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Long Beach Bounces Back With 9-4 Win Over Arizona

June 13, 2004|Paul McLeod | Times Staff Writer

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Chuck Sindlinger. But in Saturday's NCAA baseball super-regional at Blair Field in Long Beach, he turned in the play of the day that helped keep Long Beach State's College World Series hopes alive.

The sophomore second baseman made a diving catch of a pop-up off the bat of designated hitter Nick Hundley with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning, then came up throwing to prevent a run from scoring. The play helped the 49ers even the best-of-three series with a 9-4 victory over Arizona.

The teams play at 3 p.m. today to decide who goes on to the College World Series, which begins Friday. Arizona scored four runs in the ninth inning to take Friday night's opener, 6-5.

It looked like a similar situation in the seventh inning Saturday. With Long Beach leading 8-4, starting pitcher Cesar Ramos (12-4) hit Arizona's Jordan Brown with a pitch. Then, after striking out Moises Duran, Jason Donald got aboard on an error.

Brian Anderson came in and walked Richard Mercado, loading the bases. Then Hundley lifted a fly ball over first baseman Mike Hofius, who had no chance to get to it as it drifted toward foul territory. But Sindlinger got a good jump on the ball.

"I saw the ball off the bat and I didn't think I was going to have to dive at first," Sindlinger said.

The catch, just inside fair territory, seemed to take the life out of Arizona. Anderson struck out pinch hitter Bill Rhinehart to end the inning and went on to set down six of the final seven batters. "Their second baseman made the play of the night," Arizona Coach Andy Lopez said. "It really turned the game around."

Sindlinger, the regular second baseman, was benched at the start of Saturday's game after going one for nine with four strikeouts and committing two errors in four playoff games. But he entered the game in the sixth inning and was one for three.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki provided Saturday's power in Long Beach's 13-hit attack. He was three for five, including a two-run home run that was part of a four-run seventh inning.

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