May 26, 2001
STANFORD, CA - Marist (33-20-1) jumped out to an early 7-0 lead to edge out Long Beach State (35-23), 7-6.
The Red Foxes chalked up five runs in the third inning to increase their lead to seven before the 49ers battled back. Refusing to give up, Long Beach tallied three runs in the seventh and two in the ninth before falling to the Red Foxes. Long Beach is eliminated, while Marist will play the winner of the Texas-Stanford game at 7 p.m. in Game 5 of the Stanford Regional.
The fourth-seeded Red Foxes came one run from knocking off Stanford in Game 1 yesterday and eliminated the second-seeded team today. Winning pitcher Tim Bittner commented about coming in as the lowest seeded team in the bracket, "I don't feel like the underdog, we came in last night and even though we came out with a loss, we played tough. We came out today a little hungry, we played tough against a good team."
Long Beach State's Bobby Crosby went 4-for-4 in the game with two runs and one RBI. The 49ers had six runs on 12 hits, but left 11 runners on base. Marist's seven runs on seven hits were aided by outfielders Anthony Bocchino and Jimmy Board, who both went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Bittner (8-3) grabbed the win for the Red Foxes in his first postseason start. Bittner logged 6.1 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits. His nine strikeouts on the day set a new school record for a single postseason outing. Kevin Ool snagged his second save of the year with 2.2 innings. Ool allowed two runs on three hits before closing out the game. Starting pitcher Al Thielemann pitched for 1.0 inning and gave up one run on one hit to take the loss. Nate Beucler later shut down the Marist offense, going 5.0 innings and allowing no runs and no hits and only one walk with five strikeouts.
Marist opened up the game with an RBI fielder's choice in the first and second innings. Marist then tallied five runs in the third while Long Beach committed two errors. Demaria also balked in a run before recording the third out to end to end the inning. A Todd Jennings double then put the 49ers on the board as Bryan Kennedy scored. Long Beach continued to struggle offensively until the seventh when two hit batsmen and two hits earned the 49ers' three runs. With the game on the line, Long Beach junior SS Bobby Crosby started things out with a homerun. Jeff Jones then tripled to right center. Kennedy grounded out to second, but Jones scored to put the 49ers within one. Ool walked one runner, but the tying run was left on base when Ool got Chris Wright to fly out for the third out.
Jones' RBI places him third in the school's all-time record book with 133 in his career. Fellow senior Kennedy concludes his collegiate career as the Long Beach State RBI, doubles and HBP leader (183, 60, 56). The seven runs scored by Marist sets a new team-high for postseason action, the previous high of three set against Stanford in Game 1 yesterday.