LOS ANGELES — Having allowed a two-out rally the previous inning, Dirtbags’ right-handed reliever Tyler Gums looked in for the sign with two out and two runners on in the bottom of the fifth. His next pitch was shot up the middle by USC’s Ben Ramirez, putting the Trojans (8-11) up by three in their 4-2 win over the Dirtbags (3-16) at USC Tuesday.
Dirtbags’ designated hitter Riki DeSa started the game with a lead off home run, one that soared well over the left field wall. It was DeSa’s third extra-base hit in just 18 at bats.
“It’s always good to see a guy lead a game off like that,” junior first baseman Jacob Hughey said.
USC answered back with a triple from Blake Sabol in the bottom of the first. Sabol scored on a groundout in the next at-bat tying the game 1-1.
The Dirtbags made solid contact against USC freshman starting RHP Chandler Champlain. Champlain, who has been struggling all season, was done after two innings.
Dirtbags’ starting RHP Sagun Gainey also had a short night. He allowed one run on three hits while striking out two and walking one Tuesday.
“I thought Gainey did a nice job,” head coach Troy Buckley said. “I asked him if he got taken out if he thought he could start Sunday and he said yes, so that’s part of the reason why [we pulled him].”
Gums relieved Gainey in the fourth inning. After earning the first two outs without much trouble, he allowed a hard double to right. USC catcher Tyler Lozano made the rally official with a two-RBI single to shallow center putting USC ahead 3-1 after three and a half innings.
Gums (0-1) was pulled after allowing another two out rally in the fifth. He was the losing pitcher.
Long Beach went down quietly in the batter’s box after falling behind 4-1 in the fifth. Hughey provided the exception with an RBI double to deep center in the sixth, marking his fourth consecutive game with an RBI.
“We’re leaving too many guys on base right now,” Hughey said.
The Dirtbags return home for a three-game series against Fullerton beginning 6 p.m. Friday at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field.