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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Junior left-hander Ricardo Pecina recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts and sophomore closer AJ Griffin ties the all-time career-saves record to help propel the ninth-ranked University of San Diego baseball team to a program-record 13th consecutive win over No. 25 Long Beach State, 4-2, Tuesday afternoon in a non-conference game at USD’s Cunningham Stadium.
With the win, the Toreros improve to 32-11 overall, complete a sweep over LBSU and set the new program record with its 13th consecutive win. With the loss, the 49ers fall to 23-15 overall and saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.
Pecina (4-2) tossed one of the best games of his career, as he scattered four hits, struck out a career-high 11 batters and allowed one run to cross the plate in 7.2 innings of work. In Pecina’s last four outings, he has now rung up 34 batters and only issued three walks to lower his ERA to 3.53. All-American Griffin also looked impressive as he allowed one run on three hits, while striking out two in 1.1 innings of work to pick up his ninth save of the season and 20th for his career, tying the all-time record at USD held by Tony Perez (2000-03).
San Diego got on the scoreboards first as they scored one run on two hits in the third inning. With two outs, Jose Valerio got things started for the Toreros as he hit a stand-up double down the left field line. After a Kevin Muno walk, Sean Nicol drove in Valerio with a RBI single to right field to give USD a 1-0 lead.
The Toreros then tagged on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on one hit. Josh Romanski led off the frame with a walk and moved to second on a fielding error by the LBSU shortstop, which allowed Logan Gelbrich to safely reach first. Victor Sanchez drove in Romanski with a single to left field for the first run of the inning and the final run came on a Kevin Hansen sacrifice fly to left field to give USD a 3-0 lead.
For the third consecutive inning, the Toreros scored a run as USD extended its lead to four with one run on two hits in the bottom of the fifth inning. Valerio led off the inning with a single to right field and he moved to second on a Muno sacrifice bunt. James Meador then drove in Valerio with a RBI single to left field to give USD a 4-0 lead.
The Dirtbags then spoiled the shutout in the top of the eighth inning, scoring one run on Steve Tinoco RBI single. LBSU then scored one run in the top of the ninth inning on a Shane Peterson solo home run to put the game at its final of 4-2.
Offensively for the Toreros, Valerio led the way as he went 2-for-3 with one double and two runs scored.