Apr 27, 2013 10:19 PM by Andrew Masuda
Juan Avila's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning lifted Long Beach State to a 3-2 victory over Cal Poly in a Big West Conference baseball game Saturday afternoon at Blair Field. The three-game series is even at a game apiece with the finale set for Sunday afternoon.
Ranked 18th in the nation, Cal Poly fell to 28-12 overall and 8-6 in Big West games. Long Beach State improved to 19-21 and 8-6, tied for fourth place with the Mustangs.
Colby Brenner opened the eighth with a single, advanced to third on two grounders and came home on the fly ball to center field by Avila.
Long Beach State scored twice in the second inning and Cal Poly answered with a pair in the seventh. But the Dirtbacks scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth after Colby Brenner led off with a single, advanced to third on two grounders and came home on a fly ball to center by Avila.
In the Mustang seventh, freshman designated hitter Brian Mundell reached base on an error and senior catcher Elliot Stewart doubled to the wall in center field, scoring Mundell. One batter later, pinch-hitter John Schuknecht singled to center field, scoring Stewart and tying the game at 2-2. Cal Poly has just six pinch hits all season and Schuknecht was 0-for-7 as a pinch-hitter prior to his game-tying single in the seventh.
The game ended with Mustang pinch-runner Tyler Evanoff caught trying to steal second base.
Dirtbag starter Jake Stassi pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
The loss went to Mustang sophomore southpaw Matt Imhof (4-3) as he gave up three runs and six hits in seven-plus innings. He struck out four, did not allow a walk and at one time retired 14 Dirtbags in a row from the third through seventh innings before Brenner's leadoff single in the eighth.
Nipomo High graduate Jeff McNeil went 0 for 4 as the Dirtbags' leadoff hitter.
Final game of the series will be played Sunday at 1 o'clock with Cal Poly sophomore right-hander Bryan Granger (5-3, 5.05 ERA to face Long Beach State freshman right-hander David Hill (3-2, 4.37 ERA).
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