March 6, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. -
The Dirtbags continue their non-conference schedule this weekend with a trip to No. 20 Arizona State, the fourth ranked opponent Long Beach State will face this season. The series begins on Friday with a 5:30 p.m. PT start, with another on Saturday before a finale on Sunday starting at 11:30 a.m. PT. Previously, Long Beach State faced No. 2 Vanderbilt on the opening weekend of the year, No. 10 Arizona in the home opener, and No. 7 UCLA in a 3-2 loss on Tuesday night. All Dirtbag games can be followed through live audio or Gametracker at www.longbeachstate.com.
A Tough Weekend
Seattle University visited LBSU for the first time in baseball last weekend, and the Redhawks got the last laugh as they took two out of three from the Dirtbags. In Friday night's contest, junior Shane Carle had a quality start, but was victimized by errors to allow two runs, and Seattle held onto take a 5-4 victory. Long Beach State turned the tables on Saturday, rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the eighth inning to take a 4-3 victory. The Dirtbags pulled back a first run in the bottom of the eighth inning, and then scored two in the bottom of the ninth inning, the key hit coming from Ino Patron, who singled with the bases loaded to give Long Beach State the walkoff win. In the series finale however, Jon Maciel struck out eight batters with no walks over six innings, but also gave up nine hits and five earned runs as Seattle won the final game 8-3 and took the series. Jeff Yamaguchi scored twice, walked twice and had two hits on Sunday.
Scouting Arizona State
Arizona State has posted a 7-2-1 record on the year, posting series wins over Bethune-Cookman and Tennessee, before picking up their two most impressive wins, taking down Arkansas in a pair of games at the Surprise Tournament last weekend. Kasey Koffman is the leading hitting among the regulars, starting every game and hitting .371 with two triples and a home run. Trever Allen has also had a hot start to the season, hitting three home runs and two triples in his 10 hits on the year. Pitching has also been a strength for the Sun Devils with a 2.60 ERA, led by Friday starter Trevor Williams, who has 21 strikeouts and three earned runs allowed in 21 innings pitched over three starts. All-time Long Beach State trails in the series 35-9, but has gone 7-17 since 1989. Last season in Long Beach, the Dirtbags took the Saturday game but lost the series 2-1 at Blair Field.
Hitting It Off
On the season, the Dirtbags are out-hitting their opposition .264 to .243, and have four regulars hitting over .300. Freshman Zack Rivera has come on recently, and is second on the team with a .353 batting average, while Michael Hill is leading the squad at .412 with a team-best .618 slugging percentage on the strength of a Big West- best three triples. Junior Jeff McNeil is hitting .321, leading the team with 17 hits, while Jeff Yamaguchi is batting .317 on the season. In the heart of the order, Juan Avila, Ino Patron, and Richard Prigatano have combined for 38 hits, 20 RBI, and 9 doubles on the year. On the whole, the team is reaching base at a .386 rate, and have also stolen 12 bases in 13 games.
Jekyll And Hyde
After 13 games, the Dirtbags have one streak that stands out; Long Beach State has had excellent success against right-handed starters, going 6-3 overall on the year, but has lost all four games against left-handed starters, accounting for the team's .500 record. That included both losses from last weekend against Seattle, as the Dirtbags fell late on Friday before dropping the Sunday contest behind seven innings pitched by Redhawks starter Kyle Doyle. Among the team's averages, the success has been similar, but the Dirtbags have just three extra-base hits against left-handed pitching thus far on the season.
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