After being swept on the road against No. 10 Texas A&M March 9-11, Long Beach was able to bounce back with a 5-1 win over Washington State Tuesday at Blair Field. Freshman Adam Seminaris was phenomenal on the mound for the Dirtbags, after throwing seven strong innings to set up the victory.
“We need some momentum on the mound and he kicked it off for us,” pitching coach Dan Ricabal said. “It’s a new week and we needed a good start for some positive mojo.”
With one out in the bottom of the first, junior center fielder Clayton Andrews hit a sharp single up the middle to reach base safely against Washington State starting pitcher AJ Block. Senior Laine Huffman returned to the lineup as the designated hitter after missing six games with a right shoulder injury. He was hit by a pitch with two outs which set up an RBI single by junior left fielder Brooks Stotler. The next batter was freshman Leonard Jones who cashed in a pair of two-out RBIs and put Long Beach ahead 3-0.
“It felt good because of the grind we’ve been on losing our last three games,” Jones said. “We were hunting [elevated pitches] and looking to put the ball in play and make things happen.”
Seminaris looked strong in the first three innings, needing only 44 pitches to navigate through the Cougars lineup without allowing a hit. He induced four ground balls and collected four strikeouts to start the game.
“He threw strike one tonight and that’s kind of what we’ve been struggling with most along with getting leadoff hitters out,” Ricabal said.
In the bottom of the fifth, junior second baseman Jarren Duran dropped down a bunt on a 1-2 count and used his speed to turn it into a base hit. Later in the inning with two outs, freshman catcher Chris Jimenez hit a lazy fly ball he willed to stay just fair inside the right field line. Duran was running on contact and scored easily from first base to add another run to the Dirtbags’ lead. It was Jimenez 10th RBI of the season, a category in which the freshman now leads the team in.
The Cougars were held scoreless until the top of the seventh inning, when junior left fielder Justin Harrer reached base on an infield single. He was brought home on a base hit by senior first baseman James Rudkin with two outs. The run was the only damage against Seminaris over his seven innings of work. In his best start of the season, the freshman allowed three hits and no walks. He struck out seven Cougars and was 7-for-7 in getting leadoff hitters out in the game.
“I was just trying to do all I could to get our team back on the board and was able to execute the pitches Ricabal was calling,” Seminaris said. “I felt like I got stronger at the end of the start with exception of that curveball [thrown to Rudkin on the RBI single]. That was my one bad pitch.”
Seminaris induced 10 ground ball outs, keeping the Dirtbags offense at the ready all night.
“It was nothing that Adam doesn’t usually do,” Jones said. “We usually go to the Nugget [Grill on campus] and I think he did well because I bought his burrito for him today.”
Junior Eli Villalobos provided the last two innings of relief for Long Beach by striking out three of the six batters he faced to end the game. Jones finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Duran was 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
Long Beach will host Tulane (8-10) over the weekend looking to continue to gain momentum.