Dirtbags Drop Sunday Finale On Late Oklahoma Rally
Despite the loss, Long Beach State has won four straight series to start the year and will return home for five games next week at Blair Field.
Norman, Okla. -
Long Beach State was just two outs away from a series sweep in Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon, but a four-run ninth inning rally allowed the Sooners to salvage the third game with a 6-3 win. Oklahoma tied the game on a successful squeeze play before Hunter Haley’s three-run home run to right center ended it. The loss drops the Dirtbags to 10-5 on the year as Oklahoma improves to 6-9-1.
Long Beach State took a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning when Garrett Nelson launched his third home run of the season to right field. All of Nelson’s homers have been of the two-run variety, this one scoring Luke Rasmussen who walked on four pitches.
Freshman Chris Rivera was unable to secure a save on back-to-back days, instead suffering his first loss and blown save of the year after he was nearly perfect in his first seven collegiate outings. Tanner Brown started for Long Beach and went five innings allowing two runs with five strikeouts. Ty Provencher tossed two scoreless innings in relief and was in line for his second win before the rally in the ninth.
The Dirtbags took a lead in the top of the fourth thanks to two leadoff singles by Jarren Duran and Brock Lundquist. A double play pall allowed Duran to score from third but ended the rally. The single for Lundquist extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Oklahoma quickly responded in the bottom half of the fourth and took a 2-1 lead on a two-run double to left field by Steele Walker. JB Olson threw three solid innings of relief to pick up the win.
Rivera was able to retire the first batter in the ninth, but then got into trouble when Alex Wise poked a single through the right side. Walker followed up with a base hit up the middle to move the tying run to third base with one out. Pinch hitter Ben Hollas executed a safety squeeze by bunting the ball towards first base, where Nelson charged to field it. Nelson flipped the ball towards home plate for a close play on Wise, but catcher Eric Hutting was unable to secure the ball and the tag to record the out. With the game tied, Haley delivered the walk-off, three-run homer on a 2-2 pitch from Rivera to send the Sooners into a frenzy.
The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for the Dirtbags and it is the first road loss of the season for Long Beach State. It’s a busy week coming up at Blair Field as the Dirtbags host LMU on Tuesday at 6 p.m., then prepare for a four-game series against visiting Columbia on Thursday-Sunday.
NOTES: Duran, Nelson and Zack Domingues all had two-hit games on Sunday … Domingues continues to lead the team in hitting with a .432 average on the year … Entering Sunday, the Dirtbags were 9-0 when leading after the eighth inning … Before allowing four earned runs in the ninth, the Dirtbags bullpen had allowed just five earned runs in 48.1 innings … With a home run and a double, Nelson upped his slugging percentage to a team-best .588.
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