LONG BEACH, Calif. — Long Beach State head coach Troy Buckley planned to pitch by committee on Tuesday, but had no idea he would need to go to his first reliever 11 pitches into the game or that he wouldn’t make another mound visit all night.
Senior reliever Nick Rossetta entered the game and completely shut down a high-powered San Diego offense for nine innings to lead Long Beach to a 6-1 victory at Blair Field.
Starter Cameron Pongs walked the first two batters and fell behind 2-0 on Andrew Daniel, drawing himself the quick yank. Daniel ended up blooping in a single against Rossetta, loading the bases with no outs, but Rossetta managed to escape the jam, allowing only one run on a fielder’s choice.
San Diego head coach Rich Hill talks about the missed opportunity in the first inning and tipping his cap to Rossetta for his performance. Hill also discusses the potential of being in the WCC Tournament, saying he believes it will somehow work its way out.
The Dirtbags built off of Rossetta’s first inning damage limitation and produced a run in the bottom half when Garrett Hampson swiped third base and scored when the throw sailed into left field.
But Long Beach State (27-23) was not done there. In the second inning, the Dirtbags put up a five-spot chasing starter Ryan Olson after back-to-back singles and an RBI groundout put LBSU ahead 2-1. Max MacNabb didn’t fare much better, allowing an inherited run and three runs of his own on two hits and two walks. He recorded only one out.
Long Beach State head coach Troy Buckley talks about how the momentum from Rossetta minimizing San Diego’s first inning opportunity helped propel the team to the big inning. Buckley also discusses Nick Rossetta’s outstanding night and the value of Colby Brenner at the top of the lineup:
From there it was all Nick Rossetta. Despite facing one of the top West Coast offenses, Rossetta cruised. He allowed only one runner past first base after the first inning and allowed only two hits after the third inning. San Diego (34-20) finished with just five for the game.
After the game, Rossetta talked about his performance and said he’d buy the rest of the pitching staff candy for taking all innings on a scheduled “staff” day:
Colby Brenner finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run and an RBI. Ino Patron, Johnny Bekakis and Eric Hutting all recorded multiple hits for the Dirtbags as well. Andrew Daniel had the only multi-hit game for San Diego.
With finals ahead, San Diego has the final West Coast Conference weekend off, which means the Toreros must play the waiting game to see if they will make the WCC Tournament next week in Stockton, Calif.
San Diego finished 16-11 in conference, but there are currently six teams vying for four spots in the conference tournament. The only team that has clinched a spot is Pepperdine, who leads the conference with a 17-7 mark. With three important series determining who will be in and who will be out, the Toreros will be glued to a computer following the action all weekend.
The Dirtbags still have two big weekends remaining with a trip to UC Riverside — another team fighting for a potential at-large berth — this weekend and a battle with conference leader UC Irvine to finish the regular season.
Here are CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling’s top photos from the game: