May 9, 2006
Long Beach, Calif. - Late-game substitutions led LMU in its comeback bid Tuesday night, but Long Beach State held on to the lead it earned after a four-run first inning. The 49ers (26-20-1) topped the Lions 5-3 in the first of four road games this week for LMU (22-27).
Senior Brandon DiTolla doubled in his only at bat of the night to make it 5-3 in the top of the eighth. DiTolla had taken over at first base for A.J. LaMonda in the seventh, and got his second hit - and second double - of the season. The shot to right center plated Brian Wilson, who had singled to start the eighth for the Lions. After DiTolla's double, the Lions had runners on second and third with one out, but couldn't push that tying run across.
Defensively, DiTolla and reliever Roberto Torres helped the Lions with a big pickoff in the top of the seventh. The 49ers put up two straight hits to start the inning, but DiTolla and Torres were able to remove Danny Espinosa from the basepaths for the first out. That proved key in holding Long Beach State to a lone run in the seventh.
Justin Bunkis played first base for the Lions in the bottom of the eighth and helped designated hitter-turn-pitcher Wilson retire the 49ers in order when he hung onto a throw after a bunt that looked like it may be an infield single for Long Beach State.
Despite the contributions off the bench for the Lions, the four-run first proved to be enough for Long Beach State.
But Long Beach State answered with four runs of its own in the bottom of the frame, taking the early 4-1 lead on four hits including Brandon Godfrey's two-run triple.
On the predetermined staff day for the Lions, pitchers Daniel Macias and Brad Meyers shut the 49ers down in the third and fourth, retiring the sides in order. After sitting down the four batters he faced tonight, Macias has now allowed just two hits over his last 10 2/3 innings pitched.
LMU cut the lead to two in the top of the fourth when Casey Gordon's single brought in LaMonda, who had walked earlier in the inning.
That 4-2 score held until the bottom of the seventh, where Long Beach State added a single run after Robert Perry leadoff the inning with a triple.
Long Beach State reliever Vance Worley (3-7) earned the win after working 5 2/3.
The Lions will now head to Northern California for the crucial three-game West Coast Conference set at San Francisco. Fans can catch all of the action, beginning Friday at 3:00 p.m., on Lions' All-Access at www.LMULions.com.