Brown Keeps Cal Poly Down as Dirtbags Complete Sweep
Tanner Brown was dominant on Sunday afternoon, throwing 8.2 innings in a 4-1 Dirtbags win to finish off a sweep of Cal Poly.
Long Beach, Calif. - Before Sunday afternoon's game, Long Beach State broke ground on a new phase of the Blair Field renovations beyond the right field fence. On the diamond, the Dirtbags players broke new ground of their own as they finished off a sweep for the first time this season, defeating Cal Poly 4-1 in the series finale.
"It's been a nice luxury to be in a position to sweep, it means you're having nice weekends," said LBSU head coach Troy Buckley after the game. "We haven't done it yet. That's a hurdle that we hadn't gotten over, and it's not one where you've got a monkey on your back because you're still being successful. We've only lost two series all year, but for some reason the mojo is `Hey, we're not finishing it.' And it's nice to actually get that today."
Senior Tanner Brown went 8.2 innings on the mound, allowing just one run on five hits. He wasn't exactly dominant, only recording two strikeouts, but he didn't allow a walk until the ninth inning, and he kept the ball down in the zone effectively while keeping the Mustangs off balance all day. It was the longest for any Dirtbags pitcher this season and it helped Brown improve to 6-3 on the season.
Brown only faltered at the beginning and end of his start, allowing his run in the top of the first inning on three singles from the Mustangs. None of the balls put in play against him were hit particularly hard in that opening frame, but were well placed to fall in for hits. After that, he settled into quite a groove, allowing just one hit in innings 2-8, a two-out infield single in the fifth inning from John Schuknecht, who was promptly picked off by Brown. All told in that seven inning stretch, Brown retired 21 of the 23 batters he faced, allowing Schuknecht's hit and seeing another runner reach on a throwing error.
The Dirtbags took the lead in the third inning on a clutch two-out single from red-hot Luke Rasmussen. The sophomore DH flared a single over second baseman Brett Binning's head and into right center, allowing Zack Domingues and Garrett Hampson to score. Hampson stole second after a two-out walk to importantly get into scoring position. That was Hampson's 17th steal of the season and one of six stolen bases on the day for the Dirtbags.
Rasmussen recorded his 11th multi-RBI game on Sunday while extending his hitting streak to eight games. That's the second-longest streak of the season for LBSU, behind Brock Lundquist's 13-game streak earlier in the season. Rasmussen has been on an absoluter tear lately, collecting two or more hits in five straight games with at least one RBI in six straight contests. Over that five-game stretch (all Dirtbags wins), Rasmussen is hitting .591 (13-for-22) with nine RBIs and four doubles.
LBSU tacked on insurance runs in the fourth and the seventh inning, scoring runs on a Domenic Colacchio single back up the middle and a Domingues sacrifice fly.
Brown was just one out away from a complete game, but was lifted after giving up a single to Michael Sanderson on an 0-2 pitch, his 113th pitch of the afternoon. Brown threw 71 of those pitches for strikes, and induced 13 ground ball outs. Another grounder was the final out as freshman Chris Rivera came in and earned his second save in as many days, his 13th of the season.
Long Beach State will look to keep the winning streak rolling against UCLA on Tuesday night at Blair Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
NOTES: The six stolen bases are the most in a game for LBSU since stealing eight in the first game at Oklahoma on Mar. 12 ... Domingues hit a two-out double to start the rally in the third inning, which was his first extra-base hit of the season after recording 34 straight singles to start the year ... Lundquist extended his hitting streak to six games with two hits Sunday, including his third triple of the season; he has all three of LBSU's triples this year ... Colacchio started in right field for the first time in his career and responded with a pair of singles up the middle; it's the freshman's first multi-hit game ... The five straight wins matches the longest winning streak of the season for LBSU.
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