Photo and story By Dulce Carillo Contributor
The Long Beach State Dirtbags were dealt an early blow this season, losing their opening series to UC Irvine and going scoreless in an 8-0 loss in the series finale.
The Dirtbags got off to a hot start after scoring two early runs in Friday’s opening game, but were outplayed in the sixth inning when the Anteaters scored and tied the game at 2-2. UCI then cemented their comeback win after a run in the ninth inning, ruining the Dirtbags’ first Big West game of the season.
Saturday’s game was a different story for the Dirtbags; junior left-hand pitcher Clayton Andrews put the team on his back and delivered 11 strikeouts, matching his career-high.
The game went scoreless until second baseman Jarren Duran hit a single to second base, allowing shortstop Santino Rivera to score.
With this narrow 1-0 win and the series now tied at 1-1, with the Dirtbags looked to finish the job on Sunday, but were sorely disappointed.
The battering began in the second inning, when pitcher Tyler Radcliffe allowed three hits and two runs; once the floodgates were opened, they couldn’t be closed.
On offense, LBSU senior left fielder Tristan Mercadel started the bottom of the second with a double to right center. Mercadel and designated hitter Leonard Jones were left on base until third baseman Shaq Robinson reached a fielder’s choice, taking out Mercadel who was heading to third. Shortstop Santino Rivera was then struck out, which ended the inning.
As the Dirtbags struggled to get back in the game, both teams continued to leave men on base and ended innings with no runs until the top of the sixth.
LBSU substituted Radcliffe with another right-handed pitcher, Dylan Spacke, to start the inning. Spacke got off to a good start, getting a strike on his first pitch. The crowd then began to cheer as they waited for Spacke to finish striking out UCI’s Cole Kreuter.
The crowd’s cheers would soon come to an end, however, as Keuter hit a double to deep left-center field. After a promising start, Spacke ended the inning with four runs to his name, which gave the Anteaters a 6-0 lead.
The Dirtbags would then give up their last two runs in the ninth inning, where they gave up a home run to first baseman Ryan Fitzpatrick and a run to designated hitter Mike Peabody.
LBSU’s start of the season has been abysmal thus far, but they’re hoping to get back on track against UCLA on Tuesday at 6 p.m.