April 8, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. -
Long Beach State returns home for four games this week, starting by hosting San Diego State in a rematch with the Aztecs on Tuesday. at 6 p.m. Big West action then resumes over the weekend, also at Blair Field as UC Davis visits Long Beach for three games. The series begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, followed by a 2 p.m. start on Saturday before concluding Sunday at 1 p.m. All Dirtbag games can be followed through live audio or Gametracker at www.longbeachstate.com.
Over the weekend Long Beach State had mixed results at Pacific, splitting the first two games in Stockton before making a furious rally on Sunday, only to see the lead snatched away in the ninth inning in a thriling back-and-forth contest. Friday's contest saw the Dirtbags held to just one run by a combination of Josh Habermann and Mike Hagar, which was enough to take a 3-1 win. Jake Stassi led the Dirtbags back on Saturday, surrendering no earned runs over a team season-long outing of 7.2 innings in a 6-2 win. The series came down to Sunday, where the Dirtbags trailed 5-2 going into the eighth inning. After pulling back one run in the eighth, Jeff Yamaguchi's inside-the-park home run was the first of three runs that Long Beach State scored in the top half of the inning to take a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Two doubles allowed the Tigers to tie the game however, and a two-run homer from Taylor Murphy ended it in an 8-6 loss for Long Beach State.
Scouting San Diego State
San Diego State has posted a 17-15 overall record entering this week, and boasts one of the nation's better RPI, giving the Dirtbags a strong chance to rebound from an earlier loss to the Aztecs this season. Jake Romanski and Ryan Muno are both in the midst of tremendous seasons for San Diego State. Senior catcher Jake Romanski leads the team, batting .384 while starting 30 games, while Ryan Muno has returned to the lineup, hitting .380 after missing time with an injury. Long Beach State trails in the all-time series with San Diego State 49-79-1, having lost 12-2 earlier this year in San Diego. However, since 1989, that mark stands at 22-12 in favor of Long Beach State.
In league play, the Dirtbags rank second offensively behind a few standout performers. Junior Michael Hill is leading the league with four triples this season, and is sixth in the Big West in slugging percentage at .515, adding four doubles and two home runs while topping the Dirtbags lineup with a .333 batting average. Just behind him is junior Jeff McNeil, who leads the Dirtbags with 37 hits, eighth in the conference in 119 at-bats. Also leading a conference category is sophomore Richard Prigatano, who has ten doubles, slugging .452 for Long Beach State while batting .322, second on the team with a team-high 18 RBI, just in front of junior Ino Patron, who has 15 RBI while hitting .275.
Long Beach State will continue to use a solidified rotation, as the trio of Shane Carle, Jake Stassi, and David Hill have strengthened the rotation for the Dirtbags. Carle leads the team in strikeouts and innings pitched, and has an ERA of 3.33 while pitching on Fridays. Jake Stassi has now had four straight starts longer than six innings pitched as the Saturday starter after moving from the bullpen. Last weekend at Pacific, Stassi set a team season--high, throwing 7.2 innings without allowing an earned run. Finally, freshman David Hill had a solid outing against Cal State Fullerton before collecting his first collegiate against Cal State Northridge, striking out a career high five batters over 6.1 innings against the Matadors.
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