Dirtbags Fall at USC, 4-3, in 11 Innings
LBSU took a 2-0 lead into the 8th inning, but couldn’t hold on at USC on Tuesday night.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Dirtbags let a pair of leads slip away on Tuesday night at USC (4-0), suffering a disappointing 4-3 loss in 11 innings. Long Beach State (1-3) held a 2-0 lead in the eighth inning, then led 3-2 in the ninth, but could not put the game away.
Freshman RHP John Castro made his first appearance for the Dirtbags and was strong in his seven innings of work. Castro held the Trojans scoreless, allowing six hits and no walks while striking out six. He got stronger as the game progressed, recording four strikeouts in his final two innings on the mound.
Long Beach State took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a two-out RBI single from Brooks Stotler. Luke Rasmussen started the inning with a walk, then stole second, and came around to score on Stotler’s line drive to right field. The lead doubled in the fifth when Markus Montelongo was hit by a pitch to start the inning. The next batter was Daniel Jackson, who smacked an RBI double to the left field wall.
USC was able to tie the game on one swing as Lars Nootbaar hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the eighth inning.
LBSU answered immediately in the top of the ninth, thanks to the heart of the order. Brock Lundquist crushed a one-out double off the right field wall, then after moving to third on a wild pitch, was brought in on a deep sacrifice fly from Rasmussen. That gave Rasmussen a team-leading five RBIs on the season, and he has driven in a run in all four games this year.
The Trojans got their leadoff man on in the bottom of the ninth, then sacrificed him into scoring position. After a groundout and a walk, there were runners at the corners with two outs. During that at bat, a Dirtbags miscue on a stolen base attempt allowed USC to score the tying run as the throw down to second base went into center field.
In extra innings, USC was able to push the winning run across in the 11th on a walk-off Frankie Rios single with the bases loaded. The inning started with a dropped fly ball in the outfield, then a throwing error on a pickoff attempt put the winning run at third base. LBSU intentionally walked the bases loaded, then Chris Rivera got two clutch strikeouts to get close to eluding the jam, but Rios delivered the walk-off hit to left center.
The Dirtbags will return to action on Friday, kicking off a weekend series vs. Fordham. First pitch for Friday night’s home opener will be at 6 p.m. and there will be a fireworks show after the game.
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