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Jimenez Delivers Key Hit, Dirtbags Squeak Past Vanderbilt

March 7, 2018

Box Score

LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Dirtbags offense was late-arriving on Wednesday night, but it got the job done in a gritty 4-3 victory over No. 10 Vanderbilt at Blair Field. Long Beach State (5-8) was held hitless through the first six innings, but put up three runs in the seventh to come back and drop Vanderbilt (10-4) with a narrow win.

Freshman catcher Chris Jimenez had a strong all-around performance, highlighted by a two-out, two-run single in the seventh to give LBSU the lead. He also threw out a pair of baserunners on the evening, which helped neutralize a Vanderbilt offense that entered Wednesday’s game an impressive 32-for-34 on stolen base attempts.

The Dirtbags entered the seventh trailing 3-1, having scored in the previous inning thanks to a pair of walks and a wild pitch. Domenic Colacchio lined a single to center to start the inning, giving LBSU its first hit of the game. After a sacrifice bunt and a fly out, Jarren Duran worked one of his two walks on the evening and Clayton Andrews beat out an infield single to first base to load the bases with two down. After a wild pitch made it 3-2, Jimenez hit a ground ball the other way to Vandy first baseman Julian Infante. It then became a foot race to the bag, as Jimenez was able to get in just ahead of Vanderbilt pitcher Reid Schaller with a foot-first slide. Duran and Andrews scored to give LBSU the 4-3 lead.

Eli Villalobos earned the win in relief, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout. Chris Rivera allowed a two-out single and a walk to put the pressure on in the ninth, but recorded a strikeout looking on a 3-2 pitch to earn his fourth save and send Dirtbags fans home happy.

The road doesn’t get any easier for Long Beach State this weekend as there is a third straight Top 10 opponent waiting on the schedule. The Dirtbags will be in College Station, Tex. for a three-game series against No. 8 Texas A&M.

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