Long Beach State Hangs On For 3-1 Win at Cal
The Dirtbags grinded out a 3-1 win at Cal and have now won eight of their last nine games.
BERKELEY, Calif. - Long Beach State (14-9) was able to pull out a hard-fought win on Monday night at Cal (9-13), holding on for a 3-1 victory at Evans Diamond. The Dirtbags scored a run in the eighth and ninth innings to pull ahead, and Chris Rivera was able to lock down a stressful save to finish it off. The win is No. 200 in head coach Troy Buckley’s career, and the Dirtbags have now won eight of their last nine games.
Ramsey Romano had a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs for the Dirtbags, extending his hitting streak to 18 games. Brock Lundquist led off for the first time this season and two hits, a walk, a stolen base and a run scored.
On the mound, starter AJ Jones delivered his best start for Long Beach State, going a career-best 6.0 innings, allowing one run on seven hits with no walks and eight strikeouts. He was relieved by Eli Villalobos, who pitched 1.2 innings out of the bullpen to improve to 3-0. Rivera recorded four outs across the eighth and ninth innings to earn the save, getting all four outs via the strikeout. Cal put two runners on base with one out in the ninth to have the potential tying run at first, but Rivera recorded consecutive strikeouts to strand the two runners on base and end the game.
Long Beach State took a lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI single from Romano to score Lundquist. That lead was erased in the fourth on a solo home run by Cal’s Andrew Vaughn. The teams remained deadlocked at 1-1 until the eighth inning, when LBSU was able to capitalize on one of four Cal errors.
Lucas Tancas reached on an error to lead off the eighth, then was moved into scoring position by a Romano sacrifice bunt. Following a passed ball and a walk, David Banuelos hit a sacrifice fly to center to plate Tancas and put the Dirtbags up, 2-1.
In the ninth inning, the Dirtbags put together a two-out rally thanks to consecutive walks to Luke Rasmussen and Tancas. Romano’s single back up the middle scored Rasmussen, who made a great play to elude the tag of Golden Bears catcher Tyrus Greene and touch home plate.
That run would prove valuable as Rivera had a challenging ninth inning. The sophomore reliever went to a full count against all five batters he faced in the ninth inning and was able to work around a leadoff double and a one-out walk thanks to three clutch strikeouts.
LBSU will play its fifth game in five days against No. 11 Stanford on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
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