Long Beach State

Long Beach State Dirtbags Rout Tulane With Quick Start

It only took five pitches for the Long Beach State Dirtbags to score twice on Friday night at Blair Field where they rolled to a 13-2 win over Tulane. The Dirtbags (7-11) have won consecutive games for only the second time this season.

LBSU starter Zak Baayoun pitched seven strong innings of 3-hit baseball while striking out 10 batters for the second time this season. Meanwhile, LBSU had 15 hits and seven different Dirtbags drove in runs. Freshman catcher Chris Jimenez had two hits and three RBIs, while junior center fielder Clayton Andrews had four hits, three runs and an RBI.

Dirtbags coach Troy Buckley said after the game that his team took some of their best and most confident swings of the season.

“I thought we directed the ball better and hit the ball harder regardless of the score or runs, and the base running was really good,” Buckley said. “There’s certainly progress in the right direction.”

Baayoun (3-2) struck out five of the first six batters he faced, and didn’t allow a runner to reach scoring position until the fifth inning when Tristan Mercadel made a highlight catch against the left field wall.

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Tristan Mercadel with a highlight catch in left! #GoBeach #Robbery #SCTop10 https://t.co/aU43baFrUh

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The Dirtbags scored six runs in the first two innings off of Tulane starter Kaleb Roper. Second baseman Jarren Duran went the other way on a 1-0 pitch and doubled into the left field corner just inches from the foul line.

On the next pitch, Andrews laid down what Buckley called “one of the best bunts of the season” down the third base line and beat the throw for an infield single. Duran came into score on the next pitch when catcher Chris Jimenez singled off of shortstop Sal Gozzo’s glove.

Andrews took second with the play in front of him, and Jiminez broke for second on the first pitch to Brooks Stotler. He got caught in a pickle that allowed Andrews to score for the 2-0 lead.

“The goal was to be committed to the fast ball and that’s pretty much what they were doing,” Buckley said.

Mercadel led off the second by beating out a popped up bunt for an infield single, and stole second before Santino Rivera drove him in on the next pitch with a clean single to center field.

A walk and an error loaded the bases, and Jimenez scored Mercadel with his second RBI single off of Gozzo’s solve. Duran and Andrews scored when Stotler and first baseman Leonard Jones got hit by pitches with the bases loaded.

The Dirtbags batted around for the second time in the game and scored six runs in the sixth. Duran and Andrews both singled to center field and stole second base to lead off the inning against Tulane reliever Trent Johnson. Duran’s seven stolen bases is best in the Big West Conference.

Jimenez drove in his third run of the night with a sacrifice fly to center field, and then Andrews scored on a passed ball. Stotler kept the inning alive with a double into the gap, and after Huffman drew a walk, Jones singled to left field to score Stotler. The fourth Tulane error advanced all of the runners, and a Mercadel sac fly scored Huffman. Robinson brought home Jones with a double to the left field wall, and Rivera scored Robinson on a single to center.

Tulane scored both of its runs in the eighth off of Dirtbags reliever Sebastian Sanchez, but the senior limited the damage by leaving the bases loaded.

Andrews drove in a run in the bottom of the inning, and the Dirtbags also left the bases loaded.

LBSU has won it’s last three games at home, and is 6-6 at Blair Field this season.

This is the second time these schools have played a nonconference series. Tulane visited Long Beach in 1998, and won two of three games.

BOX SCORE

The series continues at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and concludes at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday. Wilson High alum Tyler Radcliffe (0-2, 5.14) was scheduled to start Saturday but was hit with a foul ball on Friday and won’t pitch this weekend. He went for X-rays on Friday night. Andrews (1-3, 2.52) will get the start on Saturday.

Clayton Andrews Working Double Duty For Long Beach State Dirtbags

PHOTOS: Long Beach State Dirtbags vs. Tulane, Baseball

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.
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