Dirtbags Jump on Top Early to Take Series from Fullerton

Long Beach State took full advantage of some early miscues to build an early lead and eventually take the series finale 6-1 over visiting Cal State Fullerton. Garrett Hampson went 3-for-4 and scored twice while the Dirtbags pitchers surrendered just one unearned run.

After a bizarre first frame, the Dirtbags (12-8) found themselves up 4-0 with the help of a couple Titan miscues. Zack Domingues drew a one-out walk to start the rally and moved all the way up to third when the Titan left fielder couldn’t come up with a diving attempt on Zack Rivera’s sinking line drive.

With runners on second and third, Luke Rasmussen’s sharp one-hopper was snagged by John Gavin on the mound, leaving Domingues in no-man’s land between third and home. After a short rundown, Domingues retreated to third but Rivera had already moved up from second to third and Rasmussen had gone all the way to second.

As Domingues retreated, Rivera headed back toward second and Rasmussen to first. A throw-back to first from across the diamond went wild and up the first base line, allowing Domingues and Rivera to score and Rasmussen to move up all the way to third for a 2-0 Dirtbags lead.

Alex Bishop made the lead 3-0 when his grounder to short brought in Rasmussen. Nico Maida kept the inning going with a single into right. He then stole second to move into scoring position. The Titans (11-11) looked to be out of the inning when Jonathan Serven popped up high above home plate for what should have been the third out but a miscommunication among the infielders allowed the ball to drop and Maida, who was off and running on contact, easily scored before the ball fell back to the Earth.

That would be all Chris Mathewson needed in run support as he held the Titans to just one unearned run but the Dirtbags weren’t done. Garrett Hampson tripled to lead off the second for his first of three hits on the day and later scored as he beat the throw home after Domingues grounded out to the pitcher. He scored again in the seventh when he singled with one out and scored on Domingues’ double.

In his first start at home since his no-hitter, Mathewson put together seven effective innings for his second win. Tyler Stieb led off the game with a single to dispel any hopes of a repeat performance but it would be one of just four hits Mathewson would allow through seven innings. He struck out seven and walked three along the way.

The Titans picked up their run after a two-out triple from David Olmedo-Barrera was cashed in on a Dirtbags error in the sixth. Logan Lombana shut down the Titans in the eighth and Ty Provencher tossed a perfect ninth to close out the game.

The Dirtbags jump into Big West play next week with a trip north for a three-game series at UC Santa Barbara. The series opens on Friday at 3 p.m.