Long Beach State Dirtbags beat Washington State in walk-off fashion
After going 0-for-5 Luke Rasmussen delivers game-winning hit.
March 16, 2017
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Junior designated hitter Luke Rasmussen was the hero on Wednesday night against Washington State University, erasing his 0-for-5 night at the plate with the game-winning line drive over the leaping third baseman’s glove.
“I love that situation,” said Rasmussen. “I feel like I shine when the pressure is on in big spots like that.”
After the hit, Rasmussen did his best to flee from his teammates as they chased him into centerfield, swarming him and emptying water bottles over his head.
One night after beating the No. 3 ranked team in the country TCU, the Long Beach State Dirtbags made it two wins in a row with a thrilling 8-7 walk-off victory against Washington State University on Wednesday night at Blair Field.
LBSU (8-8) didn’t play their best baseball, but took advantage of several miscues by the Cougars (10-5) en route to their win.
“When you’re not playing very well and you can still win a game, you’re going to take it,” said head coach Troy Buckley.
With a one run lead in the top of the fourth inning, LBSU freshman starting pitcher John Castro was touched up for back to back solo home runs by right fielder JJ Hancock and left fielder Justin Harrer to give the Cougars a 3-2 lead.
LBSU answered with a two run inning of their own, taking advantage of two errors made by WSU. Sophomore second baseman Jarren Duran lifted a sac fly deep into the outfield, which allowed sophomore right fielder Garrett Nelson to score.
Sophomore relief pitcher Tyler Radcliffe came in to make his first appearance of 2017, but was greeted rather rudely by the Cougar offense. The first batter Radcliffe faced was WSU’s second baseman Dillon Plew, who sent a fastball soaring over the wall in right field. The solo shot tied the game at 4-4.
LBSU pitchers continued to struggle keeping the ball in the park when freshman reliever Connor Riley gave up a pinch-hit three-run home run from WSU freshman Jon Burghardt. The big blow came in the top of the sixth and was the fourth home run allowed by Dirtbags’ pitching in the game, the most this season.
“We’ve given up a lot of home runs already this year,” Buckley said. “It’s becoming somewhat of an issue and we have to deal with it.”
The home team answered the big inning again, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks in part to 2-out double by junior third baseman Ramsey Romano. The clutch hit extended Romano’s hitting streak to 11 games and cut WSU’s lead to one run.
Down 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh, the Dirtbags had bases loaded after two drawing two walks and the third error of the game from the Cougars. Nothing came of the rally after senior Alex Muzzi struck out looking to end the inning.
However, LBSU never went away quietly as Duran reached first base in the very next inning after WSU sophomore shortstop Andres Alvarez made the team’s fourth error of the game. Duran scored later in the inning after advancing to third base with two outs and scampered home to tie the game at 7-7 after a dropped-third-strike.
In the bottom of the ninth, Rasmussen stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and one out and delivered the hit of the game. WSU pitcher Scotty Sunitsch threw a 1-1 changeup that stayed up in the strike zone and the LBSU slugger was all over it.
With momentum in its favor, LBSU heads to Malibu Saturday for a doubleheader against Grand Canyon University and Pepperdine University.