Around the Bases
Around the Bases
Long Beach State
By Abbey Mastracco
LOS ANGELES — On paper, Friday’s pitching match-up looked to be
one of the most highly-anticipated matches on the West Coast.
Two Friday night aces, a righty and a lefty, neither of which
had given up more than eight earned runs in four starts; both
were efficient on the mound, will go complete games, and both,
at times, are nearly un-hittable.
But a pitchers duel is not what the crowd at Jackie Robinson
Stadium in Westwood saw. Andrew Liebel was shaky for seven
innings of work for the No. 6-ranked Long Beach State Dirtbags
(14-3), and Tim Murphy was just not himself for the No.
16-ranked UCLA Bruins (10-6) as they fell to Long Beach State
The last time these two teams met, it was back in June on the
Dirtbags’ home turf, Blair Field, in the Long Beach Regional.
Murphy took down the Dirtbags, eliminating them from further
postseason play, leaving them primed for revenge Friday night.
However this time, according to the Dirtbags’ they were ready
LBSU hammered Murphy for seven earned runs, just one shy of the
eight total he had allowed all season, on seven hits, walking
two and hitting two, as the Dirtbags delivered the southpaw his
first loss of the season.
thought we did a little better of a job adjusting than back in
June in the regional,” said LBSU head coach Mike Weathers. “I
thought we did a little better job of laying off some stuff and
we got some key hits.”
Murphy’s outing began hot — the first three Dirtbag hitters went
down looking, and the fourth swinging — as he easily retired the
first six hitters faced. But Murphy’s command gave way from
there. The Dirtbags hit up Murphy for five runs in the third
inning and two more in the sixth.
“[Murphy] was good early, he was dominating us early,” Weathers
said. “But then he couldn’t get anything over other than his
And fastballs were exactly what the Dirtbags were looking for.
“Last year in the regional he blew me away with his fastball,”
Dirtbag catcher Travis Howell said. “So this week in practice I
took some extra time to work on hitting some velocity. A couple
of us did, and I think that came back to help us.”
The Bruins led 1-0 until Howell sparked a five-run rally in the
third with a line drive to right-center. Howell was advanced on
a sacrifice bunt and Jonathan Jones singled, putting runners on
the corners with Danny Espinosa up to bat. Espinosa crushed one
to right, driving in Howell to tie the game. Murphy then beaned
Rylan Sandoval putting him aboard.
With one out, Murphy then gave up back-to-back singles to Jason
Corder and Shane Peterson, driving in three, and hit Taylor
Krick to force in a run.
However, it wasn’t just Murphy who suffered from control issues.
Liebel gave up a leadoff walk to open his outing, and issued
three free passed throughout his seven innings, doubling his
didn’t like his fastball command,” Weathers said of Liebel’s
night on the hill. “He walked a guy 0-2 and he doesn’t do that.
I didn’t think he was very sharp with his fastball, I think that
was the key for him tonight.”
The Bruins managed to cut the Dirtbags’ lead in the bottom of
the third with a solo homer by Gabe Cohen, and again in the
fifth with an unearned run, taking advantage of Robert Burk’s
second error at second base of the night. But the runs kept
pouring in, as the Dirtbags chipped in eight runs over the last
Four Bruins hit safely in Friday’s contest, with Alden
Carrithers, Gabe Cohen and Ryan Babineau each driving a run in.
Howell led the Dirtbags, going 3 for 4 with a double, scoring
twice and driving in two. Corder, Peterson and Jones each
recorded multi-hit contests, with Corder leading the pack
finishing 2 for 5 with two runs, two RBI and a walk.