Dirtbags Win Wild One at UC Davis, 14-9
LBSU hit four home runs as a team, setting new season-highs in hits and runs in a 14-9 win at UC Davis.
DAVIS, Calif. - With strong winds blowing at Dobbins Stadium on Friday afternoon, it was a great day for offense in the series opener between No. 9 Long Beach State and UC Davis. Fortunately for the Dirtbags, there was a little more offense in visiting dugout as Long Beach State pulled out a back-and-forth 14-9 victory. It was the highest scoring game of the season for both teams, and LBSU set new season-highs in home runs (4), runs scored (14), and hits (16). The first-place Dirtbags improved to 26-14 with the win and 11-2 in Big West games. UC Davis is now 12-21 overall and 5-8 in conference action.
Interestingly, the first four hitters in the Dirtbags lineup all hit home runs on Friday, starting with the first at bat of the day. Brock Lundquist hit his third home run of the season, and all three have come in the game’s first at bat. LBSU would score in each of the first three innings to take an early 5-0 lead.
Laine Huffman drew a bases-loaded walk in the second after three straight singles loaded the bases, then Daniel Jackson hit a two-out, two-run single through the left side to cap the rally. In the third, it was Ramsey Romano generating the run with a leadoff single and some aggressive base running to score on a David Banuelos sacrifice fly.
UC Davis would answer with four runs on a pair of homers in the bottom of the third, then tie the game on an RBI single in the fourth inning.
Lucas Tancas led off the fifth inning with a hustle double, coming around to score on an RBI groundout from Luke Rasmussen. That put the Dirtbags up, 6-5, but the Aggies put up three runs in the bottom half in the inning on a two-run home run and a sac fly, taking their first lead at 8-6.
The sixth inning was the only scoreless frame of the night, but it set up the Dirtbags to score eight times over the final three innings to secure the win. Romano tied the game in the seventh with a two-run home run, hitting his second long ball of the season. Another sacrifice fly from UC Davis gave the Aggies the lead right back in the bottom half of the inning, but this time Long Beach State had the definitive answer.
Tancas hit his team-leading seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot to put the Dirtbags up 10-9 in the eighth inning. After Chris Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning, the offense went back to work on the UC Davis bullpen with a one-out ninth inning rally. Jarren Duran recorded his third hit of the day to start things off, then Brooks Stotler worked a walk to put two men on. A Huffman single loaded the bases, with Garrett Nelson’s sac fly bringing in Duran for an 11-9 lead. The next batter was Jackson, who demolished a pitch to left field for a three-run home run, putting a cherry on top of LBSU’s offensive outburst. Jackson’s five RBIs are a new career high for the senior, who now has three home runs this season, all coming in the last five games.
The offensive explosion picked up starting pitcher Darren McCaughan, who was victimized by the home run ball on Friday, allowing a career high eight earned runs in 4.1 innings pitched with three strikeouts. He also issued a walk on Friday, his first in over 38 innings of work in his last five starts.
LBSU will look to clinch the series on Saturday at 1 p.m. as RHP John Sheaks (6-1, 2.95 ERA) faces off against RHP Justin Mullins (1-2, 4.93 ERA) in game two of the series.
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