BY: CHRIS MAHER
The Long Beach State Dirtbags rallied with two runs in the bottom of the 8th to defeat conference rival UC Irvine and move into a tie for 2nd place with them.
With two outs in the bottom of the 8th, Richard Prigatano continued his clutch hitting with a single up the middle off of UCI closer Sam Moore to tie the game up at 2. Michael Hill was hit on the very next pitch, but it was pinch hitter Daniel Jackson who walked in the go-ahead run to give the Dirtbags (30-24, 15-7) the lead.
Both Long Beach starter Andrew Rohrbach and UC Irvine starter Andrew Morales turned in excellent performances on the mound going 7 1/3 and 7 2/3 respectively, but neither factored in the decision. Ty Provencher came out of the Long Beach State bullpen keeping the game intact and preserving the win while picking up his fourth win in relief.
The Anteaters (35-20, 15-7) trailed most of the game until the top of the 8th when Taylor Sparks singled home Chris Rabago while ending Rohrbach's night on the mound. Jonathan Munoz then scored Connor Spencer on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1 Anteaters.
Michael Hill doubled in the bottom of the 2nd and scored on an RBI groundout by Johnny Bekakis to give Long Beach State an early 1-0 lead, a lead that held for nearly six innings.
As he has done for much of this season, Rohrbach helped keep his team in the ballgame by getting out of several jams, but none may have been more important than the 5th inning which ended a serious UC Irvine scoring threat. He stranded the bases loaded with a strikeout and then induced a line drive that found the glove of shortstop Garrett Hampson.
Both teams will continue this pivotal Black and Blue series matchup tomorrow evening with the first pitch set for 6pm at Blair Field.