Baseball, Men's Sports, Sports

Armando Briseno walks off the Trojans in the 12th inning in 7-6 win

Long Beach State fans stuck through a cold night at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field were rewarded with a late-inning rally that lifted the Dirtbags to a 7-6 win over USC.

Junior pitcher Grant Cherry got the nod to be LBSU’s opener and was one of seven total pitchers who featured on the mound in a collective effort from some arms that had seen limited action this season.

“We’re thin on the mound and I think everyone knows that,” Interim head coach Bryan Peters said. “Today we had to rely on a lot of dudes that hadn’t had a lot of work.”

The Trojans tacked on one unearned run thanks to an RBI groundout by USC senior shortstop Ryan Jackson to open up a 1-0 lead.

In the home half of the first, freshman second baseman Adrian Lopez sent a towering shot over the wall in left field to take a 2-1 lead.

Freshman relief pitcher Collin Miskelly pitched in the top of the fourth and the Trojans rallied with two outs to plate two runners and reclaim a 3-2 lead.

The Dirtbag offense again responded in the bottom of the inning beginning with sophomore shortstop Armando Briseno roping a leadoff double past the outstretched glove of the diving third baseman and down the left field line for his first of three hits of the night.

On the next pitch, junior center fielder Alex Champagne traded places with Briseno to tie the game up at 3-3. Sophomore catcher Jack Collins, brought Champagne home with a base hit up the middle to reclaim the lead at 4-3.

A single and an intentional walk loaded the bases for the power threat, Lopez who sent a shot into left field, but USC senior left fielder Carson Wells tracked it down at the warning track plenty deep enough to score Collins from third and extend the lead to 5-3.

In a close match where the dirtbags were down on the score board in some instances, The Beach fans showed off their enthusiasm every-time their team made a run.
In a close game where the dirtbags were down many times, The Dirtbag fans showed their enthusiasm every time their team scored a run and fueled them to a 7-6 walk-off victory over USC on Bohl Diamond on Blair Field on Tuesday night.

Freshman relief pitcher Nick Williams, who has been a weapon out of Peters’ bullpen all season, struggled with command in his singular inning of work.

A leadoff batter, who was hit by a pitch, came around to score due to a fielder’s choice in the top of the seventh, which inched USC closer to LBSU’s one run lead.

As they had done so all night following a Trojan score, LBSU responded at the plate. This time it was senior designated hitter John Newman Jr. who blasted his team-leading 10th home run of the year to put the Dirtbags up 6-4 going into the eighth inning.

Williams’ control on the mound again hurt the Dirtbags after two walks and another hit batsman loaded the bases with nobody out. Junior pitcher Jonathan Largaespada was called upon in relief to escape the jam.

USC’s next batter, Wells, smashed a ball into left field that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double, which scored two runs and ultimately prevented the third run from scoring.

Largaespada retired the next three batters to limit the damage and keep the game tied at 6-6. Long Beach State and USC’s bullpens dazzled, combining for eight shutout frames and keeping the score deadlocked at six.

LBSU’s junior pitcher Mason Dillow put in extensive work in relief, throwing a team-high three innings, allowing no runs or hits while striking out three to keep the game tied.

“Couldn’t be happier for, and proud of Dillow picking up his first win, he’s battling through injuries, he’s basically on one leg,” Peters said.

“That was an absolutely big heart, totally heroic effort on his part. We would’ve not been in this position without him throwing three zeroes.”

In the bottom of the 12th, back-to-back walks set the table for Briseno. He had been the only Dirtbag in the lineup to collect multiple hits on the night and again delivered, hitting a ball between the shortstop and third baseman.

Briseno’s single scored junior right fielder Kyle Ashworth to win the game 7-6.

“I was just trying to keep it simple, not get sped up, just really focus on the little stuff like my breath,” Briseno said. “Just try to stay calm and get a single, at the end of the day that’s all we needed.”

The Dirtbags poured out of the dugout to mob Briseno in the middle infield in what they hope is a momentum-inducing victory ahead of a Big West showdown against nationally ranked rival UC Irvine this weekend at home.


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