Baseball, Sports

Highlanders crush Dirtbags’ bid for a sweep

Box score

The Long Beach State baseball team’s push for a series sweep was heavily denied in a 14-2 loss to UC Riverside Highlanders on Sunday at Blair Field.

The Highlanders hit and scored more than the two previous games against the Dirtbags (18-16, 5-4 Big West Conference) combined as LBSU allowed a season-high in runs and hits.

UCR (16-14, 4-5 Big West) began its scoring spree in the third inning on a single by shortstop Trevor Hairgrove that chopped toward Dirtbags’ third baseman Michael Hill. Hill was unable to field the ball and Hairgrove moved to second on the play. Hairgrove then advanced to third following a wild pitch by Dirtbags starter Ryan Strufing to Highlanders batter Ryan Goetz.

Strufing was taken off the mound after Goetz hit an RBI single to right field. Strufing (2-1) was credited with his first loss after he was held responsible for both runners on base.

Dirtbags head coach Troy Buckley brought five other pitchers out of the bullpen throughout the course of the game, but the Highlanders scored runs in every inning except the sixth.

Pitching wasn’t the only problem with the Dirtbags.

“We had poor execution of everything tonight,” said Buckley, who could only ask the Dirtbags, “Why?”

Why were the Dirtbags behind in the count? Why were they up in the zone? And why were they not making plays?

“The game was real fast for [the Dirtbags],” Buckley said.

LBSU’s only offense came in the fifth inning, which started with a one-out infield single by Kirk Singer. Brennan Metzger then followed with a bunt-single. Both Singer and Metzger stole to third and second, respectively, on a wild pitch by Trevor Frank. Jeff McNeil finally put the Dirtbags on the board with a two-RBI single to left field.

Frank (2-1) pitched eight solid innings for the Highlanders and only allowed the two runs off of six hits and struck out six batters.

The Dirtbags will go on the road to continue Big West play on Thursday for a three-game series against UC Santa Barbara. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. 

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