Baseball, Sports

Dirtbags take series from Cal Poly behind clutch hitting

Box score

Timely hitting carried the Long Beach State Dirtbags to a 5-2 victory as they won the three-game series over the Cal Poly Mustangs Sunday afternoon at Blair Field.

With the Dirtbags (21-19, 8-7 Big West Conference) trailing 1-0, LBSU shortstop Kirk Singer started the bottom of the third inning with a single to left field. Catcher Royce Murai would then put down the sacrifice bunt that moved Singer to second base, while senior left fielder Matt Hibbert took first after getting hit by a pitch from Mustangs’ starter Chase Johnson.

LBSU utility player Mike Marjama then brought Singer home on a single to left center to tie the game.

Dirtbags’ designated hitter Ino Patron followed up with another RBI single that drove in the go-ahead run.

LBSU starting pitcher Ryan Strufing earned the win as he held the Mustangs

(19-19, 9-6 Big West) to just one run in five and 2/3 innings.

“[Strufing’s] change-up was very good today,” LBSU head coach Troy Buckley said.

Strufing (3-1) faced 19 batters and struck out four across the 94 pitches he threw.

Matt Johnson relieved Strufing in the sixth inning and gave up just one run in the seventh.

John Maciel came in to close in the eighth inning for Johnson. Maciel and the Dirtbags ended the eighth inning with a double play. Maciel also struck out the last two batters in the ninth inning to pick up his first save this season.

The Dirtbags added to their lead again in the fourth inning with two RBIs from Singer and Hibbert. The RBI by Singer was credited against Johnson. Johnson (1-4) was relieved by Joey Wagman before facing Singer, but the three runs he allowed credited Johnson with the loss.

Matt Duffy, who leads the Dirtbags in RBIs (24) this season, was out of the batting rotation because of a wrist injury he sustained in Saturday’s game. Duffy took the field at second base in the top of the ninth, but didn’t see much action thanks to the effort of Maciel.

The Dirtbags will be in San Diego on Tuesday night where they will face San Diego State in a non-conference game. The game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.with Shawn Stuart expected to take the mound for the Dirtbags.

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