Long Beach State tops Cal State
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
“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
“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.