Around the Bases
No. 6 UC Irvine Offense
Earns Win at No. 19 LBSU
By Abbey Mastracco
LONG BEACH, Calif. — In a game that was
characterized by a series of what could best be described as
retaliatory plays with no clear winner emerging, it was No. 6 UC
Irvine that eventually won late in the game, and won big, over
No. 19 Long Beach State.
A packed Blair Field crowd of 2,181 fueled the
intensity with every pitch, as bitter Big West Conference rivals
Long Beach State (1-3, 18-13) and UC Irvine (4-3, 22-5) engaged
in a more than a four hour-long battle royale until Tony Asaro
eliminated the Dirtbags’ chances with a pinch-hit, two-run homer
in the ninth, allowing the Anteaters to overtake the Dirtbags
Irvine’s Casey Stevenson led the game going 3 for
5 with two runs, including a solo homer. Aaron Lowenstein
finished 3 for 4, scoring twice and throwing out 2 for 3 on the
basepaths. For the Dirtbags, Jonathan Jones went 2 for 5 with
two runs and Danny Espinosa went 3 for 4 with two RBI.
In what was expected to be one of the most
highly-anticipated pitching match-ups on the West Coast between
Irvine’s Scott Gorgen and Long Beach’s Andrew Liebel, the
numbers were strikingly similar to begin with, as each pitcher
entered Friday night’s contest with a 1.93 ERA in seven starts.
Both had 50-plus innings pitched and 50-plus strikeouts, with
Gorgen (6-2) having 11 earned runs charged to him and Liebel
The numbers finished similar as well, with Liebel
giving up four earned on 13 hits in 6.2 innings, walking none
and striking out five. Gorgen lasted 6.1 innings, allowing three
earned on eight hits, punching out four and walking five (two
intentional). Each pitcher hit one batter as well.
The Dirtbags started off strong, putting up a run
in the second and matching the Anteaters’ nearly run-for-run for
several innings and playing solid defense.
Francis Larson helped the Anteaters to a slim 2-1
lead in the fourth by knocking a solo shot out of the park. But
the Dirtbags came back in the fifth, with Jason Corder sparking
a two-run rally to take the lead.
A leadoff single by Jones and a Shane Peterson
walk put two men aboard with Corder, the Dirtbags’ hottest and
deepest hitter, at the plate. After two intentional walks,
Gorgen dealt Corder a fastball that he sliced over the head of a
jumping Ben Orloff at shortstop to tie the game. Devin Lohman
doubled to drive in the lead.
Liebel pitched himself into trouble shortly
thereafter, giving the Anteaters a one-run lead after
surrendering five straight hits, a double and four consecutive
The Dirtbags gave way from there, as the pace of
the game slowed, the Anteater runs increased. Long Beach head
coach Mike Weathers was nearly tossed after getting in heated
argument with the entire umpire crew twice within one half
The series continues Saturday at 2 p.m. at Blair
Field with Vance Worley slated to square off on the hill for
Long Beach against Irvine’s Bryce Stowell.