The No. 25 Long Beach State Dirtbags riled up the crowd Friday night with its fifth consecutive victory, upsetting No. 6 Mississippi State 3-0 at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field.
Long Beach’s (7-2) winning streak includes four games against top-20 ranked opponents.
“They weren’t scared of who the opponent was at all,” Dirtbags head coach Eric Valenzuela said.
After missing a start last weekend due to a violation of team rules, Dirtbags junior left-handed ace Adam Seminaris returned with a vengeance. He relied on both fly balls and strikeouts to tear through the Bulldogs’ lineup.
“[Valenzuela] calls a great game,” Seminaris said. “I just throw what he puts down, he keeps them on their toes.”
Seminaris hurled a season-high eight shutout innings, striking out 10 batters, walking two and throwing one wild pitch.
Allowing just one hit to Mississippi State, a single to lead off the sixth inning, Seminaris became the first Dirtbags pitcher to throw at least 10 strikeouts in consecutive starts since Clayton Andrews in April 2018.
“Everything was working tonight,” Seminaris said. “It was fun.”
The Dirtbags offense jumped on the Bulldogs early with three singles in the first inning. Senior left fielder Aidan Malm scorched a two-RBI single for a 2-0 Dirtbags’ lead.
“How you beat a team like [Mississippi State] is you bully them,” Valenzuela said.
Opponents have struggled to erase deficits against the Dirtbags’ elite pitching staff this season. Entering Friday, Long Beach’s team ERA was 1.66, the 10th best mark in Division I baseball.
Bulldogs junior RHP Carlisle Koestler fell into a groove of his own. After his rocky first inning, Koestler did not allow a hit until the sixth, when Dirtbags redshirt freshman center fielder Connor Kokx collected his second single of the game.
Kokx has seven hits during his four-game hitting streak and leads the team with a .500 batting average.
Dirtbags sophomore shortstop Tyler Porter knocked Koestler out of the game and provided insurance with an RBI-double in the seventh.
“We kinda keep them where it’s like a caged dog,” Valenzuela said, “then we kinda just free them up and let them go.”
No. 25 Long Beach State will host No. 6 Mississippi state in game two of the series Saturday, Feb. 29, at 3 p.m. at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field.