LONG BEACH, Calif. - Junior John Sheaks was terrific on Friday night, leading Long Beach State (22-11, 7-1 Big West) to a commanding 4-0 win over CSUN (16-20, 3-5 Big West) at Blair Field. Sheaks allowed just three hits while striking out three, picking up his fifth victory of the season.
Offensively, David Banuelos gave Dirtbags pitchers all they needed with a two-run home run in the second inning. Banuelos is now tied with Lucas Tancas for the team lead with five home runs on the season. Josh Advocate pitched the final two innings, picking up his fourth save of the campaign.
The only spot of trouble for Sheaks was in the top of the second, when he surrendered a pair of singles to lead off the inning. After a bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Sheaks recorded a strikeout looking and got a flyout to strand the pair.
LBSU took the lead in the bottom half of the second on the Banuelos home run; a deep drive to left on a 3-2 count that cleared the old fences at Blair Field. LBSU added a third run in the fourth inning when Garrett Nelson singled through the left side to bring home Tancas.
A final insurance run came in the eighth inning on some aggressive baserunning from Jarren Duran. The sophomore bunted his way on base, then moved to third with a stolen base and a wild pitch on the same play. With one out, Daniel Jackson was a strikeout victim at the plate with a ball in the dirt. As CSUN catcher Dylan Alexander threw to first to record the putout, Duran scampered home and beat the return throw with a head-first dive.
LBSU has now won eight straight games and 11 in a row at home. The Dirtbags also have seven shutouts, which places Long Beach State among the nation’s leaders in that category. Of LBSU’s last seven wins at home, five have been shutouts.
With a win on Sunday, Long Beach State can complete its fourth series sweep at home in four tries this season. RHP Dave Smith (3-1, 0.62 ERA) will get the ball, going up against RHP Andrew Weston (3-1, 3.91 ERA) with first pitch set for 2 p.m.
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