Dirtbags Walk Their Way To 8-3 Win Over Columbia
Long Beach State score eight runs on just four hits in Friday’s win.
Long Beach, Calif. -
The Dirtbags were held to a season-low four hits on Friday night at Blair Field, but quality prevailed over quantity for Long Beach State (13-5) in an 8-3 win over Columbia (2-10). Thanks to a season-high 13 walks drawn, the No. 24-ranked Dirtbags had plenty of baserunners to work with, and three of their hits produced a total of six runs.
“There were a lot of free opportunities, obviously,” said LBSU head coach Troy Buckley—it was the first time his team has drawn 10+ walks since recording 12 against Utah Valley on Feb. 22 of last year. “But there comes a point where you still have to think hit even though the ball isn’t consistently in the strike zone, and I didn’t think we did that enough.”
The biggest blow of the night came from sophomore catcher David Banuelos, who drilled the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the seventh inning to deep left field for a three-run home run. It’s the first homer of Banuelos’ career, and it scored Luke Rasmussen and Garrett Nelson, who reached on a walk and an error, respectively. That gave the Dirtbags some breathing room, extending the lead up to 8-3 with just two innings left.
“The hit by Banuelos was huge,” Buckley said. “It was a big hit. We were aggressive, first pitch, runner in scoring position, it was a nice job.”
Long Beach State never trailed, grabbing a four-run lead in the bottom of the second. Nelson and Zack Domingues both walked, then a throwing error on a Banuelos sacrifice bunt loaded the bases with no outs. Freshman outfielder Brooks Stotler, making his first career start in center field, recorded the first RBI of the night by drawing a bases loaded walk. The next batter was Garrett Hampson, who worked a 3-2 count against reliever Harrisen Egly, and drilled a single to right center to score a pair. Alex Muzzi’s bunt on a squeeze play would score Stotler for the 4-0 lead.
Domenic Colacchio added to the lead with his first career hit and RBI, scoring Domingues from second base. Domingues scored twice on Friday without recording a plate appearance, drawing three walks in his three trips to the plate.
Columbia pulled within two thanks to a three-run seventh, led off by a solo home run from Logan Boyher off the left field foul pole. A walk, single, throwing error and a sacrifice fly accounted for the other two runs, but Joshua Advocate cleaned up the mess with a strikeout to end the frame.
Darren McCaughan improved to 4-0 with a win on his 20th birthday, pitching six innings allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits. He also matched his career high of six strikeouts for the fourth time this season. Freshman lefthander Jacob Hughey worked the final two innings out of the bullpen to finish off the win.
Tomorrow’s first pitch is at 2 p.m. and it will be Tanner Brown (2-1, 3.80 ERA) facing off against Adam Cline (0-2, 7.20 ERA) with a chance to clinch a fifth straight series win for the Dirtbags.
NOTES: Banuelos went 2-for-3 with three runs batted in, giving him his first career multi-hit game and matching his career high in RBIs … Hampson was busy on the bases on Friday, stealing twice and getting caught stealing twice … Brock Lundquist’s hitting streak was snapped at 13 games … Hughey struck out four batters in 2.0 innings of work, setting new career highs in both categories … The three Long Beach State errors matched a season high, and it’s the first time the Dirtbags have won a game (1-2) while committing two or more errors.
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