Stockton, Calif. - The Pacific Tigers head to Long Beach State for a weekend Big West baseball series opening Friday at 6:30 at Blair Field. The Tigers are hitting the road following an eight-game home stand as the 2012 baseball season winds down.
Sophomore Riley Drongesen returned to the lineup Tuesday in an 8-5 loss to Santa Clara, and picked up where he left off. The catcher/second baseman had started and reached base in 21 straight games from Feb. 24 to Apr. 1. He hit .385 in that stretch (30-for-78) with eight doubles and 13 RBI. But in his first at bat against UC Irvine on April 1, he was struck on the hand and missed the next 22 games. In his return Tuesday, Drongesen rapped an RBI single to stretch his hitting streak to 11 and his reached base streak to 22 straight games.
Redshirt freshman 1B Erik Lockwood upped his Big West-leading batting average to .379 Tuesday with a two-for-three day. His third-straight multi-hit game gives him a team-leading 19 for the season. He is hitting .410 in his last 37 games and is the second-leading hitter among NCAA freshman.
Senior LF Brett Christopher also posted a pair of hits Tuesday, his fourth-straight multi-hit game. He is nine for his last 16 (.563) with a .611 on-base percentage in the last four games.
Friday's 6:30 p.m. game one opens with Pacific freshman RHP Michael Benson taking the hill. Benson has a 3.25 ERA in 80.1 innings pitched. He's struck out 41 on the year, but for his work, has a 2-8 record. In his eight losses, the Tigers have scored a total of seven runs with Benson still in the game. He's allowed 29 earned runs all season, with Pacific scoring 26 in his outings. Benson allow three earned in eight innings in a loss to UC Riverside last Friday.
He'll be opposed by LBSU junior Matt Anderson. Anderson is 4-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 78.1 innings. He has struck out 54 this season against 31 walks. He earned a no-decision his last time out against UC Davis, allowing two earned runs in five innings.
On Saturday, game two begins at 5:30 p.m. with freshman RHP Michael Hager on the mound for Pacific (12-38, 2-16 BWC). Benson is 4-5 on the year with a 5.15 ERA. In 71.2 innings, he's struck out 31 against just 11 walks (two of which were intentional). On Saturday, Hager allowed two runs in seven innings with a career-high seven strikeouts in a win over UC Riverside.
Long Beach (25-24, 12-6 BWC) turns to sophomore LHP Ryan Strufing, who is 6-3 with a 3.25 ERA. In 74.2 innings he has 39 K's against 27 walks. He took the loss Saturday against UC Davis, allowing four earned in 5.1 innings.
The 49ers have slated RHP Shawn Stuart for Sunday's 1 p.m. game three. Stuart is 6-0 with a 2.40 ERA in 78.2 innings. He tossed seven shutout innings over UC Davis on Sunday for a win. Pacific's Sunday starter is TBA.