For a second consecutive season, the Dirtbags hosted an NCAA Regional, and for a second consecutive season, Blair Field is where their season ended.
On the brink of elimination, the No. 2-seeded Toreros prevailed, as lefty Ricardo Pecina’s stellar outing pitched San Diego to a 5-1 win over No. 1-seeded Long Beach State (38-21) Sunday afternoon.
With the win, the Toreros advanced to face Fresno State and won, 15-1. But, the Bulldogs exacted revenge in the finals, winning 5-1 to advanced to the Super Regionals.
“This is the first regional final in school history, so to beat the No. 1 seed is quite a special achievement,” said Torero head coach Rich Hill. “And what a great performance by Ricardo Pecina.”
Pecina (6-4) dominated the Dirtbags, tossing seven strong innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits, no walks and blanking eight. The win was Pecina’s third over Long Beach this season.
“I tip my hat to San Diego,” said Dirtbag head coach Mike Weathers. “They have a tough left-hander that we haven’t been able to solve all year, as he did a real good job three times against us.”
James Meador fueled San Diego’s offense by hitting 2-for-5 with two RBIs, both of which came off a single in the top of the ninth that tacked on two insurance runs for the Toreros.
“We’re hurting right now,” said Dirtbag starter Vance Worley. “We battled through a lot and held together as a team really well.”
Worley (7-4) was shaky from the start and took the loss, allowing two earned runs on 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings.
The outing was Worley’s last as a Dirtbag. The junior right-hander will forego his senior season and enter today’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
“I asked him to not come out of the game until he was out of gas and he didn’t,” Weathers said. “That was his mound and he needed to stay out there and he did it.”
LBSU was able to extend its season by one day after knocking off No. 3-seeded California, 9-2, Saturday.
The Dirtbags quickly hit up starter Craig Bennigson (4-5) for two runs before moving on to five other relievers for seven more.
Brett Lorin (5-3) pitched Long Beach into Sunday, allowing two runs and four hits, while walking two and fanning five over five innings.
“My curveball was better than it had been probably all season,” Lorin said. “Everything was just working today.”
Former Golden Bears players Jason Corder and Travis Howell led the way for LBSU. Corder went 2-for-4 with a walk and a double, three RBIs and scored once. Howell finished 3-for-5 with a double, a run and an RBI.
In the Dirtbags’ regional opener, No. 4-seeded Fresno State upset LBSU, 7-3, Friday in front of 1,958.
Bulldogs starter Justin Wilson (7-4) fanned 11 in seven innings, gave up two runs and limited the Dirtbags to just three hits.
“The name of the game was Justin Wilson,” Weathers said.