Long Beach State Puts USC In A 4-2 Fog
Feb. 3, 2006
LONG BEACH --- Timely hitting and Mother Nature herself provided the 4-2 victory for the No. 22/20 Long Beach State 49ers over the No. 17/18 USC Trojans in the 2006 season opener for both teams at Blair Field. Thick fog played a key role in the Dirtbags' three-run sixth in a game that started as a pitching duel between USC's Ian Kennedy and Long Beach State's Jared Hughes.
Hughes (1-0) went six innings, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Donnie Hume pitched a perfect ninth to earn his first save of the season. Kennedy (0-1) was the hard-luck loser, allowing three 'fog-aided' runs on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
With 285 strikeouts in his career, Kennedy surpassed Bruce Gardner (1958-60) for ninth on USC's all-time list. He is now just one behind Jim Barr (1968-70) for eighth place.
Hughes got into trouble in the top half of the first after loading the bases with two walks and a single by USC second baseman Blake Sharpe. Junior left fielder Cyle Hankerd drew another Hughes walk for the first run of the game. Sharpe scored the second run after first baseman Lucas Duda grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
The 49ers put a runner at third in the first inning after Evan Longoria hit a fly ball to center, advancing Danny Espinosa from second. Kennedy then struck out Sean Boatright swinging to end the threat.
He retired nine straight 49er batters until Espinosa broke up the no-hitter in the fourth with a triple to center. With one out, Long Beach State again could not bring Espinosa home after Boatright popped up to second and Brandon Godfrey struck out swinging.
The fog aided the 49ers in the sixth as three runs came across for a 3-2 Long Beach State lead. Espinosa singled to center and advanced to third on a single by Longoria. With one away, Boatright lifted a fly ball to right. USC right fielder Roberto Lopez could not find the ball in the fog and two runs scored for the 49ers as Boatright was credited with a two-run double. Godfrey followed with another fly ball that was lost in the fog, dropping in shallow right as the 49ers took the lead.
In the top of the seventh, Hector Estrella led off with a double to center. Darin Vieira sacrificed Estrella to third and Lopez walked to put runners at the corners. Pinch hitter Daniel Perales popped up to short and Matt Cusick grounded out to second to end the Trojans' chance to get back into the game.
Tomorrow's game at 1 p.m. will be played at Dedeaux Field and is the home opener for the Trojans. The game will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com.
USC 200-000-000---2-6-0LBS 000-003-100---4-7-0
WP - Hughes (1-0) LP - Kennedy (0-1) S - Hume (1)ATT - 3,189 T - 3:03Records: USC (0-1), Long Beach State (1-0)Kennedy, Fogel (7), Dunn (7) and Bowden, Salinas (7).Hughes, Turmail (7), Liebel (8), Hume (9) and Cruz.