Baseball, Men's Sports, Sports

Long Beach State Dirtbags split series against CSUN with Sunday loss

The Dirtbags concluded their first home series of the season Sunday evening with a 6-1 loss to Cal State Northridge.

Long Beach earned a two-game split in the four-game series.

Northridge starting pitcher Blaine Traxel held the Dirtbags to one run over seven innings pitched.

“That guy [Traxel] pitched on Friday in relief and was able to do that two days later against us, so I hope that shows our guys that’s how your tough, that’s what tough is for a guy to pitch the game of his life probably after he pitched on Friday and got ripped,” said Dirtbags head coach Eric Valenzuela.

Freshman left-hander Basilio Pacheco made his second start of the year for the Beach.

Pacheco, who didn’t pitch past the first inning in his previous start, lasted a little longer this time.

“The goal is always to go deeper into the game, this game compared to the first game [I] felt a lot better, more confident,” said Pacheco.

The Matadores took the lead in the top of the second inning when catcher Sean Kelly hit a solo home run to left field.

Kelly then hit two RBI singles in the top of the third inning, to put Northridge up 3-0.

Sophomore pitcher Jonathan Carlos trotted out of the bullpen to pitch in relief of Pacheco.

CSUN loaded up the bases in the top of the fourth inning, as junior pitcher Matt Fields came into the game to try to limit the damage. Fields appeared to get out of the bases-loaded jam, but an error by shortstop Tanner Carlson allowed a run to cross the plate to make it 4-0.

Long Beach threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning with two runners on but was unable to capitalize.

Junior catcher Chris Jimenez hit a lead off pinch-hit double, followed by an error allowing him to reach third. He later scored on an RBI groundout by Torren Craig to put the Dirtbags on the board.

Northridge increased their lead to 6-1 on a two-run double that hit the glove off center fielder Connor Kokx in the top of the ninth inning. The Dirtbags were unable to respond in the final inning as Northridge secured the win.

“I think we are searching for our identity a bit, I love our team, but I think we are searching for the identity of the ballclub in what direction we want to go, we have high expectations,” said Valenzuela.

The Dirtbags will now prepare for a four-game road series beginning Thursday against UC San Diego.

The first pitch for Thursday’s game is scheduled for 5 p.m, it will be available to watch on ESPN 3.

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