June 1, 2003
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Freshman lefty Cesar Ramos threw seven shutout innings and catcher Todd Jennings went 3-for-4 with three runs batted in as top-seeded Long Beach State ended the Washington baseball team 's season with a 7-2 win Sunday at Blair Field in the championship round of the NCAA Long Beach Regional.
The Huskies (42-18) would have had to beat the 49ers (41-18) twice to win the regional, but fell in the first game. Long Beach State, ranked No. 6 nationally, will advance to the Super Regionals to face Stanford next weekend, most likely in Palo Alto.
Ramos, still only 18 years old, held the UW to only six hits (all singles) and didn't walk a batter to improve to 6-4 on the season. Long Beach reliever Neil Jamison, who entered the game with a runner at first and no outs in the eighth, needed only two pitches to end the inning on a flyout and a double-play.
Jamison, however, surrendered a leadoff homer to Husky catcher Aaron Hathaway to open the ninth as the Huskies avoided the shutout. A single from Chad Boudon and a run- scoring double from Nick Batkoski added the Huskies' a second run.
Husky junior Clay Johnson (6-4) suffered the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on only three hits over four and one-third innings.
The 49ers, known more for defense and pitching than hitting, took advantage of walks and errors, as five of the seven runners that came around to score initially reached on something other than a base hit.
Neither team was able to get a runner even as far as second base until the bottom of third, when Long Beach State took a 2-0 lead. Brad Davis walked to lead off the inning and Josh Buhagiar followed with a bunt down the first-base line. The bunt was fielded by Johnson, the pitcher, but his throw to first was short, allowing the runners to end up a second and third. After a groundout to third, Jennings extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a sharp single up the middle, driving home both runners.
In the fifth, LBSU first baseman Mike Hofius drilled a liner to left to open the inning. Husky left fielder Chad Boudon tried to make a diving catch, but the ball got past him and Hofius ended up at third base with a triple. After a liner from Davis was snagged on a spectacular diving catch from UW shortstop Tila Reynolds, southpaw reliever Brian Carter was called on to face left-handed hitting Buhagiar.
Carter walked both Buhagiar and Steve Velazco on 3-1 pitches before righty Scott Robertson came on to face Jennings at the top of the Long Beach order. Jennings dumped a single to shallow right field and Tim Hutting reached on an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop to send home two more.
Another soft single from John Bowker, a bloop no more than 40 feet behind second base, dropped in to send home Velazco and as UW center fielder Brent Lillibridge over-ran the ball, Jennings came home to stretch the 49ers lead to 6-0.
Washington had managed to force a second title game both previous times they'd entered the final day of a regional needing to win two. In 1994, the UW got a 14th-inning homer from Brian Loucks to beat Georgia Tech and last year, Jay Garthwaite's two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth beat Rice. However, in both of those years, the Huskies fell in that second game.
The Huskies, ranked No. 23 in the final regular season ranking, finished the year with 42 wins, the third-highest total in school history, four short of their 46 wins in both 1994 and 1997.
Lillibridge, Hathaway and third baseman John Otness each made the all-tournament team. Long Beach starter Jered Weaver, who beat Washington Saturday, and Jennings shared tournament MVP honors.
LINESCORE NCAA Long Beach Regional #1 Long Beach State 7, #3 Washington 2 Washington 000 000 002 -- 2 9 2 Long Beach St. 002 041 00x -- 7 9 0 Clay Johnson, Brian Carter (5), Scott Robertson (5), Matt Kasser (6) and Aaron Hathaway. Cesar Ramos, Neil Jamison (8) and Todd Jennings. W - Ramos (6-4). L - Johnson (6-4). 2B - UW, Nick Batkoski. 3B - LBSU, Mike Hofius. HR - UW, Hathaway (5). T - 2:50. A - 2,375. Records: UW 42-18; LBSU 41-18.