No. 12 Long Beach State Visits UCLA on Tuesday Night
The Dirtbags will look to get back in the win column and start another winning streak Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at UCLA.
Tuesday, April 4
No. 12 Long Beach State at UCLA
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Los Angeles, Calif. (Jackie Robinson Stadium)
Listen: KBeach Radio | Live Stats
LAST TIME OUT
Long Beach State ran its winning streak to eight games and its home winning streak to 11 in a row before dropping the series finale with CSUN. The Dirtbags did win the series, however, to stay in a close battle with Cal State Fullerton atop the Big West Conference standings.
Dominant pitching headlined the first two games, as junior Darren McCaughan tossed the third complete game of his career in Thursday's 6-2 win over the Matadors. The next evening, junior John Sheaks pitched seven scoreless frames while allowing just three hits to earn his fifth win of the season in a 4-0 Dirtbags victory.
That shutout was No. 7 of the season for Long Beach State pitchers, which ranks second in the nation behind only No. 1-ranked Oregon State. All seven of the shutouts have some at Blair Field, and five came in the span of seven games during the 11-game home winning streak.
Junior SS Laine Huffman had a productive series against the Matadors, hitting his first career triple and his second career home run in the opener on Thursday. He also added two more hits on Saturday. Leadoff man Brock Lundquist had a pair of two-hit games and David Banuelos tied for the team lead with his fifth-home run of the season, a two-run shot in game one.
SCOUTING THE BRUINS
UCLA is right at the .500 mark entering Tuesday's contest, winning three of its last four games. Included in that run is a series win at Stanford, capped off by a 7-6 win in 10 innings to take the rubber match.
Freshman DH Kyle Cuellar leads the team with a .411 batting average. Junior 1B Sean Bouchard has a team-best six home runs and 24 RBIs on the season and is also slugging .592. Sophomore CF Daniel Amaral is the top speed threat for the Bruins, stealing 11 bases in 16 attempts.
Tuesday's expected starter Justin Hooper has made 13 appearances and five starts for UCLA, posting a 4.97 ERA without recording a decision. He has an impressive 31 strikeouts in 25.1 innings pitched and has issued 15 walks. He also leads the team with nine hit batters and nine wild pitches.
Long Beach State won last season's meeting at UCLA, 10-1, led by a five-RBI performance from Lucas Tancas. The Bruins then won the return trip to Long Beach in exciting fashion, holding on for a marathon 11-10 win.
BLAIR FIELD RENOVATIONS
The ongoing improvements at Blair Field took a major step forward during the offseason with the construction of the Troy & Danyll Tulowitzki Batting Facility along the right field side of Blair Field.
Also constructed during the offseason was the Jered Weaver Bullpen beyond the fence in right field. There was also an update to the Dirtbags locker room which includes new lockers, general maintenance and repairs and new designs and graphics on the interior walls to honor the history of Long Beach State Baseball.
The renovation efforts began prior to last season with the installation of a new outfield fence. The old dimensions of 348-387-400-387-348 were reduced to a slightly more hitter-friendly 335-380-393-380-330 moving from left to right field. The result was an increase in home runs hit at Blair Field from four in 2015 to 23 last season.
LBSU head coach Troy Buckley was announced as a pitching coach for the 2017 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team this summer. This will be Coach Buckley's first coaching stint with Team USA, becoming the third straight Dirtbags head coach to work with the Collegiate National Team.
Buckley will join former Dirtbags head coach and LBSU Hall of Famer Dave Snow as a pitching coach with the Collegiate National Team. Coach Snow worked as a pitching coach last season, and 2017 will be his fifth time coaching with the CNT in his career.
The Dirtbags have also had a player on each of the past two Collegiate National Teams. In 2015, shortstop Garrett Hampson was selected and last summer Darren McCaughan was a pitcher for Team USA. LBSU has had 12 players selected to the Collegiate National Team in its history.
LB IN MLB
For the seventh straight year, Long Beach State had more players in the major leagues than any other college or university. There were 13 former Dirtbags who played in the Major Leagues in 2016 and the all-time total for Long Beach State is 46 big league representatives.
When the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, first base coach Brandon Hyde became the third former Dirtbags player in as many seasons to win a ring. Matt Duffy and the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2014 and Jason Vargas and the Kansas City Royals were World Champions in 2015.
It was a very productive year for former Dirtbags in the big leagues, led by Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada, who was named to his first All-Star Game last season.
Starting out the 2017 season, Long Beach State had 10 former players on Opening Day MLB rosters, tying with Arizona State for the most of any college or university. The former Dirtbags who started the season on big league rosters is: Bryan Shaw (Cleveland), Jason Vargas (Kansas City), Danny Espinosa (Los Angeles (AL)), Jared Hughes (Milwaukee), Jered Weaver (San Diego), Nick Vincent (Seattle), Matt Duffy (Tampa Bay), Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay), Troy Tulowitzki (Toronto), and Marco Estrada (Toronto).
On Apr. 14, former Dirtbags pitcher Shane Carle was called up to the Colorado Rockies, making his MLB debut the same day in San Francisco. Carle became the 47th former LBSU player to reach the big leagues. Interestingly, Shane Peterson was called up to the Tampa Bay Rays earlier in the day and hit a two-run home run in his first at bat.
WE ARE THE DIRTBAGS
The OFFICIAL nickname of the Long Beach State baseball program is the Dirtbags.
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