No. 8 Baseball Falls To No. 13 Long Beach State 11-5

Jan. 31, 2003

LONG BEACH, Calif. ( -- The No. 13 Long Beach State 49ers used a pair of four-run innings and a solid starting pitching effort from preseason All-American Abe Alvarez to pick up a season-opening 11-5 victory over the No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devils Friday night in college baseball action at Blair Field.

The loss put an end to ASU's nine-game winning streak to start the 2003 season. The Sun Devils, who earned their highest preseason ranking since 1998, swept a six-game series at Hawaii-Hilo and a three-game set at home last weekend against San Diego State to start the year. LBSU (1-0) won its third straight season opener and picked up its first win over Arizona State since 1991.

LBSU scored 11 unanswered runs prior to the ninth inning after ASU had built a 2-0 lead after four innings. The Beach scored four runs in each the fifth and sixth frames and then tacked on three more runs in the seventh. The Sun Devils did not go out quietly, scoring three runs in their final at-bat to bring the game to the final score of 11-5.

Long Beach State starter Alvarez was strong in his 2003 debut by scattering six hits and two runs in five and two-third innings. The preseason All-American and 2002 Big West Pitcher of the Year recorded five strikeouts and walked two to pick up the win. Sophomore Neil Jamison and senior Jeff Baumback

ASU starter Mark Sopko got in trouble by allowing the leadoff batter to reach on two-strike singles in each of his three-plus innings. The redshirt sophomore battled though, not giving up a run and striking out two in his fourth start of the young season. Relief pitcher Beau Vaughan was saddled with the loss by giving up four runs on three hits in one and two-thirds innings of work.

At the plate freshman left fielder Travis Buck led the Devils with three hits. Dustin Pedroia (2x5) had a pair of singles to increase his hitting streak to 21 games and senior third baseman Dennis Wyrick also notched a multi-hit game.

ASU took the first lead of the game by scoring two runs in the top of the fourth inning. After loading the bases behind a walk to Jeff Larish and a pair of singles from Rodney Allen and Buck, senior third baseman Wyrick plated two with a double down the left field line off Alvarez. ASU threatened to put more on the board, but a pair of stellar defensive plays by the Dirtbags preserved the 2-0 Sun Devil lead. Left fielder Travis Udvarhelyi started the front end of a double play throwing out Buck trying to score on a shallow fly ball. With Wyrick in scoring position, center fielder Steve Velazco made a diving catch on a sinking line drive to end the inning and scoring threat.

The Sun Devils relinquished the lead in the fifth by giving up four runs on four Dirtbag hits. LBSU scored its first run on what looked like an inning-ending double-play, but Pedroia bobbled the ball and was able to only record one out on the play. The 49ers followed with three hits and a walk to push across three runs to take a two-run lead. Designated hitter John Bowker provided the big blow with a two-run single off reliever Robbie McClellan to break the tie.

Long Beach State and ASU will continue the three-game series tomorrow with a 1:05 p.m. start at Blair Field. Jered Liebeck (1-0, 2.45 ERA) will face preseason All-American Jared Weaver (0-0, 0.00 ERA).

Game Notes: Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a single down the right field line in the fifth inning... the two-run double by Wyrick in the top of the fourth extended ASU's NCAA consecutive games scoring streak to 443 games... continuing a new tradition that has seen players bring the lineup card to home plate before the game, Tuffy Gosewisch and Travis Buck had the honors Friday vs. LBSU... Long Beach State had the leadoff batter reach in each of the first five innings by walk or hit.

Long Beach State 11, Arizona State 5 (Jan 31, 2003 at Long Beach, Calif.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 000 200 003  -  5 12  1      (9-1)Long Beach State.... 000 044 30X  - 11 14  2      (1-0)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Sopko; Vaughan(4); McClellan(5); Bordes(6); Arguello(7); Kartler(8).Long Beach State - Alvarez; Jamison(6); Baumback(8); Anderson(9); Stout(9).Win-Alvarez(1-0)  Loss-Vaughan(1-1)  T-3:48  A-1334Sopko faced 1 batter in the 4th.Game: GAME-10

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