Everything feels different about this Long Beach State Dirtbags season under first-year coach Eric Valenzuela, and that includes raised expectations.
Despite winning their fourth consecutive weekend series at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field over Xavier, and moving as high as No. 12 in the national rankings, the Dirtbags (10-5) couldn’t complete the sweep of the visiting Musketeers on Sunday.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Valenzuela said. “That was our worst loss of the year, by far, but we’re not going to harp on it. I just think we’ve got guys pressing.”
A two-out solo home run in the 11th inning proved to be the difference on Sunday as Xavier salvaged a 2-1 win. The Dirtbags struggled offensively again with 10 men stranded on base and failed to score in the final eight innings. LBSU only had three hits in the 3-1 win on Saturday.
“There comes a point where guys start thinking individually,” Valenzuela said. “It’s early in the season, you’re winning games and you’re individual statistics don’t mean anything. Now we’re a little further in and guys hitting .165 are starting to press. It’s guys trying to do too much.”
LBSU got another handful of impressive pitching performances. Junior lefty Adam Seminaris struck out a career-high 14 batters in seven innings of the 4-0 win on Friday night. The last time a Dirtbags pitcher struck out 14 was Jered Weaver in 2004. He won the Golden Spikes Award that season.
“This year is all about winning ball games for me,” Seminaris said. “The stats are cool, I just want to win. That’s the biggest thing.”
Sophomore lefty Alfredo Ruiz picked up his third win of the season on Saturday while he struck out seven in five innings. Reliever Tyler Gums returned from injury and pitched three scoreless innings to earn the save.
On Sunday, freshman pitcher Luis Ramirez scattered five hits and three walks in a career-high eight innings. Seminaris, Ruiz and Ramirez have combined for a 1.96 ERA in 11 starts. They also have an impressive 87 strikeouts in 73.1 innings.
LBSU Men’s Volleyball
No. 4 LBSU (10-1) rolled to its sixth consecutive win by sweeping Lindenwood 25-20, 25-20, 25-23 at Walter Pyramid last weekend. Redshirt sophomore Spencer Olivier led the way with 11 kills and junior setter Carlos Rivera helped the Beach hit over .300 as a team for the seventh straight match.
Long Beach City College Baseball
The Vikings (17-4, 8-1) had their nine-game winning streak snapped in an 11-1 conference loss to Mt. San Antonio. LBCC won the series with a pair of one-run victories. In the first game, sophomore pitcher Noel Soto (4-1) limited the Mounties to one run on three hits while striking out five. Freshman pitcher and Lakewood High alum Mitchell Knight came in for his fourth save. Knight is on the conference leaderboard with a 1.29 ERA.
LBSU Women’s Basketball
The Beach (13-16, 8-8) is back at Walter Pyramid tonight where the first round of the Big West Conference Tournament is being hosted. LBSU is the No. 5 seed and will face No. 8 seed Cal Poly at 6 p.m. tonight.
LBSU closed the season with a pair of victories over Cal State Fullerton and first-place UC Davis. Sophomore Justina King was named to the All-Big West Conference Second Team as well as the All-Defensive Team. King finished the regular season leading the Beach in scoring (13.8 ppg) and assists (96).
LBSU Men’s Basketball
After a roller coaster regular season the Beach (11-21, 6-10) finished eighth in the Big West, and will face top-seed and regular season champion UC Irvine in the first round of the conference tournament on Thursday at Honda Center.
The Beach took down UC Irvine 63-56 at Walter Pyramid in January, but lost to the Anteaters on the road 70-55 last month.
One of the top moments of the LBSU season came on Senior Night last week when Jordan Griffin led his team to an 80-73 overtime win over Cal Poly at Walter Pyramid. The victory saved the Beach from missing the conference tournament for the first time in 15 years.
LBSU Women’s Water Polo
A defensive battle gave LBSU (12-6, 1-0) a 6-4 win over visiting UC San Diego in the Big West Conference opener at Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center last weekend. Sarah Barker scored three goals to pace the Beach and Eirini Patras was stellar in the cage with eight saves and three steals.
The Vikings women’s team defeated El Camino and East Los Angeles in a dual meet at LBCC last weekend. Freshman Rachel Westphal won the 200-yard freestyle (2:08.94) the 50-yard freestyle (26.40) and the 100-yard freestyle (58.88). Freshman Maggie Damon took the top spot in the 100-yard individual medley (2:34.17) and in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:48.59).
LBSU Women’s Tennis
The Beach (7-4, 3-1) picked up a 6-1 Big West win over Cal State Fullerton at Rhodes Tennis Center last week. Natalia Munoz led the way with a 6-1, 7-6 win at singles and a 6-2 victory at doubles with teammate Zara Lennon.
LBCC Men’s Volleyball
The Vikings (10-1, 3-0) extended their winning streak to eight games by sweeping Pierce on the road. Freshman Erik Hernandez put down a team-high 17 kills.
LBSU Track & Field
Cole Bosley made an impressive debut by winning the 800 meter race at the Beach Opener hosted at Jack Rose Track. It was the largest field yet for the LBSU outdoor season opener.
The Beach (12-11) salvaged an 8-0 victory over San Diego State at the LBSU Softball Complex last weekend as part of the Louisville Slugger Invitational. LBSU also lost to No. 18 Minnesota and No. 22 UCF. Pitcher Kellie White struck out 14 in a pair of complete games against Minnesota and SDSU.