June 2, 2008
Pecina pitches San Diego past
Long Beach State
By Abbey Mastracco
LONG BEACH, Calif. - On the brink of elimination,
the No. 2-seeded Toreros prevailed, as lefty Ricardo Pecina’s
stellar outing pitched San Diego to a 5-1 win over No. 1-seeded
Long Beach State, Sunday afternoon at Blair Field, to advance to
the semi-final game against Fresno State.
“This is the first regional final in school history, so to beat
the No. 1 seed is quite a special achievement,” said Torero head
coach Rich Hill. “And what a great performance by Ricardo Pecina.”
Pecina (5-4) dominated the Dirtbags, tossing seven strong
innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits, no walks and
blanking eight. This was Pecina’s third win this season over
Long Beach. A.J. Griffin sealed the deal, pitching a perfect
eighth and ninth.
“I tip my hat to San Diego,” said Dirtbag head coach Mike
Weathers. “They have a tough left-hander that we haven’t been
able to solve all year, as he did a real good job three times
James Meador came up big for San Diego, going 2 for 5 with two
RBI, both of which came off a single in the top of the ninth
that tacked on two insurance runs for the Toreros, putting the
game out of reach for the Dirtbags. Josh Romanski went 2 for 4
with a run and Kevin Hansen finished 2 for 5.
With Long Beach State keeping the game close at 2-1, the Toreros
pulled away at the last minute, plating three runs in the top of
the ninth. Logan Gelbrich and Victor Sanchez took back-to-back
singles off closer Bryan Shaw. The Dirtbags then intentionally
loaded the bases, pitching around Josh Romanksi to get to Sean
Nichol grounded out to shortstop Danny Espinosa who made a great
play throw to catcher Travis Howell to force Gelbrich out at the
plate. But Meador then ripped a single to left field, scoring
Sanchez and Romanski. Espinosa then made a costly throwing
error, missing an easy put out at first that scored another.
“James Meador’s two-out base hit - we call it a ‘two-out
golden’,” Hill said. “We work on that and that was one of the
best and the most memorable in school history.”
With a 5-1 lead, the Dirtbags barely had a chance going into the
bottom of the inning. Blair retired the side in order, keeping
the Toreros alive for one more game.
“We’re hurting right now,” said Dirtbag starter Vance Worley.
“We battled through a lot and held together as a team really
Worley (7-4) was shaky from the start, and took the loss, his
fourth, for Long Beach. Worley allowed two earned runs on 10
hits in 7.2 innings.
“Vance Worley just pitched his heart out,” Hill said.
“I asked him to not come out after three nothing,” Weathers
said. “To not come out of the game until he was out of gas and
he didn’t. That was his mound and he needed to stay out there
and he did it.”
The outing was Worley’s last as a Dirtbag, as the junior
right-hander will be drafted instead of returning for a senior
“I’m having a hard time keeping a straight face right now,”
“He’s given us three great years and I hate to lose him,”
Weathers said. “But I’m really proud of him.”
The Dirtbags finished the season 38-21. San Diego, which faces
Fresno State at 5 p.m., improved to 43-16.