NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Angel Rodriguez had never experienced pitching nine innings in his career.
On Friday night, the Glendale Angelenos starter found out what it's like to accomplish the feat.
Unfortunately for Rodriguez, his effort fell just short, as he surrendered a pair of runs in the top of the ninth in Glendale's 3-2 loss against the Long Beach Legends in an independent summer collegiate game at Stengel Field.
"I wanted the ball in the ninth, and I felt stronger than any point before," said Rodriguez, who struck out five in a 120-pitch performance. "Maybe they just knew what was coming and they took advantage.
"Give them credit. For my first time going nine innings, it's a learning experience."
In the ninth, Long Beach loaded the bases on singles by Steven Garber, Daniel Catalan and Greg Ruggles with no outs. Daniel Callewaert singled to center to score Garber to tie the game at 2.
Rodriguez, a right-hander, struck out Chris Schaff for the first out. Danny Hayes then hit a high chopper to shortstop for the second out to score Catalan and give Long Beach a 3-2 lead.
Glendale Manager Tony Riviera said he had no intention of taking out Rodriguez, though the Angelenos had reliever Kyle Kay warming up in the bullpen.
"He pitched like an ace, just like he's supposed to," said Riviera, whose team finished with five hits. "He said that he wanted [the win] it and [to] finish it."
Glendale had a golden scoring opportunity in its half of the ninth. Scott Hong led off with a walk before stealing second and reaching third on a wild pitch by Long Beach reliever Taylor Johnson.
Johnson then struck out Ellis Whitman and Sako Chapjian before getting Hector Gomez on a soft pop up to second.
"Those are the guys you wanted up," Riviera said. "I felt confident that we would at least tie it up, but we just tried to do a little too much there."
Long Beach (36-16) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Trevor Magno chopped a bases-loaded single over a drawn-in infield into center field to drive in Schaff. Hayes tried to score on the play, but Glendale center fielder Edgar Montes made a perfect throw to catcher Sam Frakes to cut down Hayes.
The Angelenos (32-9) received a one-out double from Ellis Whitman in the fourth. However, Chapjian lined into a 5-4 double play to end the inning.
Glendale tied the game at 1 in the fifth. Danny Casey doubled to left with one out and scored on a double to left-center field by Edgar Montes.
The bottom of the seventh included a five-minute delay after an M-80 went off in adjacent Verdugo Park. Up until the delay, the Angelenos had Chapjian on third base with no outs following a single and a two-base error by the catcher on a pick-off attempt. With Gomez at the plate and a 1-1 count, the fireworks went off, causing a loud echo around Stengel Field and the nearby neighborhood. After the delay, Gomez struck out and Casey bounced to shortstop with the infield drawn in.
Montes then singled to center to give the Angelenos a 2-1 advantage.
Rodriguez encountered a jam in the eighth. The Legends had runners on second and third with one out, but Rodriguez got a grounder back to him for the second out and a strikeout to quell the rally.