April 25, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. -
After four games on the road over the last week, the Dirtbags return home to Blair Field for three Big West games against No. 18 Cal Poly. The series starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, followed by games Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. All Dirtbag games can be followed through live audio or live statistics at www.longbeachstate.com.
Long Beach State earned its third win over a ranked opponent on the season in a dominating performance Tuesday at No. 7 UCLA, winning 11-1. The Dirtbags scored a pair of runs in the first inning, and then put up six runs in the third inning, opening a big lead that was capped by Ino Patron's first home run of the year, a three-run shot. That was plenty of support for starter Nick Sabo, who pitched five scoreless innings to collect his second win of his career, and his second against a Pac-12 opponent after beating Arizona earlier this season. That win came on the heels of a Sunday win at UC Santa Barbara, giving the Dirtbags two straight wins on the road and helping the team climb to within two games of .500 at 18-20.
Scouting Cal Poly
Leadoff batter Denver Chavez is having a monster season for Cal Poly, leading the Mustangs in batting at .380 and reaching at a .441 mark this season in what has been a great year for the Mustangs. Ranked for most of the season, Cal Poly holds a 27-11 overall record, but stands even with the Dirtbags in the Big West table at 7-5. Reliever Reed Reilly returns from an All-Big West season a year ago with 10 saves and a 1.87 ERA, while Joey Wagman and Matt Imhof lead the rotation, both with ERA's under three. All-time, Long Beach State leads the series 84-45-1, and won last year's series at Cal Poly on the strength of a one-hit complete game shutout by Shawn Stuart in the series finale.
In league play, the Dirtbags rank first offensively, hitting .319 as a team behind a few standout performers. Junior Michael Hill ranks seventh in the conference in batting at .336 and is fourth in slugging percentage at .522 on the year. Additionally, Hill has five triples, tied for the league lead with teammate Ino Patron. Sophomore Richard Prigatano has 10 doubles on the season and is hitting .404 in Big West play, sixth in conference-only play this season, and his 11 RBI are fifth in the league as well while hitting .317 overall, third on the team. Jeff McNeil is also hitting over .300 on the season at .329 with 50 hits, while Juan Avila has played well since his return to the team from injury, batting .354 in Big West play while improving to .280 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 throwing at least six innings last week at USCB after all collecting wins over UC Davis the week before. Carle leads the team in strikeouts and innings pitched, and has an ERA of 3.25 while pitching on Fridays. Jake Stassi has now had six 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-best 2.75 ERA. Finally, freshman David Hill has now made six straight starts for the Dirtbags in the third game of the series, earning three wins and striking out 24 on the year.
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