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COLLEGE ROUNDUP

49ers Unveil Power for Cal

February 24, 2003|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

The lingering question about Long Beach State's baseball team is whether it will hit enough to reach the NCAA tournament.

The answer might have come Sunday at Blair Field.

Todd Jennings and Sean Boatright hit the 49ers' first home runs this season and three pitchers combined on a six-hitter in a 6-1 victory over California. Long Beach (8-4) won two of three games from Cal (10-5).

After being shut out for six innings by starter Kyle Crist, Jennings greeted Aaron Swick with a home run to tie the score, 1-1. Boatright, a freshman limited to pinch-hitting duty because of a back injury, drilled a two-run homer against Travis Talbott to give the 49ers the lead.

"I knew I'd get a shot to pinch-hit today," Boatright said. "I knew if I got a pitch in the zone, I was going to be swinging."

Long Beach figures to rely on its deep pitching staff. Abe Alvarez improved to 4-0 by combining with relievers Bo Ashabraner and Carlos Muniz on a six-hitter and 11 strikeouts in a 1-0 win Friday. The 13th-ranked 49ers have won three of four series against Pacific 10 Conference teams and will play host to national power Louisiana State this weekend.

"We wanted to play the best teams because we wanted to be in championship situations before we actually play in them," Coach Mike Weathers said. "It may cost us some losses, but we want to find if our guys have what they need to play at this level. If they do, then we'll be better off at the end."

At Cal State Fullerton, the Titans (11-1) picked up their third series sweep.

Dustin Miller struck out 13 in 6 1/3 innings to defeat Nevada, 5-2, Sunday. But the series was highlighted by a 10-9 victory in 14 innings Friday night when the Titans scored eight runs in the bottom of the ninth after 10 consecutive batters reached base. Kyle Boyer singled in Shane Costa with the winning run.

Loyola Marymount won two of three games at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The Lions (5-5) won the first two, 5-4 and 11-9, to extend their winning streak to five games but lost, 3-1, Sunday. Shortstop Billy Lockin had two hits and four runs batted in Saturday.

Matt Cunningham's 10th-inning double gave surprising UC Riverside (11-2) a three-game sweep of Cal State Northridge with a 4-3 victory Sunday. Brian Emmons hit two homers and drove in five runs in an 11-8 victory Friday, and Jaymie Torres threw eight strong innings Saturday in a 5-2 win.

In a matchup between top-10 teams, ninth-ranked Baylor completed a three-game sweep of No. 8 USC with a 3-1 victory. The Trojans (5-6)have lost six in a row to the Bears over the last two seasons.

Casey Janssen got the first shutout by a UCLA pitcher in three years and the Bruins defeated Utah, 3-0, Saturday in the Aggie Baseball Classic at College Station, Texas. The Bruins (7-8) have split four games in the three-day tournament that has been shortened by rain to seven-inning contests.

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Moriah Van Norman scored a match-high three goals to lead third-ranked USC to an 8-6 victory over second-ranked UCLA in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation women's water polo match Friday.... Caleb Gervin scored a career-high 34 points and Azusa Pacific (22-4, 14-2) retained first place in the Golden State Athletic Conference with a 94-84 men's basketball victory at Concordia (24-3, 12-3) on Saturday night.

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