Long Beach State Drops Series Finale at No. 7 North Carolina
LBSU took the first two games of the series in Chapel Hill, but couldn’t finish off a sweep after an 8-5 loss on Sunday.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Looking for a sweep on Sunday afternoon, Long Beach State (6-5) fell into an early hole on the road at No. 7 North Carolina (9-3). The Dirtbags were able to battle back from a 2-0 first-inning deficit to lead 3-2 in the fifth, but a five-run fifth from the Tar Heels proved to be the difference as the home team salvaged the final game of the three-game set at Boshamer Stadium.
Seven Dirtbags players recorded one hit on the day, led by David Banuelos who also walked twice and scored a run. Jarren Duran and Ramsey Romano each had a hit at the top of the lineup to keep their solid streaks going and Romano recorded a double for the third straight game.
Matt Fields got the start for Long Beach State, allowing two runs on four hits in the first inning but no runs on just one hit in his next two innings. He was replaced by John Castro, who pitched a flawless fourth inning before running into trouble with a pair of walks and a hit batter in the fifth. That’s what led to UNC’s game-changing rally, including a two-run triple from Tyler Lynn.
The Dirtbags had a 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the fifth, thanks to a classic Dirtbags rally in the top half. Banuelos and Garrett Nelson each had one out singles to put runners at the corners for Laine Huffman, who put down a perfect squeeze bunt that was so good it turned into an infield single. Duran then walked to load the bases, and Romano grounded into a fielder’s choice to third. As the Tar Heels attempted to turn an inning-ending double play, Duran slid into UNC second baseman Zack Gahagan and his throw was mishandled at first base by Michael Busch. The error allowed a second run to score on the play to put LBSU up 3-2.
Luke Rasmussen delivered a two-run single in the ninth inning to bring the tying run to the plate, but Tar Heels shortstop Logan Warmoth made an outstanding play deep in the hole to throw out Brock Lundquist, denying him on a base hit and ending the game.
Long Beach State will head back out on the road for its next contest, playing a weekend series at Arizona State Mar. 10-12.
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