McCaughan Shines in 2-0 Win vs. Cal Poly
The Dirtbags clinched the series with a key 2-0 win on Saturday afternoon, behind eight strong innings from Darren McCaughan.
Long Beach, Calif. - The Dirtbags went back to their roots on Saturday afternoon, using great starting pitching, flawless defense and some timely hitting to earn a 2-0 series-clinching victory over Cal Poly (25-16, 7-4 Big West). It's the fourth straight win for Long Beach State (25-16, 8-6 Big West) and sets up another chance at a series sweep tomorrow afternoon at Blair Field.
Sophomore starting pitcher Darren McCaughan was lights out, reverting back to the form he displayed at the start of the season. The righthander was perfect through 4.2 innings, allowing just four hits through eight scoreless frames with no walks and four strikeouts. He threw 120 pitches, but most of them were without runners on base. He had two runners on base in the fifth, but worked back from a 3-0 count for an inning-ending ground ball, and when he allowed a two-out double in the eighth, it was another groundout that stranded the runner there.
"I felt good, man, I was throwing the ball well today," said McCaughan, who improved to 7-1 on the season with the win. "That was my goal before the game. Last week (against UC Riverside) I felt like I wasn't really throwing, I was more aiming. Today I just came out from the first pitch--I had it working in the bullpen and I was just really focused on throwing the ball every time."
After a 14-run, 21-hit outburst on Friday night, it was more of the conventional "small ball" for LBSU on Saturday, starting with the game's opening tally in the bottom of the fourth. Garrett Hampson (batting third for the fourth time this season) led off the inning with a single, then promptly got himself into scoring position with a stolen base. He moved to third on a throwing error, and would score on an RBI single through the right side from Luke Rasmussen, who remained the Dirtbags' hottest hitter with two more hits on the day.
Two innings later, the Dirtbags scored again to take a 2-0 lead, and it was Hampson again touching home plate. The junior shortstop hit a line drive to left and thanks to aggressive baserunning was able to leg out a one-out double. After a groundout, Brock Lundquist delivered a two-out RBI, lining the first pitch of the at-bat into right field.
That was all the support McCaughan and closer Chris Rivera would need, as the freshman stepped in for the final three outs to secure his 12th save of the campaign. He had two strikeouts in the inning, showcasing the best stuff he's had all season.
The Dirtbags are in position for a massive sweep on Sunday afternoon and they will send Tanner Brown (5-3, 3.67 ERA) to the hill to oppose Jarred Zill (4-1, 2.50 ERA) at 1 p.m. Before Sunday's game, there will be an exclusive groundbreaking ceremony to begin Phase II of the Blair Field renovations.
NOTES: The 3-4-5 hitters in the Dirtbags lineup each recorded three hits apiece: Hampson, Rasmussen and Lundquist ... David Banuelos stayed hot at the plate, reaching base all three times with a walk, hit by pitch and a single ... McCaughan matched his career high of 8.0 innings pitched, which he achieved against UC Irvine on Apr. 16 ... It's the third scoreless start for McCaughan this season (vs. Nebraska, at CSUN), but both previous outings he lasted just seven innings ... This is the fourth shutout of the season for the Dirtbags, who are now 9-2 in weekend series this season.
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