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College Notebook: Long Beach State Dirtbags Hot Start

New Long Beach State Dirtbags head coach Eric Valenzuela is a renowned pitching coach, and it showed last weekend at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field where the Dirtbags took the season opening series from visiting Cal.

LBSU (2-1) got a pair of phenomenal starts from pitchers Adam Seminaris and Alfredo Ruiz in the wins on Friday and Saturday night. They combined to pitch 13 shutout innings with 21 strikeouts and no walks. Ruiz as named the Big West Pitcher of the Week after he only gave up two singles in seven scoreless innings. Neither ball made it out of the infield.

“We’re pumped,” Valenzuela said. “The energy on Friday night in that long game was unbelievable. What an amazing weekend. We’ll take the two out of three from a quality program.”

Leadoff hitter Calvin Estrada finished with a team-high five hits, including two doubles, and three runs scored on the weekend. Cal avoided the sweep by winning 7-5 on Sunday.

The Dirtbags host Washington tonight, and No. 14 Wake Forest this weekend.

PODCAST: LB Fee Show With Dirtbags Coach Eric Valenzuela

LBSU Softball

The Beach (5-5) only won two of its games at the Hillenbrand Invitational in Arizona, but one of them was a 5-4 comeback victory over No. 2 Oklahoma. The upset was sparked by a two-out, four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Alyssa Gonzalez capped the rally with a 2-run double to give the Sooners their first loss. Gonzalez had seven hits, including three doubles, in five games in Arizona.

The Beach will be at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City this weekend.

LBSU Men’s Basketball

A pair of dramatic wins got LBSU (9-17, 4-6) out of the Big West basement last weekend.

The roller coaster season continued with a 50-49 upset win at Hawaii last Wednesday. It’s the first LBSU win on the island since 2016, and it’s the first Big West home loss for Hawaii.

“We knew that we had no chance trying to run with (Hawaii) and try to outscore them, so we needed to control the tempo and make this an ugly game,” LBSU coach Dan Monson said. “They really bought into the game plan and we won that game on the defensive end.”

LBSU held Hawaii to 33.3 percent shooting and a season-low points, while freshman Joshua Morgan scored a team-high 11 points with a notable three blocks. His 60 blocks are a single season record at the Beach.

On Saturday, sophomore Michael Carter III hit a game-winning jumper in overtime to beat UC Riverside 65-63 at Walter Pyramid. The Beach scored 23 points off of 20 forced turnovers to hold off the Highlanders.

LBSU visits UC Irvine on Wednesday, and return home to host Hawaii on Saturday.

Long Beach City College Baseball

The Vikings (9-3) finished last week with a 6-3 win at home over Grossmont. Freshman pitcher and Lakewood High alum Mitchell Knight picked up his third win of the season while giving up one run on four hits in five innings. Lucas Gonzalez, Matthew Pinal, Tyler Vargas and Hunter Baclig all hit doubles for LBCC.

LBSU Women’s Basketball

The Beach (11-13, 6-5) split a pair of strong defensive games last week with a win over UC Santa Barbara and loss to UCR. Justina King led the Beach with 20.0 points per game last week including a season-high 23-point performance at UCR.

LBCC Women’s Basketball

The Vikings (18-8, 8-0) stayed undefeated in South Coast Conference play with wins over Cerritos and Compton last week. LBCC edged Cerritos 67-64 at home thanks to freshman wing Donavion Huskey. She led the way again with 16 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

LBCC basketball closes out the regular season at home against El Camino on Friday night.

LBCC Men’s Basketball

The Vikings (17-9, 4-4) picked up a wild 119-101 double overtime win at Compton last week. LBCC took a 51-34 lead into halftime, but Compton outscored the Vikings 51-34 in the second half to force overtime. In the second extra five-minute period LBCC outscored Compton 23-5 to grab the win.

LBSU Women’s Tennis

The Beach ran its win streak to four with a pair of solid wins over Oregon and Saint Mary’s over the weekend. LBSU has outscored its opponents 19-4 during the winning streak.

LBCC Men’s Volleyball

The Vikings (5-1) picked up a big victory at top-ranked Orange Coast College, and closed out the win by taking the fourth-set 43-41. Sophomore Uriel Batista had a team-high 19 kills for LBCC.

LBSU Indoor Track & Field

Senior Jason Smith again made headlines by finishing as the top collegiate performer in the men’s long jump (25’ 10.25”) at the USATF Indoor Championships last week. He also set a new school record in the event.

LBCC Softball

The Vikings swept Chaffey 6-1 and 11-0 in a double header at Mayfair Park last Saturday. Sophomore Jade Wittman is leading the LBCC offense with 14 hits and six RBIs this year.

LBSU Men’s Volleyball

The only action for No. 4 LBSU last weekend came in the annual alumni match. Some of the former LBSU players who made their return to the Beach included Taylor Crabb, Brett Winslow, Brett Schroder, Chris Sieffert, Andrew Sato and Ian Satterfield.

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.