Jackson's Return Sparks No. 24 Long Beach State to 7-2 Win vs. Columbia
Every starter recorded a hit for the Dirtbags on Saturday afternoon and everyone who came to the plate reached base at least once.
Long Beach, Calif. -
Saturday's game got off to an inauspicious start for Long Beach State (14-5) as the Dirtbags fell into an early 2-0 hole against the visiting Columbia Lions (2-11). After that first inning, however, the Beach allowed just one hit and scored seven unanswered runs on the way to a 7-2 series-clinching win at Blair Field.
Tanner Brown picked up his third win of the season going seven solid innings, and every starter for Long Beach State recorded at least one hit. The contest remained close through six full innings until LBSU was able to break things open late with two run in both the seventh and eighth innings.
"I thought it was a good game," said LBSU head coach Troy Buckley. "I thought they came out and they punched us in the mouth and we didn't do much in that first inning; and then Tanner really settled down to give us seven quality innings with really nothing more than that first inning."
Long Beach State took the lead for good in the third inning as junior Daniel Jackson made his triumphant return to the lineup. After recovering from a shoulder injury, Jackson has been waiting for his opportunity to crack the lineup, and did so on Saturday starting at first base and batting seventh. Jackson walked in his first plate appearance of the season, was moved to third on a double by Eric Hutting, then came home on an RBI single from Tristan Mercadel to cut the two-run deficit in half.
But Jackson's biggest contribution came in his second trip to the plate, with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning. Down 0-2 in the count, Jackson pulled the ball through the left side of the infield between shortstop and third base, scoring Jarren Duran and Brock Lundquist for a 3-2 lead.
The lead swelled late in the game as the Dirtbags took advantage of an understandably worn out Lions bullpen. Alex Muzzi had an RBI single in the seventh and an RBI squeeze bunt in the eighth, recording his first multi-RBI game of his career. Lundquist chipped in an RBI double down the right field line and Duran drove in Domenic Colacchio with an RBI single to right center, his third hit of the afternoon.
Columbia struck quickly against Brown, taking a lead before the Dirtbags could record an out. Will Savage drew a leadoff walk after a long at-bat, then a Jarren Duran error at second base put two runners on. Robb Paller singled to left to load the bases, then a second walk of the inning to Nick Maguire forced in the go-ahead run.
Brown limited the damage with a strikeout, sacrifice fly, then another strikeout to end the inning, but the Lions had their first lead of the series, 2-0, after one inning. Brown settled down nicely after that shaky start, going 14 straight batters without allowing a hit following Paller's first-inning single, and putting up six straight zeroes on the scoreboard. The seven innings pitched matched his season high and Brown allowed just two runs (one earned) on two hits while matching a season high with six strikeouts.
Ty Provencher earned his first save of the season working two perfect innings to close out the win. The senior threw his first 11 pitches for strikes and set the Lions down in order with a strikeout mixed in.
Long Beach State will look for its first series sweep of the season on Sunday afternoon as normal midweek starter Dave Smith (2-1, 5.23 ERA) will match up with Kevin Roy (0-1, 11.00 ERA) for the Lions. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Blair Field.
NOTES: Garrett Hampson was 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored, his ninth multi-hit game of the season ... The two hits allowed by the Dirtbags are the fewest of the season, one fewer than the three allowed to Arizona State on Feb. 28 ... Jackson matched his career high in RBIs with his two-RBI single ... LBSU improves to 3-3 when its opponent scores first ... Entering Saturday's game, Long Beach State had allowed its opponents to score just one first-inning run through 18 games ... The Dirtbags were 0-for-3 on stolen base attempts and Duran was thrown out looking to extend a single into a double in the first ... This was the second straight two-inning appearance for Provencher and the 17th save of his career, tying him for fifth in program history with Kyle Friedrichs.
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