May 25, 2008


Long Beach State tops Cal State Fullerton 8-6

Sunday's game to decide Big West championship


By Abbey Mastracco


LONG BEACH, Calif. — A two-out, two-RBI single by Long Beach State’s Jonathan Jones in the bottom of the eighth Saturday was the decisive moment in Game 2 of the Dirtbags series with No. 7 Cal State Fullerton.


The Dirtbags trailed by one with two outs and the bases loaded with T. J. Mittelstaedt at the plate. Mittelstaedt pushed the count full before sitting on a close outside breaking ball to walk in Brandon Godfrey to tie the game at 6-all.


With a Blair Field crowd of 2,657 on its feet, Jones dropped just behind Fullerton third baseman Joel Weeks’ head to drive in Jason Tweedy and John Hill for the game-winning runs to even the series between two of college baseball’s biggest rivals one game apiece.


“I knew I was going to come up in that situation,” Jones said. “Coach said ‘Slider, look for it up.’ And I did.”


The Titans threatened in the ninth with the bases loaded, but Jared Clark struck out and Bryan Shaw got Brian Wilson to ground out for the save, Shaw’s eighth of the season. Nick Vincent received the win, his fourth.


Jason Dovel took the loss, and is now 3-3 on the season.


“They’re a good team, that’s the way it should happen,” said Long Beach head coach Mike Weathers. “We were in the game. We did some good things. It came out on our side tonight, you can only hope to get one more.”


Jones led the game with three RBI. Jordan Casas led the Dirtbags (15-8 Big West, 36-19 overall) went 2 for 5 with a run and Brandon Godfrey went 2 for 4 with two runs. For the Titans (16-7 Big West, 37-18 overall), Clark went 3 for 5 with a run and an RBI and Weeks went 3 for 4 with two runs.


Long Beach’s Jake Thompson looked to make a nice start, retiring the side and, two via strikeout, in the first inning, but lost control soon thereafter, giving up three earned to the Titans in the second and two more in the fourth.


Thompson loaded the bases in the second giving up singles to Brian Wilson and Joel Weeks and walking Dustin Garneau. With two outs, Joe Scott ripped a hard grounder down the third base line. With a diving Brandon Godfrey unable to put a stop to it, Fullerton took a 2-1 lead, and a passed ball brought home Garneau.


The Dirtbags tied it up in the bottom of the inning taking advantage of two CSF errors, only for Thompson to give up two more in the fourth before being replaced by Brett Lorin. Lorin silenced the Titan bats effectively, retiring his first nine of 10 faced, as the Dirtbags went on to tie. A Danny Espinosa triple drove in Shane Peterson to tie in the bottom of the seventh. But the tie didn’t last, as Jared Clark hit his ninth homer of the year, a solo round-tripper, in the next inning.


“He has single-handedly been killing us all weekend,” Weathers said of Fullerton first baseman Clark.


Sunday’s game will decide the Big West Championship. A Fullerton win would give them the title outright, while a Long Beach win would give them the title as they would own the tiebreaker.