Baseball, Men's Sports, Sports

Long Beach defeats UCR in tight pitching duel

Long Beach State’s pitching staff finished off its second straight shutout to beat UC Riverside (14-22, 12-17 Big West) 4-0 Friday in Riverside. The Dirtbags’ (15-13, 13-12 Big West) pitching staff has now tossed 25 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to last weekend against UC Irvine.

Dirtbags’ starting pitcher Johnathan Lavallee turned in his best collegiate start, pitching his first complete game while striking out a career-high 13 batters.

The junior pitcher picked up his fifth win of the season as he didn’t walk a batter in his nine innings pitched.

After three scoreless innings, the Beach got onto the scoreboard with an RBI groundout from freshman third baseman Jonathan Long to score senior outfielder Calvin Estrada.

Lavallee gave up a two-out single in the bottom of the second inning and then retired the next 17 batters, striking out eight, before allowing another hit in the eighth inning.

Despite the loss, UCR’s freshman starting pitcher Zach Jacobs matched Lavallee pitch-for-pitch before tiring out toward the end of his outing.

He gave up three singles to the first four Long Beach hitters in the seventh inning, resulting in a run to increase the Dirtbags’ lead to 2-0. The next batter hit into a double play to help Jacobs escape the inning.

Jacobs’ luck ran out as he walked the lead-off hitter to start the next inning and then gave up an RBI double to Beach freshman outfielder Connor Kokx.

Kokx went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Dirtbags sophomore shortstop Brennan Rozell added two hits in his four at-bats and drove in a run.

Estrada, the next batter, followed with a two-strike RBI single to plate Kokx and knock Jacobs out of the game.

Jacobs suffered his fifth loss of the season to move his pitching record to 1-5 on the season. He pitched 7-plus innings allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out three.

UCR’s freshman shortstop Anthony Mata was the only hitter in the lineup to collect a hit going 2-for-3. He bumped his batting average up to .295.

Both teams line it up again Saturday for a doubleheader with the first pitch beginning at noon in Riverside.

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