Dirtbags junior catcher Dominic Campeau adjusted his batting gloves with the bases loaded and Long Beach down by a run with two outs in the eighth. The crowd at Blair Field gasped as he launched the first pitch of his at bat into deep center field, then groaned as it fell into the waiting center fielder’s glove as Fullerton defeated the Dirtbags 4-3.
“We need to be more present in what we’re doing,” head coach Troy Buckley said.
In the bottom of the first, Fullerton (10-10) starting RHP Kyle Luckham chased down a ball near first base and executed a spinning glove-hand toss to end the inning. Dirtbags (3-18) and Fullerton fans alike applauded the play.
Luckham (3-2) went a career-long seven innings and struck out a career-high nine batters. The two-hit performance clearly topped that provided from Dirtbags’ starting LHP Adam Seminaris, who battled through five and two thirds innings.
Seminaris (2-3) allowed three runs, one earned, while striking out two and walking one. He allowed seven hits and was tagged with the loss.
“I think he competed, he grinded, he kept us in the game,” Buckley said. “But he’s got room for improvement in terms of just executing.”
In the top of the second inning, Dirtbags junior right fielder Jake Vander Wal chased a hard fly ball to his left and made a run-saving diving catch to end the inning.
“I got a pretty good jump on the ball and I knew if I had a shot to catch it I was gonna do anything I could to keep this game close,” Vander Wal said.
An error from freshman shortstop Kaden Hogan and a wild pitch in the third inning allowed Fullerton to take a 3-0 lead on a double play and a single up the middle by Kameron Guangorena.
Long Beach loaded the bases down by two in the eighth inning then pulled within one when Vander Wal walked. Campeau followed with his flyout out to center.
Fullerton second baseman Hank LaForte’s NCAA-leading 64 game on base streak came to an end Saturday.
Fullerton seeks the sweep 1 p.m. Sunday at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field.