Around the Bases
Bibona pitches UC
Irvine to series win at Long Beach State
By Abbey Mastracco
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Pitching made all the difference at Blair
Field Sunday, as UC Irvine closed out a Big West Conference
series win with a 4-1 decision over Long Beach State.
The young guns took the hill Sunday, with sophomore Daniel
Bibona dueling the Dirtbags’ would-be high school senior Jake
Thompson. Thompson was roughed up early last weekend in
Riverside and was only slightly more impressive in the early
innings as he gave up two runs in the second and two more in the
“They can pitch,” said Long Beach State head coach Mike
Weathers. “They come at you and they’re very disciplined. They
throw the ball pretty much where they want.”
Thompson gave up two straight bloopers to Francis Larson and
Casey Stevenson to start the top of the second for UCI (5-4,
23-6). Runners were advanced on a sac bunt, and Dillon Bell hit
a lazy fly to center field, driving in Larson. After Josh
Tavelli was walked, Aaron Lowenstein chopped a ball up the
middle to send home Stevenson.
Long Beach (2-4, 19-14) came back in the bottom of the inning to
cut the Anteaters’ lead in half, as Jason Corder launched the
first pitch of the inning over the left field wall for his ninth
homer of the season.
The Dirtbags threatened in the fourth, poised to break open the
game with runners in scoring position. But a double play and an
easy grounder ended the threat to save Bibona’s stellar outing.
The Anteaters’ southpaw went 6.1 innings, giving up just six
hits, walking one and blanking five. Bibona’s only earned run
surrendered was Corder’s jack.
“Danny, he’s the man,” said Lowenstein, his catcher. “He’s
matured so much as a player. He just goes right after guys; he’s
not scared at all. He’ll throw any pitch in any count and today
he was hitting his spots just like he always does.”
Nick Vincent attempted to save the Dirtbags, putting down eight
of nine over 2.2 innings and fanning three, but received no run
support — something Vincent has almost gotten used to not seeing
during the Dirtbags current skid of 11 losses in 13 games.
“We’ve just given up a lot of runs in like the fifth and sixth
innings,” Vincent said. “We were pitching them really good in
the beginning, but our pitching has kind of gone back a little.
But I think if we start getting our pitching back up there we’ll
be back to the same team we were.”
The mostly defensive Lowenstein picked up his offense this
weekend, hitting safely in two games and going 2 for 3 with
three RBI Sunday. Francis Larson, Ben Orloff and Jeff Cusick
also recorded multi-hit games for the Anteaters.