The third double allowed by Dirtbags pitching in the seventh inning against Cal Poly Tuesday yanked the hope away from the crowd at Blair Field. A 2-0 lead turned to a 4-2 deficit in three outs as the Dirtbags dropped the series opener 4-2.
“The game just kinda got away from us,” co-interim head coach Dan Ricabal said.
The defeat drops the Dirtbags (7-28, 2-5 Big West) to eighth in the Big West Conference. The game happened hours after the NCAA put Cal Poly’s (17-17, 8-2 Big West) athletic program under two years of probation for overpaying athletes’ textbook stipends. The probation does not include a postseason ban.
Dirtbags sophomore LHP Adam Seminaris also made Cal Poly play early. He had five strikeouts through three innings. Seminaris went six and a third innings allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
“His fastball command was as good as it’s been all year,” Ricabal said.
The Dirtbags took advantage of Cal Poly’s spot starter Chase Watkins. Long Beach advanced runners to second base in each of their first three offensive innings.
Junior designated hitter Jacob Hughey extended his hitting streak to a career-high five games in the bottom of the first. His double put runners on first and second. Senior first baseman Laine Huffman’s infield single scored a run. Junior second baseman Victor Carlino hit a sacrifice fly. The Dirtbags led 2-0 after one inning.
Cal Poly turned to its bullpen hero Michael Clark in the sixth inning. He shut down the Dirtbags offense.
“He’s got a really good splitter that he keeps down,” Hughey said. “If you don’t make a box adjustment and try to take that late break away, then it’s gonna be tough to hit.”
Seminaris lost command in the seventh. After a leadoff walk, Cal Poly designated hitter Conagher Sands hit an RBI double with nobody out making the score 2-1. Another double tied the game.
“That lead off walk in the top of the seventh was the first step towards that four spot that they scored,” Ricabal said.
Seminaris (2-5) was relieved by junior RHP Tyler Gums who allowed two more RBIs in the inning.
Clark (3-1) pitched four innings and earned the win.
The two teams meet for game two of the series 6 p.m. Friday at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field.