Baseball, Men's Sports, Sports

LBSU splits two-game home stand

The Long Beach State baseball team completed an up-and-down week with a 6-0 win Wednesday night over George Washington at Blair Field.

The Aztecs (14-3) crushed the Dirtbags (10-7) 16-1 Tuesday night. Too many early mistakes, including five errors, quickly put the game out of reach for the Dirtbags. Head coach Troy Buckley said it was a “good old fashioned butt-kicking.”

“We had issues with lead off walks,” Buckely said. “[We had issues] with controlling the running game and we gave them 12 free opportunities. I think they exposed the issues we have.”

Junior right-hander Ryan Cruz got the start Tuesday night, but only made it midway through the fourth before being pulled. Cruz had his worst night as a Dirtbag with five earned runs and four walks and just one strikeout.

Cruz started off the game by retiring the first three batters he faced before giving up a hit and a walk in the second. The Aztecs took advantage of an error and wild pitch to score two runs and take the lead 2-0 in the second inning.

The sloppy play continued in the third inning when junior second basemen Zack Domingues committed a fielding error that put runners at second and first. A failed pick-off attempt by Cruz let the runners advance and the Aztecs took advantage to go up 3-1.

The game went from bad to worse for the Dirtbags in the fourth inning. Cruz walked two and hit one in his first three to make it bases loaded with no outs. A fielder’s choice let in another run and a ground ball slipped past Domingues to put two more runs on the board for San Diego who took the lead 6-1.

“It was Cruz’s worst outing of the year,” Buckley said. “He was behind the count all night and got completely hammered for it.”

Freshmen righty Darren McCaughan came in for Cruz to finish out the fourth. McCaughan promptly gave up a double down the right-field line to put runners at third and second. McCaughan threw a wild pitch which brought in the seventh run for the Aztecs 7-1 lead.

McCaughan struck out the side in the fifth and collected a quick two outs in the sixth before getting into more trouble. A single to left-field and a walk put runners in scoring position. A double to left center brought in two more runs for the Aztecs and a fielding error brought in another run giving the Aztecs the lead 10-1 in the sixth inning.

Aztecs senior outfielder Steven Pallares drilled a two-run homer in the eighth. He drove in four runs on two hits and scored four runs. Pallares was recently named the Mountain West Player of the Week.

“Errors and mistakes are big in baseball,” Pallares said. “Good teams are going to capitalize to those errors and that’s what we were able to do tonight.”

The Dirtbags looked like a different team with renewed pitching and hitting in Wednesday night’s 6-0 victory over George Washington.

Senior right-hander Kyle Friedrichs was in complete control on the mound and dominated the Colonials offense through six innings. He allowed only three men on base and threw six strikeouts.

“The position players scuffled at the plate and it gave me a lot of confidence on the mound because I knew we were going to score at some point,” Friedrichs said.

The Dirtbags finally got going in the eighth. With two outs and runners at first and second, freshman pitcher Chris Mathewson came through with a pinch-hit single to give LBSU the lead 1-0.

“[Mathewson] kept asking me for the last ten days to come in and hit,” Buckley “The guy wanted to be up there and was ready to embrace failure or success in that situation.”

The Dirtbags will have eight days off before hosting conference rivals Cal State Fullerton for a weekend series at Blair Field.

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