill singled to drive home a pair and extend the Dirtbags' lead to 8-5.
North Carolina pulled back a run, but Ty Provencher struck out pinch hitter Adam Pate with runners on the corners in the bottom of the seventh, the first out of an eight-out save for the junior.
Leading 7-5, Long Beach State broke the game open in the top of the ninth. Hill started out the inning with a single, his fourth hit of the game. Johnny Bekakis was hit, and Zack Domingues dropped a perfect bunt single. With the bases loaded, an infield single by Hutting brought home one run, and a walk to Colby Brenner scored one more.
Hampson then broke the game open with a two-run single, and a sacrifice fly from Patron capped a five-run inning on the way to a 12-5 win over North Carolina.
College of Charleston (44-17) started off the second game by scoring the first run, but Long Beach State (34-26) responded by scoring two runs of their own in the first inning.
Brenner scored on a Prigatano double, and then Prigatano was plated following a single from Bekakis to give LBSU a 2-1 lead.
The advantage was short-lived, however, as an unearned run in the third tied the game, and control issues from Nick Sabo hurt the Dirtbags in the fourth. A leadoff walk, followed by a hit batter and a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position with no outs, chasing Sabo. While Nick Rosetta got the Dirtbags out of the inning in relief, both runs would come home to score, giving the Cougars a 4-2 lead.
Charleston freshman Tyler Thornton would hold off Long Beach State the rest of the way, throwing a complete game, allowing two hits after the first inning, and throwing eight scoreless innings to lead the Cougars to the victory.
Thornton's performance overshadowed what was a strong relief effort from Nick Rosetta and Logan Lombana, who combined for six innings of scoreless relief, with Lombana pitching the final 2.2 innings, striking out four and not allowing a base runner to keep Long Beach State within striking distance.
The loss ended Long Beach State's postseason run, but couldn't put a damper on a campaign that saw the Dirtbags reach the Regionals for the first time since the 2008 season. The Dirtbags made a massive run to close the season, winning 16 of their last 21 games, winning six series in a row down the stretch and closing the 2014 season with a record of 34-26, the most wins under fourth-year head coach Troy Buckley.