LONG BEACH, Calif. - In a battle of the top two teams in the Big West, No. 8 Long Beach State (29-14-1, 14-2 Big West) delivered an emphatic victory in Friday’s series opener with Cal Poly (20-24, 8-5 Big West), winning 3-0 behind a masterful pitching performance from Darren McCaughan. The junior tossed his second shutout of the season and fourth complete game, allowing just three hits while striking out 11 Mustangs.
McCaughan is now 6-2 on the year, and Friday’s win gives him 20 in his Dirtbags career. The junior from Downey, Calif. is now just the 10th Long Beach State pitcher to reach the 20-win mark in his career, and the first since Cesar Ramos (2003-05).
The Mustangs got just five baserunners against the reigning Big West Pitcher of the Year, collecting a walk and three singles with another runner reaching on an error. McCaughan had five 1-2-3 innings, including the ninth, which ended with an emphatic strikeout to close the game. In his five starts at Blair Field this season, McCaughan holds a 4-0 record with a 1.38 ERA, striking out 44 batters with just four walks in 44.0 innings pitched.
The Dirtbags gave McCaughan early run support with a pair of runs in the first inning. Brock Lundquist led off the game with his first of three singles on the night, then Daniel Jackson drew one of his two walks to put two men on with no outs. Two batters later, Ramsey Romano singled back up the middle to plate Lundquist and make it 1-0 Dirtbags while picking up his team-leading 30th RBI of the season. LBSU then executed a double steal to bring Jackson home and double the lead to 2-0.
LBSU added another run in the third inning on an RBI double from Lucas Tancas, scoring Jackson who led off the inning with a walk. Jackson also had a pair of singles on the day to reach base all four times. The three hits for Lundquist match a season high for the junior. Friday was the ninth shutout by the Dirtbags pitching staff, which is tied for the most in the nation.
Long Beach State will look to clinch a seventh straight series win on Saturday as RHP John Sheaks (7-1, 3.15 ERA) faces RHP Spencer Howard (4-1, 2.24 ERA) with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.
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