Long Beach State def. UC Irvine
PROVO, Utah — The No. 2-seeded Anteaters erased a 14-10 fifth-game deficit, but eventually fell to the No. 3-seeded 49ers, 25-22, 22-25, 20-25, 25-15, 22-20, in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament at BYU on Thursday.
The loss drops the No. 3-ranked Anteaters to 23-7 and puts the defending NCAA champions in peril of missing a berth to the four-team NCAA Championship next week at UCLA.
UCI will need to earn an at-large berth into the NCAA Championship, which would require top-seeded BYU to win the MPSF Tournament and the conference's automatic berth. Should BYU get upset, it would almost certainly edge UCI for the at-large berth.
Freshman Kyle Russell led UCI with 17 kills and 14 digs, while sophomore opposite Zack La Cavera added 14 kills and five digs.
UCI senior All-American Kevin Tillie had just six kills.
Junior Middle Blocker Collin Mehring had 11 kills and seven blocks, while senior setter Chris Austin had 56 assists.
It was Long Beach State's first win in four matches this season against UCI. The 49ers, who hit .289, 75 points better than UCI, improve to 24-7.
UCI fought off nine match points in the final set, before succumbing.
Orange Coast 6, Irvine Valley 2
IRVINE — Cody Bruder went three for four with one run batted in, Zach Nehrir drove in two and Ricky Navarro had the game-winning RBI to help the visiting Pirates finish their regular season with the Orange Empire Conference game Thursday.
OCC (22-14, 9-11 in conference), ranked No. 9 in Southern California and the defending OEC champion, finishes fifth in conference and must hope for an at-large berth into the Southern California playoffs.
Danny Jimenez, and Manny Argomaniz also had one hit and one RBI for the winners, for whom Kyle Dowdy allowed two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings to collect the pitching win.
IVC finishes 11-24, 6-15.
NAIA qualifying tournament