When it rains it pours.
This phrase became an all too true reality for the Long Beach State Dirtbags in their Friday night season opener against Hawai’i. Amid sporadic and harsh rainfall, Long Beach committed back-to-back errors in the bottom of the ninth, losing their lead and ultimately, the game.
Hawai’i escaped with a 3-2 win in the first of a four-game series.
The Dirtbags came out of the gate looking determined. Early in the first, senior outfielder Calvin Estrada hit a dinger down the middle of the field for a lead off double. Freshman infielder Connor Kokx quickly capitalized on this, sending one down the right side of the field to bring in Estrada and put Long Beach on the board 1-0.
Alfredo Ruiz was the Dirtbags starting pitcher for the night, and he was able to keep up the pace for the Beach. He allowed just one earned run throughout five innings and struck out six ‘Bows.
Ruiz found himself in a tough situation with bases loaded in the second, but escaped the inning with no runs from Hawai’i.
‘Bows starting pitcher Aaron Davenport returned with the same focus. He struck out Dirtbags and allowed no runs until the fourth inning.
Freshman infielder Jonathan Long hit a ball right down the right foul line, barely making it in to earn a double. Long was brought in from a bloop by junior Thomas Greely. The Beach held a 2-0 lead at the top of the fourth.
Hawai’i creeped onto the boards with a run in the bottom of the fourth. After getting multiple singles and runners on bases, Tyler Best was brought in on a double to gain the Rainbow Warrior’s first points of the night.
Long Beach spent the next couple of innings getting runners on bases, but unable to bring them home. Relief pitcher Jonathan Lavallee was brought in the bottom of the sixth and struck out five Hawai’i hitters in 2.2 innings.
The Dirtbags nearly lost their lead in the bottom of the eighth, as an error resulted in runners on first and second. Lavallee walked the next hitter to get bases loaded with two outs. Long Beach brought in Devereaux Harrison to get out of the jam. He quickly struck out the next Hawai’i hitter to escape the inning with the lead.
Unfortunately, the eighth inning was just the beginning of Long Beach’s troubles. In the bottom of the ninth, it looked like the Dirtbags would earn their first win of the season.
Gusting winds and rainfall signaled a change in Long Beach’s luck. A leadoff single and a ‘Bow being walked to first put two runners on bases with no outs. The next hit from Hawai’i went just above first baseman Estrada’s glove and allowed the ‘Bows to tie up the game 2-2.
With no time to grieve, Long Beach committed yet another error down the left side of the field, allowing Hawai’i to steal the game 3-2.
The Dirtbags will continue their series against the Rainbow Warriors in a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 4:05 p.m. Games will be streamed via Big West.