The Long Beach State baseball team took two out of three against Utah Valley for its second consecutive home weekend series at Blair Field.
Senior right-hander Kyle Friedrichs threw a career-high seven innings in the Dirtbags’ (5-2) 6-2 series opening win Friday night. Friedrichs also set a personal record of 12 strikeouts, topping his previous career-high of 10 set Feb. 13 against Michigan.
Friedrichs struggled early in the game and gave up three hits and two runs in the first inning. He regrouped and proceeded to dominate the game, retiring 10 consecutive batters. He didn’t allow another run in the game and only gave up one more hit.
“Not what I wanted in the first inning,” Friedrichs said. “I’m going to work on that this week. I just stayed with my process and made them try to swing the bat.”
Junior outfielder Zack Rivera led the team offensively, going 2-4 with two doubles and four runs batted in. Rivera drove in sophomore shortstop Garrett Hampson, who finished with two stolen bases, in both the fourth and sixth inning.
“We knew the pitcher was going to throw a lot of strikes,” Rivera said. “So we just had an approach to hit the fastball and get in the bullpen.”
Freshman right-hander Sean Trimble made his collegiate debut in the ninth to finish out the game. Trimble walked his first batter but struck the next three batters.
“Everything was fine except for walking the lead off guy,” head coach Troy Buckley said. “Anytime you come in out of the pen your job is to keep the game where it’s at.”
The Dirtbags rallied in the eighth inning of Saturday’s matchup for a pair of runs for a 4-2 win. Junior right-hander Tanner Brown followed up his last week’s strong performance with another good outing. Brown allowed only one run on four hits in 6.2 innings pitched without walking a batter.
Rivera’s offensive prowess continued into Saturday’s game. He went 2-2 with a pair of walks and an RBI.
In Sunday’s finale, the Dirtbags’ pitching staff had a major letdown in an 8-3 loss to Utah Valley.
“I think we got a long ways to go,” Hampson said. “I think we need to look in the mirror a little bit and see what we individually need to get better at and collectively as a team.”
The Dirtbags were unable to capitalize off the Wolverines 12 walks and struggled offensively in the game as they left 15 runners on base.
Freshmen right-hander Tyler Radcliffe and Trimble walked the first three batters in the ninth. Trimble proceeded to give up three hits and the Wolverines poured it on with four more runs.
“It was not a pretty game on all facets,” Buckley said. “On the offensive side or on the pitching side.”
The Dirtbags will make the short drive to UCLA Tuesday night for their first road game of the season. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.