Long Beach State Drops Rubber Match at Oklahoma
The Dirtbags took a 2-0 lead on a Luke Rasmussen double, but surrendered four unanswered runs in a 4-2 loss.
NORMAN, Okla. - A two-run double from Luke Rasmussen put Long Beach State in front in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game in Oklahoma, but the Sooners rallied for a 4-2 win to take the opening series of the 2017 season.
The Dirtbags went down in order through the first three innings before getting a breakthrough in the fourth. Daniel Jackson worked a walk, then Jarren Duran laid down a bunt that turned into an infield single to put two men on with no outs. Two batters later, Rasmussen drilled a pitch into the left centerfield gap to score both runners and put the Dirtbags up 2-0.
LBSU put two men in scoring position in the fifth as David Banuelos and Markus Montelongo provided back-to-back two-out singles, but Jackson flied out to end the threat. Banuelos recorded a hit in every game of the series and is tied with Rasmussen for the team lead in RBIs with four.
Junior starting pitcher John Sheaks made his debut for the Dirtbags, and pitched well through the first four innings. He held the Sooners scoreless through four and at one point retired 10 hitters in a row. Eventually Oklahoma got to him, however, getting a run across in the fifth then striking for three runs in the sixth to take the 4-2 lead.
Jackson hit a one out single in the eighth inning and stole second base, but he was stranded there to end the best Dirtbags threat the rest of the day. A Ramsey Romano single brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Oklahoma closer JB Olson struck out pinch hitter Lucas Tancas to end the game.
Freshman Connor Riley made his debut out of the Dirtbags bullpen in the seventh, striking out a pair in a 1-2-3 inning. Sophomore closer Chris Rivera pitched the eighth and stranded two runners on base with a strikeout to end the frame.
Long Beach State will be back in action on Tuesday night at USC, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. Next weekend will be the unexpected home opener for the Dirtbags as Fordham comes to town for a weekend series.
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