Baseball Long Beach State

PREVIEW: Dirtbags Host Nevada This Weekend

The Long Beach State Dirtbags will be at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field all weekend for three games against Nevada in their first home series of the season. The Dirtbags (0-4) lost to San Diego in their home opener on Tuesday. SEE PHOTOS

Lakewood High alum Matt Fields will get the start for the Dirtbags tonight at 6 p.m. Fields received a medical redshirt in 2017 and missed all of last season, but the sophomore looked great when he struck out four batters in 2.1 innings out of the bullpen at No. 3 Florida last weekend. The right-handed pitcher went 7-3 with a 1.20 ERA as a senior at Lakewood, while striking out 64 batters in 58.1 innings.

Starting pitchers Adam Seminaris, Zak Baayoun, Alfredo Ruiz and Basilio Pacheco have combined to give up 16 runs in 21 innings pitched. However, the Dirtbags bullpen has been phenomenal with a 0.73 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched. The relievers have combined for 12 strikeouts, and have allowed opposing batters to hit just .116 this season.

“So far they’ve gotten better every day,” catcher Chris Jimenez said. “Even from Friday night at Florida to today we’ve thrown a lot more strikes, and first pitch strikes. We’ve got to execute our ‘get them out’ pitch. With two strikes we’ve got to really dig deep and throw our best stuff.”

LBSU has struggled mightily on offense in the first week of the season, and are only hitting .180 as a team. Shortstop Santino Rivera leads the team with five hits, and Aidan Malm has a team-high two RBIs after hitting a home run at Florida.

“Offensively it’s a problem right now as far as putting at bats together,” Dirtbags coach Troy Buckley said. “Guys are trying to do too much with long swings. It’s not that difficult, but we’re really choke holding ourselves when runners are in scoring position. That’s more mental than it is physical.”

Nevada head coach TJ Bruce and assistant Abe Alvarez are both former Dirtbags. Nevada won two of three games at the Texas St. Tournament last weekend while scoring 23 runs. The Wolf Pack are defending Mountain West champions.

This nonconference series continues on Saturday at 6 p.m. when the injured John Sheaks could make his return to the mound, and it concludes at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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.