June 2, 2007
Long Beach, Calif. - Sophomore shortstop Danny Espinosa broke a 3-3 tie with a bases loaded single that highlighted a three-run eighth inning and propelled Long Beach State to a 6-3 victory over Pepperdine in an elimination game of the Long Beach Regional Saturday afternoon at Blair Field.
The Waves concluded their 2007 campaign with a 35-22 record while the 49ers (38-19) remained alive and will play the loser of Saturday night's Illinois-Chicago-UCLA game Sunday at 2 p.m.
Saturday's game was a microcosm of Pepperdine's final 22 games as it put runners on base in each of the first eight innings and collected 11 hits but was only able to manage three runs. The Waves finished the game 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position against Long Beach State starter Andrew Liebel (9-3) who tossed a complete game.
Pepperdine got on the board first, scoring a run on a two-out single to right field by Chase d'Arnaud that scored Adrian Ortiz from second base. Ortiz reached on a wild pitch after striking out to open the frame and stole second base to get into scoring position.
The 49ers came back to take a 3-1 lead in the top half of the second inning as they sent eight batters to the plate. Long Beach State opened the inning with five straight hits against Pepperdine starter Robert Dickmann.
After Dickmann allowed an RBI double to Taylor Krick that gave the 49ers a 3-1 lead, Adam Olbrychowski came on in relief and, after hitting the first batter he faced, retired the next two batters to keep it a two-run game.
The Waves let a scoring opportunity slip away in the bottom half of the inning. Denny Duron opened the frame with a triple to left-center, but was left stranded there after Ryan Heroy fouled out, Travis Tartamella struck out and Adrian Ortiz lined out to center field.
Pepperdine made it a one-run game in the bottom of the third on a two-out RBI single to center field by Luke Salas that scored Eric Thames, who singled to right field and moved to second on an infield hit by d'Arnaud.
The Waves were unable to take advantage of another scoring opportunity in the fifth when Danny Worth and Eric Thames singled to start the inning. However, Liebel induced Donald Brown to hit into a double play and d'Arnaud lined out to second to end the threat.
Pepperdine finally tied the game in eighth on a home run to left field by Duron, who went 3-for-4 on the afternoon.
The Waves were able to stay in the game due to some outstanding relief work by Olbrychowski (5-3). The junior right hander suffered a tough loss despite pitching 6.0 innings, allowing just two hits, one run, walking one and striking out two.
After retiring the leadoff batter in the eighth, Olbrychowski allowed a single to right field by pinch-hitter Brandon Godfrey. Sophomore left-hander Jordan Durrance relieved Olbrychowski and surrendered a single through the left side by Robert Perry.
Pepperdine closer Jason Dominguez came out of the bullpen and issued a walk to Travis Howell to load the bases ahead of Espinosa's run-scoring single. The 49ers scored two more runs on a sacrifice fly to right field by TJ Mittelstaedt that scored Perry and Howell.
Right fielder Brown made a strong throw to home plate that got to home just ahead of Mittelstaedt. However, Tartamella was unable to hold onto the throw as it went to backstop allowing Howell to score.
NOTES: This year's appearance in the Long Beach Regional marked the 24th overall for Pepperdine and school-record tying fifth in a row...This year's two-and-out by the Waves snapped a streak of three consecutive years reaching the regional championship game and also marked just the fourth time in 20 regional appearances that Pepperdine lost the first two games...It previously happened in 1989, 1991 and 2003...The Waves went 9-13 over their final 22 games after posting a 26-9 mark through their first 35 games...Junior All-American Barry Enright concluded the year with a 12-5 record and 1.99 ERA while making 18 appearances and working a career-high 131.1 innings...Junior shortstop Danny Worth finished the season leading the Waves with a .344 average and topped the club with 19 doubles...Freshman Ryan Heroy led the club with seven home runs...A number of Waves will now look forward to Thursday as Major League Baseball holds its First-Year Player Draft...The draft gets underway on June 7 and the first three hours will be televised live by ESPN2 beginning at 11 a.m. (PDT)...The entire draft can also be followed live on the Internet at www.MLB.com.