Long Beach State

Long Beach State Notebook: Softball Earns Impressive Sweep

The Big West softball season has officially become a two-team race after last weekend’s results. Second-place Long Beach State dominated third-place Hawaii on the islands with a four-game sweep, which included three run-rule victories and a combined score of 50-15.

Long Beach came out slugging, hitting a combined seven home runs in the first doubleheader last Friday, getting grand slams from Naomi Hernandez and Justine Briones. The Beach jumped all over the Rainbow Wahine on Saturday, scoring a whopping 13 first-inning runs in the third game of the series, tied for the second-most runs in a single inning in program history. LBSU ended up winning the game 17-9, amassing the highest run total for the Beach in a Big West game since 2005.

Long Beach State scored at least eight runs in all four games, and appear to have things humming at the right time. The Beach will have its Big West bye this week — hosting a doubleheader against Cal instead — but line up for a Big West championship showdown against conference leaders Cal State Fullerton on May 14-15 at the LBSU Softball Complex.


The Dirtbags continue to play some good baseball, but remain stuck on .500 and are running out of chances to move up the conference standings. LBSU has now earned a series split in each of its last three conference series, and are entrenched right in the middle of the conference pack.

Long Beach State went on the road against conference-leading and No. 24-ranked UC Irvine and went 2-2 on the weekend despite out-scoring the Anteaters 29-19. After dropping the opener 12-5, the Dirtbags picked up a 13-4 win to open Saturday’s doubleheader, fueled by six RBIs from Charlie Loust — the most by a Dirtbag in a single game in a decade.

The series hinged on Game 3, when the teams combined for five runs in the first inning but didn’t score again as UC Irvine held onto a slim 3-2 advantage for the remaining eight frames. Long Beach State got a solid start from Jack Noble in Sunday’s finale and Devereaux Harrison tossed a four-inning save to give the Dirtbags a 9-0 win, but LBSU was unable to gain any ground on the conference leaders.

Eric Valenzuela’s squad has four series left on the schedule, starting with a trip to UC Riverside this weekend.

Beach Volleyball

Long Beach State hosted the Big West Beach Volleyball Championships last weekend, with top-seeded Cal Poly winning its second straight conference title. The Beach fell 4-1 to the Mustangs in the semifinals to end its season.

LBSU did earn victories over Sacramento State (5-0), UC Davis (4-1), and Cal State Bakersfield (5-0) in the tournament. The pair of Emily Mattoon and Jillian Rodriguez went 4-1 on the weekend, picking up LBSU’s lone point in the match with Cal Poly with a 29-31, 21-17, 15-13 victory at the No. 4 flight.

Women’s Water Polo

Long Beach State finished its season in the Big West Tournament semifinals after knocking off No. 4 seed UC Davis, 9-7, in the opening round. The No. 5-seed Beach earned the mini upset over the Aggies behind a hat trick from sophomore Sarah Barker.

LBSU’s season came to a close against top-seeded Hawaii with a 16-9 loss in the semifinals last Saturday.

Track & Field

The Beach showcased its jumpers over the weekend, giving junior Crystal Washington the chance to make some school history. The Carson native posted a 41’1″ in the triple jump, which matches the school record set in 2008 by Miia Mobley. Washington has improved her personal best in the event for three consecutive weeks as she continued her strong season with an event win at the Jumps Fest hosted at Jack Rose Track.

Jason Smith was also an event winner in the men’s long jump (25’1.25″), Porte Joie Tshiaba won the men’s high jump (6’11.5″) and Preston Sladek shared the top spot in the men’s pole vault (15’9.25″).

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Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.