Dirtbags Beat Texas to Advance to Super Regionals
Long Beach State reaches its first Super Regional since 2004 with a 2-1 win over Texas on Monday night.
LONG BEACH, Calif. - For the first time since 2004, the Dirtbags are going to the Super Regionals. Long Beach State (41-18-1) battled for a gritty 2-1 win over Texas (39-24) on Monday night, coming out of the loser's bracket to win the Long Beach Regional in front of a sellout crowd at Blair Field.
In a game largely devoid of offense, the Dirtbags pitching staff was able to piece together nine strong innings, starting with senior RHP Dave Smith. The Big West's ERA leader came back on just two days of rest, and delivered a terrific 4.0 innings to start the ballgame. He was perfect through three innings, and only allowed a single while striking out a pair.
The trend of early offense continued for the Dirtbags as LBSU took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. That first run can be credited to Jarren Duran, who was the best offensive player in the Long Beach Regional and had a major hand in Monday night's win. Duran worked a full count before lining a single to left center. The ball was misplayed in center field, allowing the speedy leadoff man to head into second base to start the inning. During the next at bat, he advanced to third on a wild pitch and would score on an errant throw down to third base.
LBSU doubled its lead with some good baserunning from Lucas Tancas in the third. Tancas led off the inning with a double to right center, and Ramsey Romano reached first on a dropped third strike to put men at the corners with no outs. Romano was caught in a rundown over at first in a pickoff play, and the opportunistic Tancas sprinted home on the play.
Texas broke through with a run in the fifth to pull back within a run, scoring on a wild pitch. Interestingly, there were no RBIs for either team in Monday's game.
The Longhorns had their best chance to tie the game in the sixth inning as a single and a double put two men in scoring position with one out for the No. 4 and 5 hitters in the Texas lineup. Freshman lefty Zak Baayoun entered the game and struck out both Kacy Clemens and Bret Bowell looking to escape the jam and preserve the lead.
Josh Advocate worked 1.2 innings of relief, allowing just a walk while striking out a pair. Then it was up to Chris Rivera to lock down the save and the sophomore delivered a perfect ninth inning to end the night and kick off a celebration at Blair Field.
The win guarantees that a Big West Conference team will reach the College World Series for the fourth consecutive season. The question is, will it be Long Beach State or Cal State Fullerton? The old rivals will meet in a Super Regional next weekend at Blair Field, with dates and times yet to be announced. For updates on the schedule, ticketing and more, be sure to follow @LBDirtbags on Twitter. Details on Super Regionals will be released by the NCAA on Tuesday morning.
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