Baseball Gets Shut Out, 2-0, in 2002 Season Opener
Feb. 8, 2002
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Abe Alvarez threw seven innings of two-hit ball Friday and the Long Beach State 49ers shut out the No. 4 USC Trojans, 2-0, in the 2002 season opener for both teams at Blair Field.
The loss snapped the Trojans' streak of six straight season-opening wins, dating back to 1995. It was also the first time that USC has been shut out in a season opener since 1978 when the Trojans lost, 3-0, at Pepperdine. USC, however, would go on to win the 1978 national championship, the 11th title for the program.
Long Beach State (1-0) got its first run in the first. Jeremy Reed led off the first for the 49ers with a walk. After stealing second base, Reed scored on a single by third baseman Edgar Varela. Nick Covarrubias scored an unearned run on a sacrifice fly to left by catcher Todd Jennings in the fourth for the 49ers to complete the scoring.
Despite picking up the loss for USC (0-1), freshman Matt Chico showed poise as the Trojans' starter. As the first freshman to start a season opener in head coach Mike Gillespie's 16-year career at USC, Chico went 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits, three walks and four strikeouts.
Chico got out of a jam in the third with runners at first and third and no outs. Nick Orlandos hit a leadoff single and advanced to third on a single by Varela. First baseman Paul McAnulty struck out looking and designated hitter Paul Macaluso popped up to second. Chico threw a pitch to Covarrubias that landed in the dirt in front of USC catcher Alberto Concepcion and caught the 49er runners on a delayed steal attempt. Concepcion was able to get Orlandos in a rundown at third as Chico applied the tag at home to end the threat.
Alvarez had a no-hitter through 4 1/3 innings until a single by USC right fielder Travis McAndrews. Junior second baseman Anthony Lunetta and freshman third baseman Joey Metropoulos were the only other Trojans to record a base hit. Josh Alliston threw two innings in relief to pick up the save for the 49ers.
The win was the first for Long Beach State head coach Mike Weathers, who replaced long time head coach Dave Snow, who retired at the conclusion of the 2001 season. Snow will have his number retired in a ceremony prior to Sunday's game.
The series will continue tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on www.usctrojans.com.
USC 000-000-100 --- 0-3-1Long Beach St. 100-100-00x --- 2-8-1
WP - Alvarez (1-0) LP - Chico (0-1) S - Alliston (1)Chico, Williams (5), Campos (6), Wentworth (7), Todd (8) and Concepcion.Alvarez, Alliston (8) and Jennings.T - 3:14 ATT - 2,110