A 10-1 victory Sunday at Blair Field capped off a series win over Cal State Northridge as the Long Beach State baseball team continued its excellent play at home.
Freshman righty Chris Mathewson had another dominant start, striking out a career-high 10 hitters while walking none in eight shutout innings in Sunday’s 10-1 beat down of Cal State Northridge (11-26, 1-8 Big West).
“[I’m] just being aggressive as [the season] goes on,” Mathewson said. “I’m feeling better and stronger, but I still have to work.”
Junior right fielder Zack Rivera got the rout started by driving in two early runs with a double to left center field. Another double by junior catcher Eric Hutting pushed the Dirtbags’ lead to 4-0 in the first inning.
The Dirtbags went on to score two runs in each of the next three innings, ballooning their lead to 10-0. UCR scored its lone run after Mathewson exited the game at the end of the eighth. Rivera said the team needed to change its approach as a team.
“We had more aggressive swings during batting practice today,” Rivera said. “Look at the scoreboard, it worked.”
Freshman outfielder Joey Sanchez scored the game-winning run in the Dirtbags 4-3 victory on Saturday’s game. Sanchez went 5-5 in the 10 inning game.
Freshman designated hitter Luke Rasmussen smacked his first career homerun in the second inning to get the game going for the Dirtbags. They took an early 3-0 by the third and never trailed after that.
The Highlanders managed to tie it up in the seventh with a sac fly, but a fielding error in the 10th inning by shortstop Joe Chavez allowed Sanchez in for the game-ending run.
“I thought arguably [the young guys] played better than the veteran guys,” Buckley said. “It makes [our] team better because it’s internal competition.”
The Dirtbags got on the board early on Friday night, but a late inning rally helped the Highlanders escape with a 3-2 victory. The win snapped UCR’s 11-game losing streak.
Sophomore shortstop Garrett Hampson led the game off with a base hit before eventually making his way to home plate. Freshman outfielder Tristan Mercadel kept it going by singling down the left side and advancing to third base off a hit by freshman designated hitter Brock Lundquist.
Mercadel punched in the early 2-0 lead for the Dirtbags after a throwing error by the Highlanders. The Dirtbags failed to score for the rest of the game, which frustrated Buckley.
“Some days it seems like we got a really good [plate] approach,” Buckley said. “[Then] there are other days where I don’t know what universe we’re on.”
Senior righty Kyle Friedrichs only allowed three runners on base through the first six innings before the Highlanders began their run in the seventh. Friedrichs gave up five hits, including two doubles, which allowed the Highlanders to pull ahead 3-2.
The Dirtbags were finally able to get a couple of men on base in the ninth inning after 14 of 15 batters were retired from the third to eighth inning. It was too little too late as Mathewson came in to pinch hit and went down swinging to end the game.
The Dirtbags will hit the road again and take on Loyola Marymount University Tuesday night at 6 p.m.