Baseball, Men's Sports, Sports

LBSU closes out the opening weekend series against Michigan

The Long Beach State baseball team took two out of three against Michigan in a successful opening-season series at Blair Field.

On Friday night, the Dirtbags (2-1) offense got off to a slow start while Michigan (1-2) took an early lead 2-0 with a couple doubles at the top of the first. The Dirtbags patience play paid off in the fifth inning.

Michigan left-hander Brett Adcock unraveled in the fifth and walked five Dirtbags, who took advantage with a pair of runs and tied the game at two.

Senior right-hander Kyle Friedrichs led the Dirtbags pitching effort with a career-best 10 strikeouts through the first six innings. Friedrichs said he thinks he is the leader and the guy his team can trust.

“Honestly I wasn’t thinking about [the strikeouts] until I came in and I was done,” Friedrichs said. “They’re like, ‘dude do you see all these strikeouts?’”

Freshman outfielder Tristan Mercadel tripled down the right field line and brought in Zack Rivera to take the lead 3-2 in the sixth inning.

The Wolverines offense clicked in the eighth and had runners on third and second with no outs. Junior right-hander Ty Provencher was called to the mound and picked up the save for The Dirtbags.

“That’s my job,” Provencher. “I come in with the runners there, and that’s what I have to do.”

Assistant coach Jesse Zepeda, filling in for suspended head coach Troy Buckley, said he thought the key to the team’s offense was being able to take advantage of Michigan’s mistakes.

“They gave us free opportunities, and we were able to capitalize on them,” Zepeda said.

Saturday’s game featured junior Tanner Brown on the mound. He picked up where Friedrichs left off with eight strikeouts in the contest. The Dirtbags’ early offense supported Brown’s pitching effort. Garrett Hampson drove in three RBIs and the Dirtbags beat the Wolverines 7-2.

In Sunday’s finale, Long Beach State gave up more runs than they had all weekend.

The Dirtbags gave up three hits and three runs in the fourth inning. They also gave up two runs in the 10th inning. The Dirtbags offense struggled early, but after a Zack Rivera RBI single in the sixth inning, they only trailed 3-2.

In the bottom of the ninth, junior infielder Zack Domingues picked up his first hit of the season to tie the game at 3-3. In extra innings, the Dirtbags brought in Provencher, who hit Michigan’s Jake Bivens, then gave up a two-RBI single to first basemen Jacob Cronenworth.

“Obviously, it’s tough to sweep a team,” Zepeda “This is a good Michigan team.”

The Dirtbags host Pepperdine Tuesday at 6 p.m. and NC Dinos Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Blair Field.

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