Baseball, Men's Sports, Sports

Dirtbags disappoint in series loss to Seattle

After the Dirtbags swept Valparaiso in their first home series of the season last weekend, it seemed that Blair Field would be the home of many positive results for Long Beach State’s baseball team.

That wasn’t the case this weekend.

LBSU (6-6) finished off a competitive series against Seattle with a lopsided 8-3 loss that brought to mind more questions about effort than ability.

“I’ll take responsibility for not having the team ready to play,” head coach Troy Buckley said. “The whole series we got out-played, out-aggressived, out-pitched, out-defensed, and we didn’t do enough things to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The Redhawks (3-9) entered the series having won just a single game all year, but they took Friday night’s series opener 5-4 thanks to three runs scored late in the game.

LBSU got six good innings from starting pitcher Shane Carle, who allowed two unearned runs and struck out five in a no decision. Freshman reliever David Hill was credited with the loss after first baseman Grant Newton hit a rare home run at Blair Field in the eighth inning.

The Dirtbags managed to provide some late-inning drama of their own in Saturday afternoon’s game.

LBSU collected four hits and a walk in the ninth inninto win the game 4-3 after being down 3-2 to start the frame. Left fielder Ino Patron provided the heroics for The Beach, as he hit a walk-off single to right field to end it.

“I was just getting ready to hit early,” Patron said. “I knew [Seattle pitcher Garrett Anderson] wanted to get ahead with the bases loaded.”

However, any momentum the Dirtbags earned in Saturday night’s win failed to carry over to Sunday’s finale.

The Dirtbags got out to a 1-0 lead early on but weren’t able to keep their lead for long, as Seattle strung together four consecutive hits and scored three runs in the fourth. The Redhawks extended their lead to 5-1 after a two-run sixth that featured a leadoff triple down the left field line by right fielder Sean Narby.

Starting pitcher Jon Maciel’s day was done after the inning, as he gave up five earned runs on nine hits despite striking out eight in six innings.

“Every time [Maciel] threw [the ball] up, it got hit,” Buckley said. “[Seattle] strung good at-bats together off of mistake pitches.”

Meanwhile, The Beach was having a hard time squaring up the ball. LBSU batters only struck out once through six innings, but 11 of the 18 outs recorded to that point were flyouts. The Dirtbags wouldn’t get so much as a hit until the seventh inning.

“I think we had 12 or 13 fly ball outs today,” Buckley said. “There were at least 11 through seven. I kind of lost count after that.”

Seattle added three more runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach. The Dirtbags would put together a small comeback effort with a pair of runs in the bottom frame thanks to key hits by first baseman Jeff Yamaguchi and left fielder Zack Rivera, but two runs were hardly enough to make it a game again.

When asked if the Dirtbags played down to their opponent this weekend, Buckley said “obviously there is something wrong, and I have to look at myself first and the staff.”

LBSU will have a chance to redeem itself Tuesday when it hosts No. 9 UCLA on Tuesday. The first pitch is set for 6 p.m.

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