No. 20 Cal Baseball Loses 9-2 to Long Beach State in NCAA Regional Play
May 31, 2008
LONG BEACH, CALIF. - The No. 20-ranked California baseball team saw its season to come to an end as the Golden Bears fell 9-2 to host and No. 1-seed Long Beach State Saturday at the NCAA Baseball Regional in Long Beach. The Golden Bears, who produced one of their best seasons in recent history, finished 33-21-2 (12-12, fourth in the Pac-10). The 49ers, 38-20, will next play the loser of Fresno State-University of San Diego game at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Cal was limited to four hits by Long Beach State starter Brett Lorin, who threw 5.0 innings with two runs, two walks and five strikeouts to improve his record to 5-3. The Bears got their two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning when senior second baseman Josh Satin had a one-out single to right field. Then with two outs, sophomore right fielder Blake Smith hit a two-run homer just to left of the 400 foot sign in deep centerfield to make the score 5-2.
Long Beach State had scored a run in the second inning when Cal junior left-hander Craig Bennigson (4-5, 3.0 innings, two hits, two runs, two walks, one strikeout) walked the first two hitters - Shane Peterson and Jason Corder. The two 49ers advanced a base on Danny Espinosa's sacrifice bunt. Peterson ended up scoring on a ground out RBI to second base by Kip Masuda, before Bennigson was able to strikeout Jason Tweedy to get out of the inning.
Long Beach State added a run in the third inning for a 2-0 lead. Travis Howell led-off with a single to right, advanced to second on Jordan Casas' bunt and scored on Jonathan Jones' single up the middle. The 49ers powered ahead, 5-0, with three more runs in the fourth inning on a two-run single by Jason Tweedy and an RBI single by Howell off of Bear freshman Kevin Miller.
Cal briefly got back into the game with Smith's homer, only to see Long Beach State come back with two more runs in the fifth inning on RBI singles from Corder and an RBI double by Danny Espinosa off of Cal closer Matt Gorgen. From that point the scoring slowed down as the 49ers last two runs came on Corder's two-run double in the eighth inning off of Smith for the 9-2 margin.
Similar to Friday, the Bears had the game's first chance to score. In the bottom of the first inning sophomore designated hitter Rich Gorman led-off with a walk against Lorin. Gorman advanced to second on junior left fielder Charlie Cutler's sacrifice bunt, but was then thrown out at the plate by Long Beach State left fielder Jonathan Jones when he tried to score on junior first baseman David Cooper's single to short left field.
'Again today our opponent took advantage of our small mistakes,' said Cal coach David Esquer, who led the Bears back to an NCAA regional for the first time since 2001 when he led Cal to the Baton Rouge, La, Regional. 'Six of Long Beach State's nine runs they took advantage of plays we didn't make. We didn't show the type of quality baseball that got us to this regional. I was happy with our effort, but we just didn't perform the way we were capable of.'
The 2008 Bears featured two of the Pac-10 best hitters, Satin (.379, 18 home runs, 52 RBI) and Cooper (.359, 19 home runs, 55 RBI), and one of the league's top starters, junior right-hander Tyson Ross (7-4). Cal returns a strong sophomore class, featuring Smith (.296, 12 HR, 43 RBI), center fielder Brett Jackson (.307, 4 HR, 40 RBI), catcher Dylan Tonneson (.306, 6 HR, 33 RBI) and third baseman Jeff Kobernus (.303, 3 HR, 27 RBI). Freshman right-hander Miller (6-1, 2.90 ERA, 68 strikeouts in 71.1 innings) returns as well. Cal is now 22-13 all-time in NCAA Regional play.
Long Beach State: None.
Cal: Smith, two-run homer in the fourth inning.