Men's Basketball, Men's Sports, Sports

Dirtbags sweep Fullerton in 15-mile rivalry series

Long Beach State played their rivals, the Fullerton Titans, with a record-breaking attendance this series of 8,948 fans on Bohl Diamond at Blair Field.

The rivalry between the Dirtbags and the Titans began on a high note Friday evening as the Dirtbags took game one in a 5-2 win.

Sophomore pitcher Myles Patton is Friday night’s starter for the Dirtbags, going seven shutout innings and striking out seven, which he was named Big West Pitcher of the Week.

Junior right fielder Kyle Ashworth and senior catcher John Newman Jr. each recorded three hits, which sparked the offense this Long Beach State team needed.

Newman Jr. slashed an RBI double driving in two, making it an early 2-0 Dirtbag lead in the bottom half of the first.

He crushed a solo home run over the left field wall, making it a commanding 5-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The Titans avoided the shutout by scoring two in the bottom half of the eighth, making it a 5-2 deficit.

Junior pitcher Mike Villani shut out the Titans in the ninth, securing the 5-2 and taking game one of the rivalry series.

Saturday night’s contest saw the Dirtbags come from behind and beat the Titans 4-3.

Fullerton got out to an early lead with a solo home run over the left field wall by junior center fielder Moises Guzman in the top of the fourth.

The Titans got some help from Dirtbags’ true freshman shortstop Adrian Lopez, who committed a throwing error on a throw home that allowed sophomore first baseman Luke Mistone to score from third, making it a 3-0 contest in the top of the seventh.

Long Beach State tacked on their first run with an RBI single by junior center fielder Alex Champagne but a throwing error scored junior designated hitter Cole Santander and Newman Jr., inching closer to Fullerton’s 3-2 lead.

Senior second baseman Nick Marinconz tied the game with an RBI single that scored Champagne. Junior left fielder Connor Charpiot hit a sacrifice fly and gave Long Beach State a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth.

Villani was tasked with getting the Dirtbags’ final three outs and he did that successfully, securing the comeback 4-3 win for Long Beach.

The series’ last game saw the Dirtbags pull some late-game heroics and win 9-6.

Both teams started hitting strong early with the Dirtbags when junior first baseman Jack Hammond scored an RBI off a fielder’s choice groundout in the bottom of the first.

Dirtbags’ sophomore starting pitcher CJ Hood struggled with his command early and the Titans took advantage by loading the bases early. Fullerton tacked on their first run through a costly hit-by-pitch that struck junior catcher Waldie Perez and tied the game 1-1 during the top of the second.

After a Fullerton two-run single, the Dirtbags responded in a big way with an Ashworth two-RBI double that tied the game 3-3 in the bottom half of the second.

Fullerton freshman first baseman Tyler Holley slashed a two-run home run over the left-field wall and gave the Titans a 5-4 lead in the top of the third.

Marinconz hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the third and tied the game for the Dirtbags 5-5.

The Titans continued their offensive outpour by adding a run in the top half of the fifth with an RBI single from freshman right fielder Alijah Ramos.

Champagne got his third hit of the ball game after he hit an RBI single, which scored Newman Jr. and tied the game at 6-6.

The highlight of the game came from the bat of true freshman shortstop Adrian Lopez when he crushed a three-run home run over the right field wall and put the Dirtbags up 9-6 in the bottom half of the eighth.

“To be able to come through for the team is just something you dream about coming here,” Lopez said.

Junior pitcher Grant Cherry pitched two and a third innings and gave up no runs. The Dirtbags turned to freshman pitcher Nick Williams to pick up the last out of the game and solidified the series sweep against Fullerton 9-6.

“Our boys played really well,” Dirtbags’ head coach Bryan Peters said. “When we did make mistakes we were able to overcome, and weren’t looking back just looking ahead.”

The Dirtbags look to keep their momentum going as they travel to Cal State Bakersfield in a three-game series starting this Thursday.

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