Long Beach State rides team effort to season-opening win at USF

SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Ogalue scored 20 points and Long Beach State used a balanced effort to win its first road season opener in more than 20 years, topping San Francisco 83-71 on Friday night at War Memorial Gym.

Gabe Levin had 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Jordan Griffin and Deishuan Booker added 12 points apiece. Junior KJ Byers filled up the box score with eight points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and two steals.

It was an old-school win on many levels, with defense and free-throw shooting paving the way.

The 49ers blocked seven shots and forced the Dons into 19 turnovers, scoring 27 points off of those giveaways. Long Beach was strong from the free-throw line all night, going 27 for 32, including a 22-for-25 effort in the second half to seal the win.

USF led through most of the first eight minutes, but Griffin kicked off a turnaround for Long Beach with a four-point play that gave the 49ers a 17-16 lead with 10:21 left in the first half. Another Griffin 3-pointer gave the 49ers a 37-34 lead at halftime.

The game remained close through much of the second half, and USF pushed in front briefly at 52-49 with 10 minutes left. The 49ers responded with a layup from Ogalue and another 3-pointer from Griffin and opened a six point lead at 58-52.

The Dons pushed back once more with six straight to tie the score at 58-58, but Bryan Alberts answered with a 3-pointer that started a 10-2 Long Beach run.

With a seven-point lead in hand, the 49ers hit 16 consecutive free throws to close out the victory.

Long Beach, which hadn’t opened a season with a road win since the 1986-87 season, plays its home opener on Tuesday night against San Francisco State at the Walter Pyramid.

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Long Beach State edges Cal State Fullerton in season finale, 1-0

  • Fullerton’s Timmy Richards pulled in a grounder and threw to first for an out. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Fullerton’s Timmy Richards pulled in a grounder and threw to first for an out. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State’s Brock Lundquist sticks out his tongue in celebration after hitting a double. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Long Beach State’s Brock Lundquist sticks out his tongue in celebration after hitting a double. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cal State Fullerton’s Hunter Cullen plays a ball off the wall. The hit yielded a double for Long Beach’s Brock Lundquist. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Cal State Fullerton’s Hunter Cullen plays a ball off the wall. The hit yielded a double for Long Beach’s Brock Lundquist. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State’s Luke Rasmussen was hit by a pitch during Saturday’s game against CSUF. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Long Beach State’s Luke Rasmussen was hit by a pitch during Saturday’s game against CSUF. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Fullerton’s Colton Eastman was the starting pitcher on Saturday. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Fullerton’s Colton Eastman was the starting pitcher on Saturday. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Dave Smith was the starting pitcher for Long Beach State. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Dave Smith was the starting pitcher for Long Beach State. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State’s Jarren Duran throws to first for an out. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Long Beach State’s Jarren Duran throws to first for an out. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State’s Laine Huffman throws to first for an out. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Long Beach State’s Laine Huffman throws to first for an out. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State first baseman Daniel Jackson throws to his pitcher to complete an out. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Long Beach State first baseman Daniel Jackson throws to his pitcher to complete an out. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State’s David Banuelos pretends to make a phone call after hitting a double. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Long Beach State’s David Banuelos pretends to make a phone call after hitting a double. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State’s David Banuelos celebrates as he scores the winning run. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Long Beach State’s David Banuelos celebrates as he scores the winning run. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cal State Long Beach’s Jarren Duran celebrates victory over CSUF with a teammate. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Cal State Long Beach’s Jarren Duran celebrates victory over CSUF with a teammate. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State’s Laine Huffman celebrates with his teamates after their victory over CSUF. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Long Beach State’s Laine Huffman celebrates with his teamates after their victory over CSUF. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State’s Laine Huffman celebrates with his teamates after their victory over CSUF. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Long Beach State’s Laine Huffman celebrates with his teamates after their victory over CSUF. Long Beach State was playing Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton, CA on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State relief pitcher Chris Rivera celebrates with teammates after closing out a 1-0 victory over rival Cal State Fulllerton in both teams’ regular-season finale on Saturday night at Fullerton’s Goodwin Field. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Long Beach State relief pitcher Chris Rivera celebrates with teammates after closing out a 1-0 victory over rival Cal State Fulllerton in both teams’ regular-season finale on Saturday night at Fullerton’s Goodwin Field. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

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FULLERTON – Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton closed the regular season with another pitchers’ duel on Saturday night, with the visitors scoring the game’s only run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning in front of 2,594 at Goodwin Field.

Long Beach, which clinched the Big West Conference title last weekend, took two of three in the season-ending series and finished the season 5-1 against the rival Titans, having swept their annual nonconference series earlier at Blair Field.

Both teams now wait to learn their fate for the 64-team NCAA playoffs, with pairings announced on Monday at 9 a.m. on (ESPNU). Seventh-ranked Long Beach (37-17-1, 20-4 Big West) appears likely to host one of the 16 four-team regionals, while No. 14 Fullerton (34-21, 15-9) is expected to receive an at-large berth. The regional hosts will be announced before the rest of the field on Sunday at 6 p.m.

David Banuelos started the eighth-inning really when he pulled a sharp grounder over the third base bag for a leadoff double. Banuelos took third on a sacrifice bunt by Brooks Stotler, then Laine Huffman and Jarren Duran were hit by pitches to load the bases. That set the table for senior Daniel Jackson, who sent a deep fly ball to center field for a sacrifice fly, easily scoring Banuelos.

Long Beach, which won 10 consecutive three-game series to end the season, won 20 conference games for the first time since 1998. With the loss, Fullerton finished third behind Cal Poly SLO (28-28, 16-8).

Long Beach starter Dave Smith went 6-1/3 scoreless innings to lower his Big West-leading ERA to 1.55. The senior righty allowed four singles and two walks with four strikeouts. Four relievers pitched the final 2-2/3 for Long Beach.

Eli Villalobos took over for Smith with one out and two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, promptly recording a strikeout before issuing a walk to load the bases. Freshman Zak Baayoun then entered the game and struck out pinch-hitter Niko Pacheco.

Josh Advocate allowed a leadoff single in a scoreless eighth inning, and sophomore Chris Rivera worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 11th save.

In just his third game back after an injury sidelined him for most of the season, starting pitcher Colton Eastman dominated early for Fullerton. He held Long Beach to one hit and and struck out eight in 4-2/3 innings. Eastman has appeared in six games and has allowed just 11 hits and four runs while striking out 24 batters with a 1.86 ERA for the season.

Sophomore Gavin Velasquez (4-3) relieved Eastman. He allowed three hits and one run in 2-2/3 innings with two strikeouts.

Fullerton’s Hunter Cullen (2 for 4) was the only player for either team with multiple hits.

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