PHOENIX - Late-game struggles plagued Long Beach State (6-7) again on Saturday, as Arizona State (8-7) pulled away with five runs in the last two innings to take a 9-4 win in game two of the weekend series. ASU out-hit the Dirtbags 12-to-4 and had a four-run eighth inning to break a close game open late.
Daniel Jackson had a nice day at the plate, going 2/4 with a double and three RBIs. Ramsey Romano extended his hitting streak to eight with a seventh inning single, and also scored a pair of runs. Dirtbags hitters also drew a season-best seven walks on the day.
Walks led to an early lead for the Beach as Romano and Luke Rasmussen drew consecutive free passes with one out in the first inning. Brock Lundquist delivered an RBI double to bring home Romano, then Jackson’s RBI groundout made it 2-0 Dirtbags in the top of the first. Interestingly, there has been a run scored in the first inning of the last nine Dirtbags games, with LBSU scoring 14 of those early runs and opponents scoring seven. LBSU has outscored Arizona State 7-0 in the first inning during this series.
Arizona State took the lead with three runs in the third, capped off by a two-run home run from Zach Cerbo. The lead would grow to 4-2 Sun Devils on a Cerbo RBI single in the fourth.
LBSU got things level in the seventh thanks to Jackson’s double, coming on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the inning. The senior shot the ball into the right field corner, allowing Lundquist and Romano to score.
In the bottom half of the inning, a leadoff hit-by-pitch, a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single gave the Sun Devils the lead right back at 5-4. The Beach had two men in scoring position with two outs in the top of the eighth but could not score, and ASU capitalized with four runs to bust the game open in the bottom half.
Long Beach State will look to salvage the final game of the weekend series on Sunday at 2 p.m. LBSU will send freshman RHP John Castro (0-2, 3.29 ERA) to the mound for his first weekend start, and he will be opposed by RHP Ryan Hingst (0-1, 3.38 ERA) who threw 0.1 innings in Saturday’s game. Sunday’s finale will also be televised by Pac-12 Networks.
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