Murphy's Walk-Off Homer Gives Baseball 8-6 Win Over LBSU
Stockton, Calif. - Taylor Murphy's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth capped a wild finish to Pacific's 8-6 win over Long Beach State Sunday at Klein Family Field.
The Tigers' led from the second inning on, until a three-run top of the ninth by Long Beach stunned Pacific. Down 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth, senior 2B Tyger Pederson and junior C/RHP Jason Taasaas posted back-to-back doubles, and Murphy followed by crushing a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right for a game-winning home run.
Pacific won a series against Long Beach State for the first time since 1998, improving to 9-17 overall (2-4 in the Big West). Long Beach State falls to 12-18 overall, 3-3 in BWC play.
Sophomore CF Tyler Sullivan finished four-for-five with a triple, a double an RBI and three runs scored. Pederson finished three-for-four with an RBI and a run scored while sophomore 1B Erik Lockwood added three hits and an RBI in five trips.
The Tigers seemed in command of the game, leading 4-2 after the second and tacking on an insurance run in the sixth. But Long Beach State picked up a run in the eighth by finally getting to RHP Mike Hager, who tossed three hitless innings in Friday's win for a save, and added three shutout innings in relief of starter LHP Kyle Crawford Sunday. An RBI single by C Eric Hutting chased Hager, who was in line for the win. RHP Bryce Lombardi entered and threw four pitches, picking up an out as Taasaas picked off a runnner, but issuing a walk. Taasaas then came in to pitch without the benefit of warming up in the bullpen and escaped further damage.
In the ninth, Taasaas opened the frame with a strikeout, but 1B Jeff Yamaguchi's drive to deep center caromed off the inset of the fence and ricocheted toward right field, as Yamaguchi came all the way around for an inside the park home run to cut the Tigers' lead to 5-4.
After an infield error and a seeing-eye single, RF Richarg Prigatano singled through the left side to tie the game. Taasaas coaxed an infield pop-up, but Eric Hutting - who had pulled a pair of doubles down the third base line earlier in the game, leading to the Tigers to shift their alignment a few steps toward the bag - hit a chopper over third base to put Long Beach ahead 6-5. Taasaas regrouped and struck out CF Colby Brenner to end the ninth.
Long Beach State RHP Jon Maciel retired the first two batters, and Pederson faced an 0-2 count when he fisted a double the other way down with a ball that dropped near the left field line.
Taasaas ripped a double to right center just past the dive of Prigatano to tie the game at 6-6. On a 3-2 pitch, Murphy hammered his second home run of the year over the wall in right for the 8-6 victory.
Pacific had built their 4-2 lead with two in the first and two in the second off LBSU starter David Hill.
Tyler Sullivan opened the first with a single to left, and senior SS Dustin Torchio followed with a single to center. Lockwood slashed a single through the right side for one run an Pederson singled into the hole at shortstop to tie the game at 2-2.
In the second, J.J. Wagner singled to short, and Sullivan tripled to the gap in right center for a 3-2 lead. Torchio hit a deep fly ball just short of the track in center field for a 4-2 Pacific lead.
In the sixth, Sullivan doubled to right center, and Torchio posted a single up the middle to make it 5-3.
Taasaas earned the win, allowing one earned run in 1.1 innings of work. He also picked two men off base while catching and threw out a runner trying to steal.
Pacific pounded out a season-high 17 hits, and posted the Tigers' second walk-off win of the season. The Tigers walked-off with a win over No. 2 Arkansas on March 3 on Lockwood's RBI single.
The Tigers win the final Big West series with Long Beach State, as Pacific will join the West Coast Conference next season.
DH Gio Brusa went two-for-three and wrapped the series 8-for-11.
Pacific will play host to Santa Clara on Tuesday at 6 p.m.