Baseball, Sports

Dirtbags hold off No. 20 Cal

Sophomore reliever Kyle Friedrichs pitched two and 2/3 scoreless innings as the Long Beach State baseball team was able to stave off the visiting No. 20-ranked California Bears 7-4 in the series-opener Friday night at Blair Field.

Friedrichs came in for starting pitcher Shawn Stuart with one out in the sixth inning and held the Bears to three hits in the two-plus innings he worked to go with four strike outs and no walks.

“Stuart grinded tonight and gave us what he had,” coach Troy Buckley. “He has to be more efficient in the future, but he did some good things tonight. I thought [Friedrichs] was great for us tonight. We made good pitches when we had to.”

Stuart pitched five and 1/3 innings to begin the game for the Dirtbags (3-2) surrendering three earned runs and four overall.

Buckley pulled Stuart from the game after Cal (3-1) right fielder Danny Oh homered to right field to cut into the Dirtbags lead, 5-4. Fortunately for the Dirtbags the Bears did not threaten once more as Friedrichs and fellow sophomore Jake Stassi closed out the victory.

Friedrichs has not allowed a run in five and 1/3 innings in three appearances out of the bullpen this season.

“My job was to [get outs] and that’s what I did,” Friedrichs said. “I like coming out of the bullpen, it’s an adrenaline rush.”

Junior third baseman Juan Avila led the Long Beach offense with three hits including a double to right field, but sophomore Ino Patron provided the most offense in the third inning with a two-run double that pushed the Dirtbags lead to 4-1.

“Our whole point this week in practice was to compete,” Avila said. “We didn’t want to let [hittable] fastballs to go by and I tried to attack them. I’ve been seeing the ball better and getting more comfortable.”

The Bears responded an inning later with Vince Bruno’s run scoring single that preceded Oh’s home run. Once Stuart exited the game and Friedrichs came in the Bears did little question the Long Beach lead.

Sophomore Jeff Yamaguchi and freshman Richard Prigatano registered an RBI apiece.

Prigatano, whose sac fly scored Avila in the fifth inning, earned his first collegiate hit in the seventh inning which then prompted Yamaguchi to drive the freshman right fielder in for the seventh Long Beach run of the game.

Stassi relieved Friedrichs in the ninth inning for the save throwing just two pitches to earn the last two outs for the Dirtbags.

Heralded Cal starting pitcher Justin Jones, who came into the game with a 1.80 ERA allowed four runs to the LBSU bats in three innings. Jones walked three and struck out one on 63 pitches.

Cal pitcher Trevor Hildenberger came on in relief of Jones in the fourth inning and surrendered two more runs to the Dirtbags with only one being earned.

The Cal defense committed three errors overall Jones alone threw three wild pitches and at one point registered two in a row.

The Dirtbags continue the three-game series with Cal Saturday at Blair Field with the first pitch scheduled for 5:30 PM.  

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