Baseball, Sports

Dirtbags come up short in exhibition

Box score

As Waseda University took to the infield 30 minutes before the first pitch, and the entire Dirtbag team stood in front of the dugout watching intently, it was clear that the Bears came to compete.

And defense turned out to be the difference in the Dirtbags’ 4-2 exhibition loss to Waseda as small ball was on full display in a game played with wooden bats.

“Their hands and their feet on defense are much quicker than American infielders, I mean, they just close on balls so quick,” Long Beach State head coach Mike Weathers said. “They made defensive adjustments on some hitters during the at-bat.”

LBSU starter Nate Underwood was impressive in the first start of his LBSU career, throwing 4.0 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits, while striking out five after previously logging just one total inning this season.

“I thought Nate was mixing his pitches well and kept them a little off balance,” Weathers said. “Their swing, the Ichiro-type thing is kind of susceptible to change-ups and fastballs away, so I thought Nate did a good job of placing the pitch. It is unusual to see them strike out that much.”

After breezing through the first three innings, Underwood ran into some trouble in the top of the fourth as his defense faltered.

Bears catcher Sugiyama Shota doubled with one out. Left fielder Toshiki Yamada followed with an RBI-single through the right side and advanced to second when Dirtbag right fielder Juan Avila failed to field the ball cleanly.

After walking center fielder Tatsuya Oishi, Underwood got third baseman Koji Udaka to ground into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play to Dirtbag third baseman Matt Duffy, but second baseman Derek Legg bounced the throw to first and Udaka reached safely.

First baseman Joey Terdoslavich alertly threw to home plate and had Yamada nailed, but catcher Joel Thys dropped the ball and allowed the second run of the inning to come in.

The Dirtbags answered with a run in the bottom of the inning when Thys singled to bring in Terdoslavich, who had walked to lead off the inning. Bears starter Yuya Fukui minimized the damage by getting shortstop Kirk Singer to ground out with a runner on for the last out.

Junior Troy Watson was brought in for relief in the top of the fifth and pitched 3.0 innings, giving up two runs on two hits and striking out three.

“I was very encouraged with both (Underwood) and Watson,” Weathers said. “Watson was way different in the second and third inning than he was in the first.”

The Dirtbags tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth when Terdoslavich scored on junior Matt Hibbert’s sacrifice fly, after doubling to lead off the inning and moving to third on a groundout by freshman Juan Avila.

Terdoslavich finished the night 1-for-3, scoring both Dirtbag runs, while Hibbert came off the bench to contribute a run-scoring sacrifice fly and a double.

“Some of our guys in the lineup had not played a lot so it was a good night to get them in,” Weathers said.

Weathers said he was impressed with the way Underwood and Watson threw, since both could be needed to log significant innings throughout the season to help keep the arms in the bullpen fresh.

“And for the second night, getting Terdoslavich to get going with the bat was good,” Weathers said. “Joey is a guy who we thought would be that guy and he hit balls good again tonight. Those were highlights for me in this kind of exhibition.”


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