Long Beach State lost its midweek matchup against USC 5-1 after two miscues on the field led to five runs scored by the Trojans. The Dirtbags’ offense struggled yet again, especially in the late innings and failed to produce runs despite out-hitting the visitors five to three.
“We’re certainly not as bad as we’re playing but I couldn’t imagine getting off to a worse start,” Long Beach head coach Troy Buckley said.
The LBSU (1-3) lineup failed to record a hit in the final three innings, snuffing out any sort of comeback on a bitter night at Blair Field.
USC (3-1) freshman Brian Gursky threw three shutout innings in relief and only allowed one runner to reach base.
“I think the story of game was the bullpen, as it’s been the last few days for us,” USC coach Dan Hubbs said. “Gursky came in and just shut the door for three innings and gave us a chance to take the lead.”
Freshman starting pitcher Andrew Seminaris did not give up a hit through four innings against USC in his debut for Long Beach. After a one out walk, he induced a ground ball to senior shortstop Laine Huffman who bobbled it and failed to turn the inning ending double play.
Later in the fifth, the Trojans loaded the bases against Seminaris and with two outs and sophomore center fielder Matthew Acosta sent a fly ball to deep center for extra bases. The double brought all three runners home and gave USC a 4-1 lead.
“I was looking to stay within myself and I got in a situation to get a fastball,” Acosta said. “I got it, put a good swing on it and it got over the center fielders head to open up the game.”
Seminaris’ night was over after 4 ⅔ innings allowing two hits and three earned runs.
The Trojans added another run in the top of the sixth after freshman pitcher Jake Lopez balked two USC runners into scoring position with one out. The next batter was sophomore Brady Shockey who brought one run home on a sacrifice fly, increasing the lead to 5-1.
Junior second baseman Jarren Duran got his first hit of the season on a two-out triple in the bottom of the third. He finished 2 for 4 to raise his batting average to .182.
“I think we’re just finding out who we are as a team,” Duran said. “It’s time to develop that identity.”
Long Beach now finds itself in a similar position to last season, however, the non-conference schedule ahead will feature 13 games against teams ranked in BaseballAmerica.org’s top-25 ranking.
“We’re our own worst enemies at this point, and we’re not playing anywhere near the level we are capable of,” Buckley said.
The Dirtbags now head on the road for the first time this season, traveling to Fort Worth, Texas for a series against No. 7 TCU. Game one of three is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. PST Friday at Williams-Reilly Field.