FROM LBSU REPORTS
Behind another terrific start from sophomore Zak Baayoun, Long Beach State (9-13) took game one of its non-conference rivalry series at Cal State Fullerton (8-11), winning 5-2 on Friday night at Goodwin Field.
Baayoun went a career-best 8.0 innings on Friday, allowing an unearned run on three hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts. The run came in the first inning on a pair of singles that didn’t leave the infield, and were balls that could have been converted to outs. After the Titans scored to tie the game, Baayoun settled in and retired 10 in a row. After Fullerton got two runners on in the fifth, Baayoun again retired 10 straight batters to get through his eight full frames. An impressive six of those eight innings were of the 1-2-3 variety.
The offense came early for the Dirtbags on Friday. In fact, it couldn’t have come any faster. Jarren Duran turned on a first-pitch fastball from Titans starter Colton Eastman, crushing it over the netting in left field for a no-doubt home run on the first pitch of the game. It’s Duran’s second home run of the season and third of his career. The last Dirtbag to homer on the first pitch of a game was Brock Lundquist, who went deep at UC Santa Barbara in last season’s Big West opener on Mar. 31.
LBSU took the lead back in the third inning on an RBI groundout from Clayton Andrews, bringing home Santino Rivera who led off the inning with a double. The Dirtbags scored twice in the fourth on an RBI infield single from Chris Jimenez, then an RBI single up the middle from Leonard Jones. Jimenez delivered another RBI in the eighth, executing a squeeze bunt to score Andrews who led off the inning with a triple. The freshman Jimenez now has 16 RBIs to lead the team.
After things got a little sloppy in the ninth inning, Chris Rivera was able to come in and record his sixth save of the season, needing five pitches to collect the game’s final out with the potential tying run on first base.
The Dirtbags and Titans will be back at it on Saturday for a 6 p.m. first pitch. Long Beach State will send reigning Big West Pitcher of the Week Tyler Radcliffe (1-2, 2.57 ERA) to the hill to go against Fullerton RHP Tommy Wilson (3-0, 2.28 ERA).