The narrative is a familiar one by now: The Dirtbags have a chance, squander it, then lose to whoever they happen to be playing. The mistakes came early Tuesday night in front of a miniscule crowd in a 6-5 loss to LMU at Blair Field.
“We’re trying to win games early, and trying not to lose late, and you can’t do either,” co-interim head coach Greg Bergeron said.
The Dirtbags (8-34, 2-10 Big West) put all the troubles they’ve been having recently on full display. The pitching couldn’t find the strike zone. The defense made mental mistakes. The offense stranded runners.
In the first inning, sophomore third baseman Santino Rivera might have made a play on a single, but he fell down when the ball was hit. Two more singles gave the Lions a 2-0 lead.
LMU (26-18, 13-8 West Coast Conference) could have had an inning-ending double play in the second, but a throwing error left two runners on the bases. Freshman shortstop Kaden Hogan lined a ball into left tying the game, 2-2. Without the mistakes in the first, the hit would have given the Dirtbags a two run lead.
“We really need to take what’s given to us and continue to put pressure on other teams and not give games away,” sophomore catcher Chris Jimenez said.
Long Beach was gifted a 3-2 lead that inning when a wild pitch scored Hogan. The three runs were scored on just one hit.
Dirtbags senior RHP John Sheaks collapsed in the fourth when he threw a wild pitch, allowed three singles, giving LMU a 4-3 lead.
Long Beach failed to string hits together and wasted a leadoff double in the home half of the fourth.
However, helped by a seventh inning game-tying double by Jimenez, the Dirtbags managed to enter the ninth ahead 5-4.
Junior Reliever Tyler Gums allowed two baserunners before junior reliever Dylan Spacke (0-3) blew the save. He allowed two singles and two runs putting LMU ahead for good.
“You can’t protect a lead in baseball,” Bergeron said. “You can’t run out the clock.”