May 31, 2003
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Top-seeded Long Beach State broke open a pitchers' duel with a run in the seventh and four in the eighth to beat Washington, 7-2, Saturday at Blair Field and advance to Sunday's championship game.
The loss dropped the 23rd-ranked Huskies (41-17) into the loser's bracket, where they'll have to face Minnesota Saturday evening to stay alive. The UW-Minnesota winner will have to beat No. 6 Long Beach State twice on Sunday to win the double-elimination regional and advance to next weekend's Super Regional round. Minnesota scored five runs in the ninth to eliminate Pepperdine, 7-5, earlier Saturday.
Long Beach All-American starter Jered Weaver, brother of big leaguer Jeff Weaver, improved his record to 14-3 with the complete-game win. The 6-foot-6 sophomore held the UW to only five hits. Husky starter Jeff Petersen (6-6) had held the 49ers to only two runs on three hits before allowing the tie-breaking run in the seventh and the first three LBSU runs of the eighth.
The Huskies broke a scoreless tie in the third. With one down, No. 9 hitter Taylor Johnson walked before freshman Brent Lillibridge belted his 13th homer of the season over the left- field fence, staking the UW with a 2-0 lead.
Long Beach rallied quickly, however, tying the game in the fourth with a two-run, two-out rally. With two outs and none on, Adam Heether walked and Mike Hofius singled to put runners at first and second. Right fielder Brad Davis followed, stirring chalk on the third- base line for a double that sent both runners all the way around.
The 49ers scored the go-ahead run in the seventh to take a 3-2 lead. First baseman Mike Hofius walked to lead off the inning and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Davis. Left fielder Josh Buhagiar followed by bouncing a grounder up the middle. It looked as though Husky shortstop Tila Reynolds would have a play, but the ball hit the second base bag, took a high hop over Reynolds' head and dribbled into center for a single, allowing Hofius to score.
In the eighth, Long Beach put the game away with a four-run outburst. With one down, John Bowker singled and Petersen hit Troy Tulowitzki and Adam Heether with pitches to load the bases. After reliever Brian Carter came on, Hofius singled through the left side to drive in two runs. Then Davis repeated his fourth-inning double, lining another shot down the left-field line to drive in two more, stretching the lead to 7-2.
LINESCORE NCAA Long Beach Regional #1 Long Beach State 7, #3 Washington 2 Long Beach St. 000 200 140 -- 7 8 0 Washington 002 000 000 -- 2 5 0 Jeff Petersen, Brian Carter (8) and Aaron Hathaway. Jered Weaver and Todd Jennings. W - Weaver (14-3). L - Petersen (6- 6). 2B - LBSU, Brad Davis 2. HR - UW, Brent Lillibridge (13). T - 2:43. A - 2,089. Records: UW 41-16; LBSU 39-18.