Tigers Never Trail In 5-3 Win At Long Beach State

Long Beach, Calif. - Pacific posted three runs in the ninth to knock off Long Beach 5-3 Saturday night behind a four-for-four night from senior SS/CF Josh Simms. Sophomore C Riley Drongesen drove in two go-ahead runs in the game, as Pacific damaged the Big West title hopes of the 49ers.

RHP Michael Hager tossed eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, keeping LBSU at bay to improve to 5-5 on the year.

The game was tied 2-2 for four innings before Pacific tallied three in the ninth. Simms opened with a single to left, and redshirt freshman 1B Erik Lockwood laid down a sacrifice bunt to first base. The throw went to second, where it bounced off the glove of the shortstop, allowing Simms to take third. Drongesen followed with a chopper towards first, and Simms slid into the plate ahead of the throw for a 3-2 Pacific lead on the fielder's choice.

After a sacrifice bunt, the 49ers walked senior RF Allen Riley intentionally to load the bases, and freshman DH Taylor Murphy drove a fly ball to right deep enough to plate Lockwood. Junior 2B Tyger Pederson followed by lacing a single through the left side for a 5-2 Pacific lead before Long Beach got out of the inning.

The three-run frame came off RHP Jon Maciel (1-3), who took the loss allowing three runs, all unearned, in the final two innings.

The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two innings against starter LH Ryan Strufing. Simms doubled with one out in the first inning, and came in to score on an RBI single by Drongesen.

In the second, senior DH Daniel Johnston tripled to right and trotted home on freshman 2B Robby Mansfield's RBI groundout for a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth, Long Beach State answered with a pair of runs as CF Brennan Metzger singled to open the inning and Hager hit RF Josh Gueera. After Hager pounced off the mound to field a sacrifice bunt, Allen Riley kept the  runners at second and third with a strong throw home off a fly-out to right. But with two outs, C Kellen Hoime dribbled a two-run single up the middle into center to tie the game.

Strufing allowed a pair of earned runs in his seven innings of work, striking out seven while walking two.

Senior RHP John Prato Matthews took over in the ninth, and allowed a double by PH Brennan Fulkerson, who scored on a groundout to cut the gap to 5-3. But Prato Matthews got a fly out to left from SS Matt Duffy to end the inning and record his fourth save.

Pacific improves to 13-39 overall, 3-17 in the Big West. Long Beach State falls to 26-25 on the season, 13-7 in the Big West. They entered the game two games back of Fullerton and will close the season with a three-game series against the Titans. Pacific and Long Beach State will meet on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the rubber game of the three-game set.