April 17, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. -
Long Beach State will try to ride their wave of momentum, carrying a four-game winning streak into this weekend's Big West series at UC Santa Barbara. The Dirtbags are tied for second place in the Big West, and will try to keep pace during three games against the Gauchos beginning on Friday at 3 p.m. Saturday's game is scheduled for 2 p.m., and the series will finish at 1 p.m. on Sunday. All Dirtbag games can be followed through live audio or live statistics at www.longbeachstate.com.
On A Roll
After winning a walkoff thriller against San Diego State on Tuesday, Long Beach State carried that momentum into a weekend series against UC Davis as the Dirtbags continued a four-game homestand. The Dirtbags jumped out to a big lead on Friday night behind four hits from Richard Prigatano, winning 9-2 in the first game of the series. Saturday, Jake Stassi pitched 7.1 innings, and the team piled up six runs on 10 hits to outlast the Aggies 6-4. Finally on Sunday, the Dirtbags completed their third sweep of the season, winning 7-2 over UC Davis to improve to 6-3 in Big West play. Michael Hill had six hits for the Dirtbags, while Juan Avila had five hits, scored five times and added three doubles for Long Beach State.
Scouting UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Barbara is in the thick of the Big West race, at 4-5 overall one of six teams within four games of Cal State Fullerton after three weeks of conference play. The Gauchos won a series with their rivals, Cal Poly, and also handed Cal State Fullerton its first loss last Sunday behind Big West Pitcher of the Week Robby Nesocvic. Leading the rotation is Austin Pettibone, who has a 2.80 ERA with a 4-2 record over nine starts, while Tyler Kuresa is the top hitter for the Gauchos, hitting .314 with nine doubles on the year. In one of the longest individual series for Long Beach State, the Dirtbags hold a 91-74 edge all-time against the Gauchos, and swept UCSB last season at Blair Field. In the last meeting between the teams in Santa Barbara, Ino Patron hit three home runs over the weekend, but UCSB took the series, winning two games at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
In league play, the Dirtbags rank second offensively behind a few standout performers. Junior Michael Hill ranks seventh in the conference in both batting average and slugging, hitting .348 and slugging .504 on the year. Additionally, Hill has four triples, tied for the league lead with teammate Ino Patron. Sophomore Richard Prigatano has 10 doubles on the season and is hitting .457 in Big West play, second in conference-only play this season, and his 10 RBI are second in the league as well while hitting .331 overall, second on the team. Jeff McNeil is also hitting over .300 on the season at .312 with 43 hits, while Juan Avila has played well since his return to the team from injury, batting .361 in Big West play while improving to .286 hitting on the year.
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, with all three earning a win against UC Davis last week. Carle leads the team in strikeouts and innings pitched, and has an ERA of 3.29 while pitching on Fridays. Jake Stassi has now had five straight starts longer than six innings pitched as the Saturday starter after moving from the bullpen, and leads the team in wins with a 4-1 record and a team-high 2.42 ERA. Finally, freshman David Hill has now made five straight starts for the Dirtbags in the third game of the series, earning a pair of wins and striking out 22 on the year.
This and That
Former Dirtbag Shane Peterson joined the Oakland Athletics Tuesday, becoming the 43rd former baseball player at Long Beach State to reach the MLB ... The Dirtbags now have 12 active major leaguers, the most of any college ... Long Beach State has had the most active former players in the MLB in each season since 2010 ... Juan Avila passed Bobby Crosby and Terrmel Sledge and now stands in fourth place at LBSU with 36 career HBP ... The Dirtbags opened the season with eight games in 10 days ... Jeff Yamaguchi reached base in his first 15 games in 2013, while Ino Patron and Jeff McNeil are riding active streaks of 12 games ... Long Beach State faces three first-time opponents this season, the most since the 1998 season (Texas Tech, Tulane, Kentucky, Alabama) ... Pitchers Ryan Strufing, Kyle Friedrichs, and J.C. Cloney are out for the season with arm injuries, while Johnny Bekakis is ineligible during 2013 ... Standings for the Uni Watch for 2013: Pinstripes (3-3); White (5-1); Black (5-6); Grey (0-4); Gold (3-3) ... The 2012 winner was far and away the Gold tops, as the team went 9-4 in them.
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