Pacific Baseball: Ninth Inning Rally Nets Pacific A 2-1 Conference Opening Win Over Long Beach State
The win moved the Tigers to 17-7 overall and 1-0 in the Big West while the 49ers fell to 11-12 on the year and 0-1 in conference.
With two outs in the ninth, the Tigers rallied against the 49ers, loading the bases for sophomore Brett Christopher (Livermore, Calif.) who delivered a two-RBI single to give the Tigers the 2-1 lead. Down 0-2 in the count with two outs in the inning, senior Ben Gorang (Turlock, Calif.) kept Pacific's hopes alive as they trailed 1-0 in the top of the ninth. The senior singled up the middle to put the first runner aboard. Then senior Joe Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.) drove the first pitch he saw into right field, moving Gorang over to second base. Junior Nick Longmire (San Diego, Calif.) followed up with patience, as he let the count run full, before taking a sixth-pitch ball to walk and load the bases. Then it was all up to Christopher who extended the two-out rally with Pacific looming in a bases-loaded situation. The sophomore laced a 1-0 pitch through the right side of the field to snap the string of scoreless innings for the Tigers and give Pacific a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the ninth.
During the bottom half of the frame, junior Jake Hummel (Peoria, Ariz.) shut down the bottom of the 49er order to pick up his third save of the season, helping junior RHP Marcus Pointer (Pacific, Calif.) stay perfect on the year with his sixth win of the season.
Pointer started off strong with good command, giving up only two hits through the game's first three innings and keeping Long Beach State scoreless. The Tigers' ace only faced one hiccup inning in the bottom of the fourth, with a lead-off double to Devin Lohman. He then induced Joey Terdoslavich to ground out to third base, advancing Lohman over to third and only 90 feet from scoring. Steve Tinoco used the one out situation to plate his runner, with an RBI single into center field to bring home Lohman for an early 1-0 Dirtbag lead. But Pointer recovered gracefully, retiring the next two batters he faced.
Through the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, Pointer kept up his end of the pitchers' duel, retiring Long Beach State in order and only facing the minimum number of hitters through those three innings.
Pacific's best chances came in the top of the sixth and eighth innings, stranding a total of five baserunners in both of those frames. In the eighth, Longmire singled to shortstop with one out away in the inning. Christopher then was hit by a pitch to his left ankle, moving Longmire into scoring position at second base. One out later, senior Mike Walker (Marysville, Calif.) drew a walk to load the bases before Pacific failed to plate any of its three runners. But the payoff would come in the next inning for the Tigers, who pulled off the win and extended their winning streak to five games dating back to the upset of No. 19 Stanford on Tuesday, March 29.
Pointer tossed 123 pitches and held Long Beach State to only one earned run, and earned the win to improve to a perfect 6-0 on the year. Hummel, who only saw one batter over the minimum, garnered his team-leading third save on the season. David Brown, who came in out of the bullpen for the Dirtbags, suffered the loss to fall to 2-2 on the year in the blown save. Offensively, Pacific was led by Christopher who went 2-for-4 with the two RBI in the top of the ninth inning.
The Tigers next return to action on Friday, April 2, when they will take on Long Beach State for Game 2 of the three-game series. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. and LHP David Rowse (Pleasanton, Calif.) will take to the hill for the Tigers.