Jones Shines as No. 19 Dirtbags Blank USC, 6-0
LBSU won its third straight game thanks to its fourth shutout of the season, beating USC, 6-0.
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The strong pitching continued for No. 19 Long Beach State (17-11) on Tuesday night as the Dirtbags picked up a 6-0 win over visiting USC (15-12) at Blair Field. It’s the fourth home shutout of the season for Long Beach State, and gives the Dirtbags three straight victories.
Junior AJ Jones got the start and was impressive from the beginning, striking out a pair of batters looking in the top of the first inning. Jones went a career-long 7.0 innings, allowing just four hits and a walk while striking out six. He picked up his first career win to improve to 1-1 and lowered his season ERA to 2.37.
Offensively, the Dirtbags came out with three runs in the first inning and added another in the second to give Jones and the rest of the Dirtbags pitchers all the run support they would need. Luke Rasmussen had a pair of doubles and three RBIs on the evening, upping his team lead in that category with now 22 runs driven in this season. Ramsey Romano and Laine Huffman each added three hits with Huffman setting new career highs with two RBIs and those three hits.
Sophomore Jarren Duran made his return to the lineup on Tuesday. The sophomore had missed the last five games after getting hit by a pitch against Cal State Fullerton on Mar. 26. He was immediately in on the action in the first inning, drawing a walk to follow leadoff man Brock Lundquist’s walk to start the three-run rally. Rasmussen drilled a two-run double to the gap in left center, then came home on a Daniel Jackson RBI single up the middle to make it 3-0. Huffman lined an RBI single in the second to plate Domenic Colacchio and make it 4-0 Dirtbags.
Another RBI double from Rasmussen in the seventh made it 5-0, then Huffman’s second RBI single in the eighth scored Jackson to provide an additional insurance run.
LBSU will return to Big West action this weekend with a three-game series against UC Riverside at Blair Field. First pitch on Friday will be at 6 p.m. and there will be a fireworks show following the game.
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