Arizona State 14, Long Beach State 4

Wednesday, June 3, 1998

ASU blasted its way into title game

The meeting of two warm-weather teams on a cold Nebraska night-- 50 degrees at game time with a 15-mph northeast wind creating a wind chill of 39-still drew 19,002 fans to 22,700-seat Rosenblatt Stadium.

Arizona State's fast start made the 49ers disappear.

ASU became the first team in that year's CWS to score in the top of the first inning as right fielder Mikel Moreno clubbed a two-out solo home run.

That was only the beginning for the Sun Devils, who went on to score in each of the next three innings and build an 8-0 lead.

ASU batted around in the second inning, getting a leadoff double from left fielder Dustin Delucchi and eventually scoring four runs after two were out. Shortstop Mike Collins and center fielder Rudy Arguelles had RBI singles to boost the lead to 3-0.

After a walk loaded the bases, cleanup hitter Andrew Beinbrink launched a mammoth infield popup that should have ended the inning.

But as the ball began to fall, a group of hesitant Long Beach infielders gave way to shortstop Justin Hall, who ran behind the pitcher's mound to the second-base side. He dropped the ball trying a basket catch, and two runners scored to put Arizona State ahead 5-0.

Arizona State chased Long Beach starter Jeff Leuenberger while scoring two more runs in the third for a 7-0 lead. Bloomquist had the first of his run-scoring hits in that inning.

Long Beach, after going down in order the first two innings, mounted a threat in the third. Second baseman Scott Redfox and Hall led off with back- to-back singles. After an out, center fielder Terrmel Sledge singled to load the bases.

But with right fielder Chuck Lopez up, ASU's Leon gloved his ground smash back to the mound and turned it into a double play to end the inning.

In the fourth, Beinbrink's lead-off homer gave the Sun Devils an 8-0 lead. Long Beach broke Leon's shutout in the bottom of the fourth with catcher Bryan Kennedy's two-out solo homer.

With ASU up 9-1 in the sixth, Long Beach strung together four straight singles with one out to close to 9-3. But Leon got designated hitter Mike Hota to ground out and then fanned Redfox to kill the threat.

Bloomquist's solo homer in the seventh boosted Arizona State's lead to 10-3. Long Beach State loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of that inning off relief ace Aaron Kramer, but cleanup hitter Jason Yount lined out.

"Long Beach never got things going their way," Murphy said. "Richy had a big double play. And they lined out when they had a threat."

More games played in 1998 CWS

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