Baseball Long Beach State

Long Beach State Dirtbags Mash UC Riverside In Series Opener

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This group of Long Beach State Dirtbags are chock full of sticktoitiveness. Whether the results are positive or negative, they’ve been dedicated to hard work and improvement all season.

That was on display Friday night as the Dirtbags routed UC Riverside 13-1 on Bohl Diamond at Blair Field. Starting pitcher Myles Patton continued to be stellar at home with his third 10+ strikeout performance while the offense put up 10+ runs in three consecutive games for the first time since 2009.

Dirtbags coach Bryan Peters told his team after the game that Patton embodied the mindset he wants his offense to have.

“He came out and was really sharp after having a great season, and that’s a credit to a guy who is having a good season and is still hungry to get better and working at his craft,” Peters said. “I can say (tonight) that’s what you can see out of this offense.”

Long Beach mashed 13 hits and drew nine walks while John Newman Jr., Adrian Perez and Armando Briseno all hit home runs.

“We had some vulnerabilities, we addressed them and worked really hard,” Peters added about his offense. “I credit our guys for being hungry, willing to adjust and just being coachable in the middle of the season. That’s the product you get. It’s valuing walks and pitch selection. We were easy outs, I’ll say it. There was a point where we were getting ourselves out. We made adjustments within our approaches, intents and swing decisions.”

Briseno has taken that lesson to heart and used it while hitting his eighth inning grand slam over the wall in left field.

“Earlier in the season I felt like I was chasing a lot of pitches that were selling me out of at bats,” he said. “But now my approach is more looking for my pitch, making him come to me.”

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Lopez did the same thing in a way after making an error in the top of the fifth, and then hitting a 2-run home run in the bottom of the frame to deep left center field.

“If you mess up on the field it really can’t carry over to your at bat,” he said. “I just told myself, ‘It’s a different ball game when you get to the plate,’ and just tried to fight. Luckily I got a fastball and I was able to put a good swing on it.”

Briseno and Cole Santander both had three hits while Newman Jr. and Alex Champagne each scored three times. Briseno had a team-high five RBI.

Patton continued to impress the home crowd while only giving up two hits, four walks and an unearned run. He now has 78 strikeouts in 59.1 innings this season. 

“It’s just playing hard-nosed baseball and keeping that standard in everything we do,” he said. “And it’s the community. Long Beach is a very strong city with a lot of history here. We’re just trying to show the guys that came before us, like the 1989 team that threw out the first pitch tonight, that we’re still trying to carry on the same tradition and legacy.”

The Dirtbags (20-14-1, 7-9) continue their series with UCR (10-22, 1-12) on Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and there will be a postgame fireworks show.

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.