Feb. 27, 2008

Around the Bases

Around the Bases

No. 18 San Diego pulls out win at No. 10 Long Beach State

By Abbey Mastracco


LONG BEACH, Calif. — A little more than a mile away from the ocean, underneath a thick marine layer and somewhat in a wind tunnel, Long Beach State’s Blair Field is not a hitter’s park by any means. But the Dirtbags annually put together a lineup rich with power, which is why it’s unusual that No. 10 LBSU’s offensive struggles continued Tuesday night against No. 18 San Diego.


San Diego improved to 2-2 on the season, while the Dirtbags, also now 2-2, took their second loss in a row, falling to the Toreros 5-3 at Blair Field.


“To come up here and play a perennial national power and come out with a victory is awesome,” said San Diego head coach Rich Hill. “I thought we played extremely well after a tough weekend.”


After getting knocked around by San Diego State in a 3-1 series loss opening weekend, the Toreros jumped out to a quick lead by taking five runs off RHP Manny McElroy. Solid relief pitching from Matt Thompson, Matt Couch and A.J. Griffin held the lead for San Diego.


“I thought our bullpen was outstanding,” Hill said. “All three of them who came out were phenomenal.”


Thompson allowed just one run on two hits and struck out one, while Couch and Griffin combined for 2.2 no-hit innings, allowing just one walk and notching four strikeouts.


Victor Sanchez backed up his pitchers’ performances going 3 for 3 with two home runs, including a two-run bomb that sparked a four-run inning, with three RBI and an intentional walk.


“Probably the real story was Victor Sanchez,” Hill said. “Home runs are a rarity here at Blair. As a freshman, to come in here and hit a couple bombs was pretty impressive.”


McElroy surrendered his first earned run to Sanchez with a solo shot to lead off the second inning. While McElroy managed to get himself out of the second without much damage, he took a pounding in the third.


Logan Gelbrich led off the top of the third with a double through the gap in left. Sanchez then hit his second jack to lead the Dirtbags by three. Ryan Davis got on base with a single, and with one out Kevin Hansen was walked. Catcher Kip Masuda attempted to throw out Davis at third, but the ball got away from Taylor Krick, allowing a double steal. Kevin Muno then drove in Davis and Hansen to give the Toreros a 5-0 lead over LBSU going into the bottom of the third.


“He deserved [the start] today but we’ll have to see where we’re going to go after this,” said Dirtbags head coach Mike Weathers. “Tuesdays are really important, we’ve got to make sure we do something to give us a chance to win. I thought he was the guy who would try for it today.”


McElroy surrendered five earned runs off six hits and walked two over 3.2 innings, throwing just 76 pitches.


Tyler Topp came on for four innings, and although he did get runners on, putting himself in danger, he managed to get himself out of each situation, remaining scoreless throughout.


“I really liked what Topp did,” Weathers said. “He and McElroy were going to split this. So, it’s interesting, they’re kind of in competition with each other.”


Danny Espinosa was once again the hero for the Dirtbags, going 2 for 3 with two doubles, two runs and a walk. Devin Lohman, Shane Peterson and Taylor Krick each drove in a run.