The Long Beach State Dirtbags (8-12) won their first series of the season over the weekend at Blair Field by taking two of three games against Tulane, and just like the rest of this injury-riddled season has gone for LBSU, it didn’t come without pain and sacrifice.
The Dirtbags took the series with a 1-0 win on Sunday thanks to a stellar performance from starter Tyler Radcliffe. The Wilson High alum threw a career-best seven scoreless innings with one hit and six strike outs. However, he was supposed to start on Saturday. Radcliffe was hit on the hand by a foul ball while sitting in the third-base dugout charting pitches on Friday night.
“I heard it hit a hand and hoped it was (assistant coach Greg Bergeron) who got hit,” LBSU coach Troy Buckley said. “We’ve had a lot of injuries to key players. We can’t afford many more.”
“I told the coaches I needed one day and took care of it all day Saturday with ice and anti-inflammatory, and got it in a good enough spot to pitch today,” Radcliffe said. “I was going to do whatever it takes to get out there. I knew this was a big game to take our first series. It’s a good confidence builder winning a game 1-0.”
Radcliffe, who missed the beginning of the season recovering from a knee injury, only allowed one baserunner after escaping a bases loaded jam in the third inning. He retired the final 11 batters he faced, and the performance earned him the Big West Pitcher of the Week award. Radcliffe lowered his season ERA to 2.57, which is the best on the team among pitchers who’ve thrown at least 10 innings this season.
Designated hitter Laine Huffman, who is trying to work his way back from a shoulder injury, drove in Sunday’s winning run. Closer Chris Rivera picked up his fifth save of the season by picking up the final five outs.
On Friday night, it only took five pitches for the Dirtbags to score twice as they rolled to a 13-2 win. LBSU starter Zak Baayoun pitched seven strong innings of 3-hit baseball while striking out 10 batters for the second time this season. Meanwhile, 15 Dirtbags had 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.”
Tulane bounced back with 16 hits of its own during a 10-6 win over LBSU on Saturday. Andrews gave himself the lead with an RBI double in the third inning, but the junior pitcher gave up seven hits and five runs in four innings as he took his fourth loss in five starts.
No. 22 LBSU (24-7) won all five of its games last week after celebrating the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new clubhouse at the LBSU Softball Complex. The 49ers beat Texas Tech and Monmouth at home before taking down Fairfield, Colgate and Loyola Marymount over the weekend at the Loyola Marymount Tournament.
Sophomore Taylor Rowland racked up 14 RBIs last week and was named Big West Player of the Week. She hit .625 for the week, and had multiple RBI in four straight games. After driving in a pair of runs against Monmouth on Wednesday, Rowland then went 9-for-1 with three doubles, two home runs, a walk and a sacrifice fly over three games at the LMU tournament.
The top-ranked 49ers (19-0, 4-0) took back-to-back matches off of No. 12 UC Santa Barbara last weekend. LBSU hit .427 in the victories and limited the Gauchos to a .190 attack percentage. Junior libero Jordan Molina led the defensive effort with a pair of double-figure dig efforts, and freshman Simon Anderson was named Big West Freshman of the Week for the sixth time after putting down 15 kills on 24 attempts without committing an error.
Junior Anete Brinke and senior Sasha Karelov were a perfect 4-0 last week as No. 8 LBSU won all four of its matches against Missouri State, Colorado Mesa, TCU and No. 4 Florida State. Brinke and Karelov were moved up to the No. 1 spot for the final two matches.
LBSU (6-6) was edged by Purdue 4-3 on Saturday at Rhodes Tennis Center. LBSU senior Lena Pacholski won at doubles and in the No. 1 singles match, but Purdue won the next three matches.
Women’s Water Polo
LBSU (9-10, 1-1) beat Bucknell 8-5 last week to improve to 3-0 at home, but lost a Big West match at UC Davis 8-7.
Track & Field
Bria Palmer won the women’s high jump, and Courtne’ Davis ran the second-fastest 200-meter time in school history at the Baldy Castillo Invitational.
LBSU finished in fourth out of 15 teams at the GCU Invitational in Phoenix while Joe Fryer and Hunter Reed finished tied for sixth.