Long Beach State junior second baseman Jarren Duran’s high-bouncing single in the ninth inning with one out gave the Dirtbags hope. After head coach Troy Buckley was ejected earlier in the game for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Jeff Macias, the Dirtbags were ready to leave Dedeaux Field just as Duran got the green light to steal second base.
Freshman first baseman Leonard Jones hit a line drive to left field that brought Duran home as Long Beach sealed the game.
Long Beach (17-24) rallied late and defeated USC 8-5 to end a three-game losing streak Tuesday. Jones as the clean-up batter was 3-for-4 with one RBI.
“I was just thinking of getting him over to get the next man up to try to score,” Jones told the LBDirtbags on Twitter. “I honestly came up with a clutch hit anything to put on the team.”
USC (18-19) managed to get a run in the bottom of the ninth but it was not enough to complete a comeback.
It took four innings to get the first run in the game after an error by USC triggered a two-run rally for the Dirtbags. In the bottom of the fourth inning, redshirt sophomore pitcher Jacob Hughey allowed a hit and two walks to the Trojans, leaving the bases loaded with no outs. Instead of Buckley making a visit to the mound, it was pitching coach Dan Ricabal. Senior Sebastian Sanchez replaced Hughey and the Trojans scored three runs in the fourth.
With the bases loaded in the fifth inning and one out, Duran made a sliding effort to only allow one run in the jam.
The Dirtbags rallied in the top of the eighth after two hits and an error that cut the Trojan’s lead to one. Redshirt senior Tristan Mercadel tied the game at 4-4 with an RBI groundout.
“I feel like [the win] will boost us up and I hope we can build off of this and keep going and get better and stronger and we will do good,” Jones said.
Long Beach will host UC Davis in a weekend series April 27-29 with game one starting at 6 p.m. at Blair Field.
Updated on April 25, 2018