Baseball, Sports

Weathers tossed, Dirtbags romped by No. 10 Titans

Box score

At least Long Beach State led Cal State Fullerton in one category on Friday night – ejected coaches.

The Dirtbags (22-24, 7-9 Big West Conference) surrendered 10 runs before the halfway mark of the game to take the 12-2 loss in a contest at Blair Field that was never in doubt.

The LBSU players and coaching staff had a near 20-minute meeting after the game to discuss the loss.

“I thought it was time for them to sit there and think about things,” head coach Mike Weathers said after the meeting. “I wanted them to think about what just went on.”

The soon-to-be-retired Weathers apparently wanted to get one last ejection in before calling it quits as he was tossed from the game in the middle of the fifth inning. It was one of the few moments that got the 1,685 Dirtbags fans in attendance to cheer.

Dirtbags catcher Kellen Hoime struck out to end the fourth inning. Umpire Bill Van Raaphorst, then didn’t allow Hoime to catch any of the allotted five warm-up pitches he is supposed to get, causing the initial disagreement. At that point, LBSU received its first warning.

Weathers then received a warning for arguing balls and strikes before getting ejected when he approached the umpire near home plate.

CSUF (32-14, 16-3 Big West) went into Friday’s contest leading the Big West Conference with a .343 batting average as well as holding the lowest team earned run average at 3.97.

The Titans scored an unearned run in the top of the first inning, but that was just a sign of things to come as the Dirtbags finished the night with five errors.

“I think that over the years that I’ve been here, most of these games are decided by errors in the infield,” Weathers said. “So, we talked about that and sure enough, that’s what happened tonight.”

Three LBSU errors marred the fourth inning and CSUF capitalized on the situation by scoring five runs to break the game open. Nick Ramirez smashed a long double off the wall in right field to supply the finishing touches on the Titans’ big inning.

Golden Spikes watch list member Christian Colon smashed a three-run home run in the second inning and led the Titans by going 3-for-6 with three RBIs and three runs scored.

Friday night’s contest marked LBSU starter Drew Gagnon’s shortest outing of the year as the sophomore couldn’t make it to the third inning. Gagnon (5-6) finished his day after surrendering five runs on only three hits in two innings of work.

“With the errors, who knows what Drew’s performance could have been?” Weathers said. “Sometimes, pitchers that start out so bad can right the ship, but he never got a chance with the errors.”

Fullerton starter Noe Ramirez (7-1) was nearly flawless as he earned the easy win. Ramirez gave up just one run on eight hits in seven innings on the mound.

Jonathan Jones led the Dirtbags on offense by going 2-for-5 with two RBIs, which he earned in the seventh and ninth innings, respectively.

The Dirtbags must win the series if they have any chance of advancing to the NCAA Regionals. They will have their next shot on Saturday in the second game of the three-game series as Jake Thompson (5-2, 4.99 ERA) is slated to take the hill for LBSU, while Daniel Renken (8-2, 4.48 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Titans.

First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at Blair Field.

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