Dirtbags Drop Big West Opener at UCSB, 3-2
LBSU took a lead on the first pitch of the game thanks to Brock Lundquist’s leadoff home run, but couldn’t hold on in Santa Barbara.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Despite a second leadoff home run from Brock Lundquist in as many days, Long Beach State (14-11) suffered a 3-2 defeat at UC Santa Barbara (11-12) in the Big West opener on Friday afternoon. The Dirtbags also got a solo home run from sophomore Brooks Stotler, but that was all the offense for Long Beach State in Friday’s series opener with the Gauchos.
Batting leadoff for the third straight game, Lundquist took the first pitch of the day from UCSB starter Noah Davis and launched it over the right field fence. It’s Lundquist’s second home run of the season, both coming in the first at bat in the last two games.
Long Beach State starter Darren McCaughan was perfect the first time through the Gauchos order, but ran into trouble in the fourth inning. UCSB tied the game with three singles in the inning, with DH Josh Adams delivering the RBI. The Gauchos took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run by Armani Smith to center field.
Stotler answered in the top of the seventh with the first home run of his career, launching an 0-2 pitch out to right field with two outs to tie the game, 2-2. That score wouldn’t remain intact for long, however, as the Gauchos went ahead 3-2 in the bottom half of the seventh on an RBI double from JJ Muno.
The Dirtbags had a good chance to tie the game in the eighth as Matt Gimenez and Lundquist put together back-to-back one-out singles. A fielder’s choice cut down Gimenez trying to score, then a fly out to right field stranded a pair of Dirtbags on base.
Freshman Connor Riley made a clutch relief appearance in the eighth inning, recording a strikeout and a fly out to strand the bases loaded. McCaughan went 7.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Offensively, Ramsey Romano extended his hitting streak to 20 games with an infield single in the third inning.
LBSU will look to even the series on Saturday afternoon as RHP John Sheaks (2-1, 4.25 ERA) will square off against LHP Kyle Nelson (3-2, 3.48 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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