Dirtbags Earn Emotional Win over Texas, 4-3
LBSU won its second game of the day on Sunday night, topping Texas in a do-or-die game at Blair Field.
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Blair Field had the best show in town on Sunday night as Long Beach State (40-18-1) and Texas (39-23) played another terrific baseball game at the Long Beach Regional. The Dirtbags were able to pull out a 4-3 win to keep their season alive, setting up a winner-take-all Game 7 on Monday at 8 p.m. The win was Long Beach State's second of the day, and gives the Dirtbags 40 wins in a season for the first time since 2004.
Redshirt sophomore Tyler Radcliffe was called on to make his first career start for the Dirtbags, and delivered a terrific performance. The Long Beach native set new career highs in innings pitched (5.0) and strikeouts (7) to put Long Beach State in a position to win. Radcliffe didn't walk a batter and allowed two runs on five hits.
Sophomore Jarren Duran provided clutch offense down the stretch, putting the Dirtbags in the lead twice with two-out RBI singles. Duran was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a stolen base. For the entire Regional, Duran is 7-for-16 (.438) with a double, a triple, three sac bunts and a team-best six RBIs in four games in the leadoff spot.
The Dirtbags opened the scoring in the second inning on a bases-loaded RBI groundout from Laine Huffman to bring in Luke Rasmussen for his first of two runs scored on the night. The lead was 2-0 in the fifth inning when Ramsey Romano drove Huffman in with an RBI single through the left side.
Texas was finally able to break through against Radcliffe in the bottom of the fifth, after mustering just one hit through the first four frames. The Longhorns scored twice in the inning to tie the game, but the play that ended the inning was a turning point in the game. Zane Gurwitz hit an RBI single to score the tying run, and looked to give Texas the lead as Michael Cantu raced towards the plate and avoided the initial tag from LBSU catcher David Banuelos. Cantu was never called safe, however, and Banuelos smartly stayed with the play and applied a tag to Cantu for the third out. Replays and photos of the play showed that Cantu touched Banuelos' foot instead of home plate, keeping the game tied, 2-2.
Long Beach took the lead right back in the sixth on the first clutch two-out RBI from Duran, a liner into center field to score Rasmussen for the 3-2 lead. The Longhorns responded in the bottom half of the sixth as their first two batters reached, and an RBI groundout tied the game, 3-3.
Duran had his next chance for heroics in the eight, and he took it. Garrett Nelson started the inning with a swinging strikeout, but reached first thanks to a wild pitch on strike three. After stealing second, he was moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt by Banuelos. Two batters later, Duran was up with two outs and hit another hot-shot liner into center field to put Long Beach in front for good, 4-3.
Long Beach State and Texas will face off Monday night at 8 p.m. with a trip to the Super Regionals on the line. The winner will play a three-game series next weekend against Cal State Fullerton, winner of the adjacent Stanford Regional. Monday's game will be televised by ESPN in some capacity, with the channel assignment yet to be announced. Follow @LBDirtbags on Twitter for updates and information leading up to the game.
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