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COLLEGE ROUNDUP

Long Beach State Averts a Sweep

April 22, 2002|ERIC STEPHENS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Long Beach State may have taken a hit on a national scale with losses to slumping Miami in the first two games of a weekend nonconference baseball series. But the 49ers hit back on Sunday.

Right fielder Nick Covarrubias had three of the 49ers' 16 hits and drove in four runs in a 10-1 victory that enabled Long Beach (25-12) to avoid a three-game sweep at Coral Gables, Fla. Nate Beucler (2-1) gave up four hits in six innings and Chris Demaria got his second save with three shutout innings in relief.

"Nate has been doing well ever since he got back from injury," Long Beach Coach Mike Weathers said. "He beat a team today that is fighting for its [postseason] life."

Defending national champion Miami (20-19) has struggled. The Hurricanes responded with a 9-6 victory on Kevin Howard's walk-off three-run homer in the ninth Friday, then battered three 49er pitchers in a 10-6 victory Saturday.

With Long Beach playing out of conference, No. 15 Cal State Fullerton (27-12, 10-2) jumped into first place in the Big West with a three-game sweep at UC Santa Barbara. Cal State Northridge (29-13, 9-3) is one game back after sweeping Sacramento State.

In the Pacific 10 Conference, USC (24-16, 9-4) pulled into first place by scoring 43 runs and winning three games at Washington State. UCLA (18-24, 4-5) won two of three at Oregon State.

Pepperdine (22-21, 11-5) maintained a one-game lead over Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference Coast Division by sweeping a three-game series against visiting San Francisco. Gonzaga swept three games from visiting Loyola Marymount (16-25, 9-8).

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Top-seeded Pepperdine (26-4) earned the right to play host to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's volleyball semifinals and championship match this week by defeating Cal State Northridge, 30-18, 30-25, 31-29, in a first-round match Saturday night.

The Waves will play Thursday against Brigham Young and UC Santa Barbara (18-10) will play Hawaii in the other semifinal after upsetting UCLA.

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