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The Long Beach State baseball team had everything it needed in order to have a special night at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field Friday as the Dirtbags hosted Sacramento State.
LBSU (2-2) welcomed back Dirtbags alum Danny Espinosa to throw out the first pitch to kick start the festivities. Espinosa was just one of several former players that came back and were honored in-between innings.
With Luis Ramirez on the mound, the Dirtbags were primed to continue their momentum after picking up a series win against Mississippi State last weekend that propelled LBSU to a No. 6 national ranking.
The Hornets’ (5-0) Eli Saul had other ideas as he went toe-to-toe against Ramirez, pitching 7.2 innings and striking out nine while giving up only four hits as he kept the Dirtbags bats off balance.
The teams needed extra innings for the game’s first run as Sacramento State’s Cesar Milano jumped on the first pitch of the tenth inning for a go-ahead home run to give the Hornets a 1-0 win.
Without the power of bats to entertain the sellout crowd, LBSU’s new addition to the fan experience, Dieter Ruehle, kept the fans engaged as he played the organ throughout the game and played “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch.
“This was the best crowd we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Long Beach State coach Eric Valenzuela said. “This was electric. I’m sorry we didn’t get the dub for them, but that was a lot of fun.”
After pitching seven shutout innings, Ramirez finished his night with seven strikeouts while giving up only six hits.
In relief, Matt Fields and Ethan Clough pitched two scoreless innings to send the game into extra innings.
The Dirtbags will look to even the series on Saturday with a 3 p.m. first pitch.