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Saturday, September 6, 2008

LB 3, OC 4; series tied 2-2

Another crazy, exhausting game.  Looks like it's back to Goodwin tomorrow to settle this thing.  Here's the recap from the Armada team site:

Okano's walk-off HR gives OC the win in 13

LB 120 000 000 000 0 - 3 8 1
OC 100 001 010 000 1 - 4 13 1

FULLERTON, Calif. -- With a 2-1 series lead and an opportunity to clinch a berth in the GBL Championship Series, the Long Beach Armada could not drive in runs when it mattered most, losing to the Orange County Flyers, 4-3, in 13 innings at Goodwin Field on Saturday. With the best-of-five series tied, 2-2, the teams will play Sunday in Fullerton for a one-game showdown for a trip to the GBL Championship Series.

Flyers outfielder Mark Okano drove a 2-1 pitch off Garrett Murdy just over the outstretched arm of center fielder Steve Moss for a walk-off solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning. As Okano and the Flyers celebrated the series-tying win, the Armada walked off the field having missed their opportunities.

The Fleet stranded 11 runners in the game and had the bases loaded with one out in both the 11th and 12th innings. Each time, Long Beach could not get a run across the plate.

Murdy pitched a near-spotless 3.2 innings, retiring 11 of the 12 batters he faced before Okano's ender. He is now 0-2 this postseason after allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts on Saturday.

Long Beach jumped out to an early 3-1 lead thanks to Dan Trumble's two-run home run in the top of the 2nd inning. It was Trumble's first hit of the playoffs and the last time Long Beach would cross the plate. The Armada put up 11 scoreless innings as Orange County pieced together runs throughout the game.

Armada starter Dusty Gober did not earn a decision in a game consistent with all Long Beach starters this postseason. Gober struck out eight Flyers and issued no walks in six innings. He was tagged for two runs on seven hits.

Orange County did not wait to get on the scoreboard. After Long Beach took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning, Jermy Acey's solo home run in the bottom of the 1st tied the game, 1-1. The Flyers failed to score again until the 6th inning when Acey scored on a Gober wild pitch.

Flyers starter Mike Natale settled down after allowing three runs in the first two innings. He pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits, striking out four and walking three. Andre Simpson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for OC, and Jason Norderum struck out three in the ninth.

After Flyers left fielder Jeff LaRue tied the game with a two-out RBI single of Wayne Foltin in the bottom of the 8th inning, Foltin and the strong-armed Julian Williams got the Armada out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the 9th. With one out and the bases loaded, Brian Rios (3-for-6) popped out to the right fielder Williams.

As Williams caught the ball, he stepped into a powerful throw to the plate. Travon Jackson tagged up on third base and bolted for home plate, but Williams' throw hit catcher Octavio Martinez perfectly, and Martinez blocked Jackson from ever touching the plate, sending the game into extra innings. It's the third time in a week that Williams has thrown out a potential game-tying or game-winning run against Orange County.

After Flyers closer Dane De La Rose struck out the side in the top of the 10th, Murdy came on to return the favor, retiring the Flyers 1-2-3. De La Rosa loaded the bases in the top of the 11th before the Flyers called on their Game 1 starter Jesse Smith. He recorded two quick outs to get OC out of a bases loaded jam. Smith (1-0) earned the win, giving up no runs and one hit with three strike outs and two walks (one intentional) in 2.2 innings pitched.

The Armada visit Goodwin Field for the final time in 2008 on Sunday. The South Division winner of the deciding Game 5 will travel to Calgary to face the Vipers on Tuesday in Game 1 of the GBL Championship Series. First pitch Sunday to determine the GBL South Division winner is 6:05pm.

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