No. 25 Long Beach State Dirtbags cruised past the University of San Diego Tuesday, in an offensive route after the fourth inning, winning 10-3 at Blair Field.
The Dirtbags (6-2) offense combined for 15 hits, constantly putting pressure on the Toreros’ (6-2) pitching.
Senior RHP Tyler Gums made his impact felt early in the first inning in his first Dirtbag debut on the bump, lighting up the crowd with back-to-back strikeouts.
Gums looked strong over three innings of work, striking out four batters while surrendering one hit and no runs.
“We’re hot right now,” Gums said, “so I was just trying to get to the dub for the boys. I had a couple [of] days off and my arm was feeling pretty good, I was able to throw my slider and changeup effectively.”
In a pitchers duel, both Gums and San Diego RHP Jack Hyde were dealing in the first two innings, both showing off their off-speed repertoire.
The bullpen continued to get it done for the Dirtbags, calling on sophomore RHP Ethan Clough, redshirt junior RHP Matt Fields, freshman RHP Devereaux Harrison and junior LHP Adam Seminaris, who combined, only surrendered two hits for the game.
The Dirtbags’ bats proved why the team is ranked 25th in the nation with a four-run explosion in the third inning.
The third inning started off with left fielder Alex Pimentel launching a double off the left-center wall, quickly followed by an RBI single shot up the middle by right fielder Calvin Estrada making it 1-0.
The lead lengthened as sophomore Connor Kokx roped a single down the first base line, followed by a two-run homer down the right-field fence by sophomore first baseman Leonard Jones for an early 4-0 lead.
“I knew it was a fastball coming on a three-one count and I just elevated that thing and it went out,” Jones said. “I gotta give credit to our hitting coach Bryan Peters, he’s done a great job and is the reason why we’ve had so much offensive success.”
The Toreros capitalized on a Dirtbags pitching change and a fielding error in the fourth inning, scoring three runs on a hit by senior shortstop Thomas Luevano and a sacrifice fly by senior third baseman Adam Lopez.
Sophomore RHP Ethan Clough recovered well after the misstep in the fourth, pitching a clean fifth inning while picking up a strikeout along the way.
“Tyler did a really good job tonight coming out early and throwing strikes,” head coach Eric Valenzuela said. “Playing small ball like we did can drive teams crazy and you saw that tonight.”
Senior outfielder Aidan Malm rocketed a line-drive two-run RBI between the shortstop and third baseman, driving in Carlson and Pimentel for a 7-3 lead at the end of the sixth.
Pimental later singled for his second RBI of the night. The Dirtbags went on to score another three runs in the inning for a 10-3 lead, racking up 15 hits for the night.
“It’s great to get this win going into our weekend versus [No. 8] Mississippi State,” Valenzuela said.
The Dirtbags will host a three-game homestand against No. 8 Mississippi State at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field starting Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.