March 12, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. -
Leading Off Long Beach State will play one more game on the road, heading to Loyola Marymount for a day game at Page Field beginning a 3 p.m. on Tuesday. The Dirtbags will then return home this weekend to host Wichita State for three games at Blair Field. Friday's contest with the Shockers will start at 6 p.m., followed by a day game Saturday at 2 p.m. and the finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. All Dirtbag games can be followed through live audio or Gametracker at www.longbeachstate.com.
A Tough Weekend
Long Beach State struggled on the road last week at No. 20 Arizona State after dropping a tough 3-2 game against No. 7 UCLA at Blair Field on Tuesday. After getting rained out on Friday night, the Dirtbags and Sun Devils returned to Packard Stadium for a doubleheader on Saturday, and Long Beach State dropped both halves, falling 4-0 and 6-0 for the team's first back-to-back shutouts since 1988. On Sunday, Long Beach State picked up a two-run home run from Michael Hill to get on the board, but surrendered nine runs in an error filled fourth inning that led to an 11-2 victory for Arizona State on getaway day. With the losses, the Dirtbags fell to 6-10 on the season.
Scouting Loyola Marymount
LMU enters the week with an identical record to Long Beach State at 6-10, with best wins coming on the road at Oregon and at Oklahoma State last weekend. Senior Catcher Colton Plaia is the team leader for LMU, hitting .323 and starting every game for the Lions, leading the team in both hits and doubles in 201. As a team, the Lions are hitting .259, with four players over .300, led by Tommy Cheek, hitting .333. Tanner Donnels leads the team in RBI with 12. Pitching is led by Colin Welmon, with a 0.64 ERA in four starts and 28.0 innings pitched. The Dirtbags won three of four games with LMU last season, dropping a Tuesday game before sweeping a split three-game series on Long Beach State's Big West bye week a year ago. Long Beach State leads the all-time series 84-47-2.
Junior Michael Hill has been the bright spot for the offense throughout the 2013 season. In 15 games played, the shortstop is batting .364 (16-for-44) and has two doubles, three triples, and a home run, putting together a .614 slugging percentage, best in the Big West. Additionally, Hill has a pair of walks and three HBP, reaching at a .420 rate with an OPS over 1.000 at 1.034. Hill is one of two regulars for the 49ers with a batting average over .300, with Jeff Yamaguchi coming into the week's play at .308. Replacement third baseman Jonathan Serven is also hitting .364 in 11 at-bats.
Jekyll And Hyde
After 16 games, the Dirtbags have one streak that stands out; Long Beach State has had excellent success against right-handed starters, going 6-4 overall on the year, but has lost all six games against left-handed starters, accounting for the team's sub-.500 record. That includes both losses against Seattle, as well as the last two games against No. 20 Arizona State last weekend. The overall average of the team has been similar against lef-handed hitting, but the team has just six extra-base hits against lefties on the year.
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