MINNEAPOLIS - No. 8 Long Beach State (31-15-1) survived a difficult road test on Friday night at Siebert Field, gutting out a 3-2 win over Minnesota (29-16). Senior Daniel Jackson hit his fourth home run of the season to help pace the offense, but pitching proved to be the key for the night. Darren McCaughan went 7.1 strong innings and Chris Rivera earned his eighth save of the season to secure the win.
The game was essentially decided in the eighth inning, as Minnesota had the bases loaded with two outs in a 3-1 game. Rivera walked the first batter he saw to make it 3-2, but was able to get a groundout to second base on a 3-2 pitch to strand the bases loaded and preserve the 3-2 lead. After a perfect ninth inning, LBSU could celebrate an exciting win to start the series.
Minnesota took the lead in the third inning thanks to a two-out rally, as a single and a double brought home the game’s first run. LBSU immediately responded in the top of the fourth, however, to level things up. Lucas Tancas put down a bunt single, then moved to third on a base hit from Ramsey Romano. That set up Luke Rasmussen to tie the game with a sacrifice fly.
Jackson’s solo shot came in the sixth inning to put LBSU on top, 2-1, as the senior continues his late-season power surge. David Banuelos led off the seventh inning with a triple to right center, then scored on a squeeze bunt by Jarren Duran, which nearly turned into his second bunt single of the night.
Long Beach State handed Minnesota starter Lucas Gilbreath his first loss of the season as the lefty falls to 5-1. McCaughan struck out four in his 7.1 innings and improves to 7-2 with the victory.
The Dirtbags will look to clinch their eighth straight series victory on Saturday as RHP John Sheaks (7-1, 3.15 ERA) takes the ball against RHP Brett Schulze (4-2, 4.20 ERA). First pitch is at 2 p.m. CT/Noon PT.
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