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Dirtbags Score Nine Unanswered to Stun UCSB, 9-8

May 11, 2018

Box Score

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Through 5.5 innings on Friday night at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field, Long Beach State’s winning streak was in serious jeopardy. The Dirtbags trailed 8-0 against UC Santa Barbara (22-23-1, 7-9 Big West), and had just two hits on the board. But thanks to a four-run rally in the sixth inning, and another four-spot in the eighth, Long Beach stormed back to score nine unanswered runs and earn an improbable 9-8 win over UCSB on a walk-off wild pitch in the ninth. It gave Long Beach State its fifth straight win, improving the Dirtbags’ record to 23-26 and 8-8 in Big West play.

UCSB scored six runs in the second inning and one each in the third and fourth to go up 8-0, but the Dirtbags refused to go away. Freshman Chris Jimenez was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and also drove in LBSU’s first two runs of the night with a bases-loaded RBI double in the sixth. A pair of RBI groundouts by Steven Rivas and Shaq Robinson made it a four-run rally to cut the deficit in half.

Jimenez started the rally in the ninth with a leadoff single, and after a two-out walk and a wild pitch, Clayton Andrews blooped a two-run single down the left-field line. Brooks Stotler then drove a triple over the head of the UCSB centerfielder to make it a one-run game, and Jarren Duran tied it up with a sharp single through the left side to cap the two-out, four-run rally.

Senior Sebastian Sanchez did a great job to settle the game down, working three scoreless innings to get the game to the ninth. That’s when closer Chris Rivera took over, striking out the side in the top half to qualify for the win.

Jacob Hughey started the bottom of the ninth with a single up the middle, and was lifted for pinch-runner Garrett Nelson. After a sac bunt, an intentional walk, then an unintentional walk, the bases were loaded for Santino Rivera. All he had to do was watch as the first pitch to him was yanked well wide and traveled all the way to the backstop. Nelson scored easily and dogpile ensued as LBSU celebrated its first walk-off win of the season.

Through the first five innings, UCSB had eight runs on 10 hits, compared to 0 runs on two hits for Long Beach State. Over the final four innings, Long Beach State scored nine runs on nine hits, while the Gauchos were held scoreless and had just two hits. Five different Dirtbags recorded multi-hit games and eight different players scored a run.

Long Beach State will look to win the series, and its sixth straight game, with a 2 p.m. contest scheduled for Saturday. Andrews (4-7, 2.58 ERA) will take the ball against UCSB’s RHP Chris Lincoln (2-2, 2.35 ERA). Fans will want to arrive early, as there will be a Dirtbags youth jersey giveaway to the first 650 kids age 12 and under. Also, the national champion men’s volleyball team will be in attendance roughly 30 minutes before the game, signing a limited edition national champions poster near the main entrance to Blair Field.

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