Dirtbags Split Doubleheader with No. 9 Ole Miss
Long Beach State and Ole Miss each won 4-3 on Saturday at Blair Field, with the Dirtbags winning game one and the Rebels winning game two by the exact same score.
LONG BEACH, Calif. - After Friday's series opener was rained out, Long Beach State (4-7) and Ole Miss (9-1) split a doubleheader on Saturday at Blair Field. The Dirtbags handed the Rebels their first loss of the season in an exciting opener, and then it was Ole Miss that eluded a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning to preserve a victory in game two.
Game One: Long Beach State 4, No. 9 Ole Miss 3
The Dirtbags took game one of the series for the third straight weekend as junior Clayton Andrews tossed seven strong innings and a pesky Dirtbags offense gave him just enough run support. Andrews allowed three runs (two earned) over 7.0 innings pitched, striking out four. Eli Villalobos preserved the lead in the eighth inning before Chris Rivera locked down his third save of the campaign with a perfect ninth inning, which included a pair of strikeouts.
— LBSU Dirtbags (@LBDirtbags) March 4, 2018
Jarren Duran sparked the offense with three hits, adding a run scored and an RBI. He was integral in an unorthodox third inning that gave LBSU a pair of runs, as he hit a one-out single, then stole both second and third. Andrews walked and stole second to put two in scoring position for Rasmussen, which led to the weirdest play of the day. Rasmussen dribbled a ball back to the pitcher, who threw home as Duran tried to score. In the ensuing rundown, he retreated to third, forcing Andrews back to second and Rasmussen back to first, but all runners reached safely as Ole Miss found itself out of position. However, during the rundown, obstruction was called against Rebels third baseman Tim Elko, which resulted in Duran being awarded home plate for the game's first run.
LBSU added a second run in the inning on a Brooks Stotler sacrifice fly, then Duran's RBI single in the fourth made it 3-0 Dirtbags. Ole Miss would tie the game with three runs in the fifth, but the Dirtbags responded thanks to substitute Leonard Jones. The freshman led off the inning with a pinch-hit double into the right field corner, which was his first hit as a Dirtbag. Fellow freshman Chris Jimenez would double him home for the go-ahead run in the 4-3 win.
LBSU's runs came against highly touted pitching prospect Ryan Rolison, who suffered his first loss of the season. The lefthanded starter went 6.2 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits, and only struck out three after recording 21 K's over his first 10 innings pitched this season.
Game Two: No. 9 Ole Miss 4, Long Beach State 3
The second game played like a mirror to the first, as Ole Miss struck first for a 3-0 lead, then saw the Dirtbags score three times in the fourth inning to tie it. The Rebels would respond in the top of the fifth with the go-ahead run and hold on for the victory.
LBSU recorded four consecutive hits to begin the fourth inning, which led to a three-run rally. Jimenez, who was 2-for-4 in game two, started it off with a leadoff single, and was moved to third on a Stotler double. After a pair of infield singles, LBSU tied the game with an RBI hit-by-pitch and an infield grounder.
The Dirtbags rallied in the ninth inning and had the bases loaded with one out for the top of the order, but a pair of outs through the air allowed the Rebels to hang on for the 4-3 victory.
The series finale will be a rubber match, set for an 11:30 a.m. first pitch. LBSU will send RHP Tyler Radcliffe to the mound to make his first start of the season, while Ole Miss will counter with RHP James McArthur. Prior to the game, there will be a naming ceremony for the Honorable Bob & Nancy Foster Dirtbags Locker Room, which will begin at 10:45 a.m. in the third base picnic area.
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