Baseball Long Beach State

Dirtbags Drop Series Finale, Swept by UCI

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Sometimes in baseball, all it takes are a couple mistakes to secure a victory. UC Irvine took advantage of Dirtbags pitching mistakes and a struggling offense to outlast them 4-1 at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field Sunday afternoon, completing a three-game series sweep.

Before the game, the Dirtbags held a Mothers Day ceremony on the field, where the players gifted flowers and took pictures with their moms to celebrate them on their special day. 

“Ceremonies like these remind us to reflect and realize that some things are bigger than baseball,” said Dirtbags coach Bryan Peters. “Our players try and take time to get to know each other through their families, learn about their family dynamic and hear about great things that have happened to them beyond just baseball.”

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The Dirtbags struck first in the bottom of the first, as John Newman Jr. mashed an RBI triple into right field to score Nick Marinconz from first, who had reached base on a fielding error from UCI.

However, UCI responded in the top of the third. Following a single and back-to-back walks given up by Dirtbags starter Kellan Montgomery, UCI’s Anthony Martinez struck a three-run RBI triple down the right field line that emptied the bases. Martinez came around to score on a sacrifice fly, giving UCI a 4-1 lead.

UCI’s second big inning came in the top of the ninth, where Caden Kendle smashed a three run home run over the left field wall to extend UCI’s lead 7-1. 

“Give credit to UCI, they are a really good team, they have an identity,” said Peters. “Today came down to just a couple big hits, other than those mistakes I felt we pitched well enough to win the game.”

Kellan Montgomery got the start for the Dirtbags and pitched 5.1 innings, giving up 7 hits 4 runs and striking out two batters. Nathen Morris followed in relief, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings. 

Aside from the first inning, the Dirtbags offense was held quiet for most of the afternoon, recording just three hits as their bats were kept in check by UCI starter Tim Grack and relievers Ricky Ojeda and Ricky Tibbett.

“Our offense just didn’t give us enough,” said Peters. “Too many easy outs, lack of adjustments at the plate, not sticking to a certain plan. I felt the offense let us down today, whether it be because of fatigue or lack of adjustments.”

The Dirtbags will look to get back on track against California Baptist Monday evening, followed by another home weekend series against Hawaii.

“Overall, we just need to do a better job making in-game adjustments and establishing our identity from the start,” said Peters.

PHOTOS: Long Beach State Dirtbags Swept By No. 16 UC Irvine
Sai Trivedi
Born and raised in Long Beach, Sai Trivedi is a senior at LB Poly High School. His love of sports started when he was seven watching games with his Dad. Sai has dabbled in podcasting and writing about sports and enjoys playing guitar and tennis.