March 25, 2007
Long Beach, Calif. - Five hours, 43 minutes after the first pitch was thrown, Long Beach State's Steve Tinoco poked the game-winning single down the right field line as the No. 18 49ers upended No. 13 Cal State Fullerton 4-3 in 14 innings Saturday night at Blair Field.
The win for Long Beach snapped an eight-game losing streak to Fullerton dating back to 2005. The 49ers improve to 13-8, while Fullerton falls to 14-10 on the year.
Andrew Liebel (4-1), the fifth Long Beach pitcher, picked up the win tossing four scoreless innings and allowing just one Titan hit. Nolan Bruyninckx (0-1) suffered the loss for the Titans.
Long Beach State got at least one runner to second base over the last six frames, and got the leadoff hitter on in four of their last five opportunities with it finally paying of for Tinoco in the 14th. Bruyninckx came on in relief of Adam Jorgenson (the Titans' fourth pitcher of the night) in the 13th and retired the final two hitters of the inning.
But in the 14th, A.J. Pinocchio led off the inning with a grounder to third baseman Evan McArthur who misplayed the ball allowing the designated hitter reach safely on the error. First baseman Brandon Godfrey then successfully sacrificed Pinocchio to second with a bunt back to Bruyninckx for his second sacrifice in as many at bats. The Titans then intentionally walked Danny Espinosa to set up a force and any of the bases. Bruynincks then struck out catcher Travis Howell before facing Tinoco who became the hero with the single to right.
After tying the game in the eighth, Fullerton squandered offensive opportunities in the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th innings stranding four runners in those innings an 14 in the game.
Until the last frame, Long Beach too missed out on opportunities to end the game. The 49ers stranded eight runners from the ninth through the 13th innings including leavingthe bases loaded in the ninth as Michael Morrison struck out Howell on a 3-2 count to end the rally.
Trailing 3-1 in the eighth, Cal State Fullerton strung together its best rally of the night to tie the game off the 49er bullpen. Adam Wilk, on in relief of starter Omar Arif, walked Jake Vasquez with one out, then the 49er's second reliever, Bryan Shaw, wild-pitched him to second. A batter later Chris Jones worked the count to 3-2 before singling up the middle to bring home Vasquez with the Titans second run of the night. Shaw set down Nick Mahin for the second out of the inning, but John Curtis singled through the left side to keep the inning going. With runners at first and second, freshman Khris Davis then delivered the big blow, a liner back through the box to bring home Jones from second knotting the game at 3 runs apiece.
Arif pitched well enough to win, tossing six innings of four-hit ball for the 49ers, exiting the game with a two-run lead, but walks away with the no-decision courtesy of the Titans late-inning rally.
The Titans struck first, breaking a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth inning courtesy of a Clark Hardman RBI-single off Arif. Hardman's knock brought home Corey Jones aboard on and error by the 49er third baseman Jason Tweedy.
Titan hurler Jeff Kaplan worked five scoreless innings before running into a bump in the sixth. The Titan starter walked the leadoff hitter Robert Perry then immediately surrendered a double to the right-center gap to designated hitter Shane Peterson, scoring Perry from first to tie the game. Brandon Godfrey then moved Peterson to third with a fly ball to deep center and the Titans decided to play the percentages by walking the next hitter Danny Espinosa to set up the inning ending double play. But catcher Brian Capon had a different idea, blistering a double to the left-center gap to give Long Beach the 3-1 lead and knock the Titan starter out of the game.
The Titans' McArthur led all players on the night, with three hits in seven at bats.
The two teams will face off Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. for the rubber-game of the three game series. Fullerton will send Sean Urena to the mound in hope for its sixth series win of the year.
Notes: The two longest (inning-wise) games on record for Cal State Fullerton has been a pair of 16 inning affairs against you guessed it...Long Beach State. Fullerton's last extra-inning game came in last year's College World Series opener versus North Carolina as Fullerton played the second-longest game (time-wise) in CWS history at 4:53 in the 13-inning loss.