LONG BEACH, Calif. - Thanks to Luke Rasmussen’s walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Dirtbags earned their second win in as many days on Wednesday night at Blair Field, defeating Washington State, 8-7, in exciting fashion. LBSU scored the final four runs of the game to earn the come-from-behind win and improve to 8-8 on the year, while the visiting Cougars fell to 10-5.
Long Beach State scored its eight runs on eight hits, and also benefitted from some miscues by Wazzu. The Cougars issued six walks, hit four batters, committed four errors and threw three wild pitches to assist in Dirtbags rallies. LBSU stranded 15 runners on base, but came through with the key hit late to earn its first walk-off win of the season.
Washington State scored in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead, but LBSU responded with RBI groundouts in both the first and second frames to take a 2-1 advantage. On the strength of a surprising four home runs, Washington State was able to stretch its lead to as large as 7-3 in the sixth inning, thanks to a pinch-hit, three-run home run by Jon Burghardt.
LBSU answered with a two-run rally in the bottom half of the sixth, to quickly cut the deficit to one. Jarren Duran’s RBI groundout scored Markus Montelongo, then a two-out double from Ramsey Romano scored Joey Sanchez to make it 7-6.
The Dirtbags scored in unconventional fashion in the eighth, as Duran reached on an error to start the rally. After a sacrifice bunt and a groundout moved him to third, Lucas Tancas struck out swinging. But that didn’t end the inning. The third out was not recorded because strike three made it all the way to the backstop. Tancas reached safely at first and Duran raced home to tie the game, 7-7.
In the ninth, consecutive hit batters put two men on before Duran’s sacrifice bunt moved two men in scoring position with one out. Romano was then intentionally walked, setting up Rasmussen’s walk-off single, which was lined sharply to left field.
Duran was 0-for-3 at the plate, but was heavily involved with two runs, two RBIs and two stolen bases on the night. Rasmussen picked up his team-leading 16th RBI to win it, and Romano extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a pair of hits.
Tyler Radcliffe made his first appearance on the mound since May 22, 2015, entering in the top of the fifth inning and pitching 1.1 innings. He was one of seven Dirtbags pitchers used on Wednesday night, with Matt Field, Chris Rivera and Josh Advocate each throwing a scoreless inning to finish off the victory.
Long Beach State returns to action on Saturday with a doubleheader at Pepperdine. The Dirtbags will play the host Waves at 11 a.m., then play Grand Canyon at 3 p.m. for their only action this weekend.
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