A soft liner into left off the bat of sophomore catcher Chris Jimenez gave the Dirtbags (9-34, 3-10 Big West conference) their first six-run lead in over a month. The fourth inning two-RBI single helped Long Beach to a 6-1 victory over UC Riverside (16-27, 5-8 Big West conference) in the series opener Friday.
“That’s a Long Beach State baseball game right there, six runs on seven hits with outstanding pitching,” co-interim head coach Greg Bergeron said.
The Dirtbags had not scored six runs in a game since April 14 against Northridge, which was the last time they won a conference game.
Jimenez is dominating in the leadoff spot hitting .435 in seven games since moving to the top of the order in April. His leadoff single in the bottom of the first ignited the Dirtbags’ offense. Junior outfielder Calvin Estrada scored Jimenez on a groundout and freshman left fielder Chase Luttrell grounded to second for an RBI. Long Beach led 2-0 after one.
“[I like] the opportunity to get the team going,” Jimenez said.
The Dirtbags surrendered numerous leads in the latter half of April, including two leads in a loss to LMU Tuesday.
Luttrell hustled for a bunt single then stole second base with one out in the fourth inning. After a walk loaded the bases, Junior catcher Cole Joy reached on a fielder’s choice scoring the 3-0 run. Freshman third baseman Tyler Porter smashed a sacrifice fly straight to the center fielder putting the Dirtbags up 4-0. The sacrifice brought up Jimenez, who hit his two-out two-RBI single for a 6-0 Dirtbags lead.
Dirtbags’ sophomore RHP Adam Seminaris pitched with signature confidence Friday. He ended each of the first four innings with a strikeout. The clutch punchouts helped him strand one-out runners at second base in the third, fourth, and fifth innings.
“Coming out of my pregame bullpen it felt good today and it just rolled right into the game,” Seminaris said.
Seminaris (3-7) struck out a career-high 10 batters over a career-high eight innings pitched. He walked one, hit a batter, and allowed one run on eight hits.
The Dirtbags face UC Riverside in the middle game of the series 1 p.m. Saturday at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field.