McCaughan Leads Dirtbags to 3-0 Win Over Fullerton
LBSU took Game 1 of the Long Beach Super Regional, 3-0, earning its 12th shutout win of the season.
LONG BEACH, Calif. - A three-run first inning proved to be enough support for Darren McCaughan and the rest of the Dirtbags pitchers on Friday, as Long Beach State (42-18-1) held on in the ninth for a 3-0 win over rivals Cal State Fullerton (37-22) at Blair Field. LBSU now leads the Long Beach Super Regional, 1-0, and can advance to the College World Series with a win on Saturday.
McCaughan showed the sellout crowd why he was recently awarded Big West Pitcher of the Year for the second time in as many seasons. The junior righty was perfect through the first four innings, and only allowed a pair of doubles, two walks and a hit by pitch in his 7.0 innings of work. He also totaled seven strikeouts, giving him 104 in 122.1 innings this season. That's the most innings thrown by a Dirtbags pitcher in a season since Cesar Ramos threw 126.0 innings in 2005.
The offense got going early, starting with a terrific plate appearance from leadoff hitter Jarren Duran. The sophomore battled for a nine-pitch walk to start off the Dirtbags first inning, starting the decisive rally. After a sacrifice bunt from Daniel Jackson, Lucas Tancas singled back up the middle to put Long Beach out in front. Ramsey Romano then kept things rolling with an RBI double to the left field corner to make it 2-0. With two outs, Luke Rasmussen added an extra bit of cushion with an opposite field double to score Romano and put LBSU on top 3-0.
The Titans didn't get multiple baserunners in an inning until the fifth, thanks to a pair of walks. McCaughan locked in with runners on base, however, getting a strikeout looking and another swinging to end the threat.
Fullerton also put up a serious threat in the ninth inning against LBSU closer Chris Rivera. After hitting the leadoff man with a 1-2 pitch, Rivera gave up a soft single to right field to bring the tying run to the plate. After a big strikeout for the first out of the inning, a walk loaded the bases with one out. Rivera settled down and recorded consecutive strikeouts, getting Chris Hudgins swinging to end the game. Rivera now has 13 saves for the second straight season, putting him in a three-way tie for second on LBSU's all-time saves list with 26 in his career.
It is also the 12th shutout win for Long Beach State this season, good for second-most in the nation behind only Oregon State. The Dirtbags have a pair of shutouts in this postseason and have now recorded four shutouts in the program's postseason history.
Long Beach State will play for a trip to Omaha on Saturday at Blair Field, with first pitch scheduled for Noon on ESPNU.
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