Daily 49er

Long Beach State Dirtbags look for redemption against USC

After taking over the lead-off sport, junior Brock Lundquist has seen a resurgence in production.

Luke Ramirez, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Long Beach State Dirtbags will take on USC at Blair Field tonight at 6 with a bad taste in their mouths after losing to the Trojans earlier this season.

The last time these two teams met, LBSU (16-11) was coming off of a series loss to Oklahoma, but got an excellent pitching performance from freshman John Castro. The right hander threw 7 scoreless innings while striking out six batters and the Dirtbags took a 2-0 lead to the bottom of the eighth inning.

Lars Nootbaar, USC’s sophomore center fielder, came up with two outs and a man on base and hit a 1-1 fastball over the right field wall to tie the game.

“It was tough when he hit that home run,” junior right fielder Brock Lundquist said. “We battled through that whole game and all we could do from there was try to score more runs.”

USC (15-11) went on to win the game in the bottom of the 11th inning after a walk-off single from junior shortstop Frankie Rios. The heartbreaking loss will serve as extra motivation for a Dirtbag team that seems to have hit their stride.

“The whole team is in a good spot right now,” Lundquist said. “We’re going to come out and compete just like we have been.”

LBSU has already started off Big West Conference play as they took two out of three games from UCSB on the road last weekend.

Lundquist received Big West Player of the week recognition after hitting .500 with seven RBIs and six runs scored.

“He is too good of a player to continue to struggle the way he has so far,” head coach Troy Buckley said. “It was only a matter of time before he broke out, whether he was batting first or seventh.”

Lundquist has found a home in the lead-off spot, where he will likely stay until junior second baseman Jarren Duran returns to the field after suffering two fractures to his face during the Fullerton series. Duran was able to practice Monday while wearing protective gear and is day-to-day.

“I felt like I was seeing pitches a lot better and was able to lay off the ones that are out of the zone,” Lundquist said. “When guys were on base, I was able to battle through my at bats to drive them in.”

LBSU’s probable starter is junior AJ Jones (0-1, 3.75 ERA), who would make his fourth start of the season after missing the first part of 2017 with a shoulder injury. Jones threw 6.0 innings, gave up one earned run and struck out six batters en route to a no decision against Cal on March 27.
The Trojans’ probable pitcher is junior Mason Perryman (2-0, 0.93 ERA), who threw 4.0 innings giving up two runs on five hits against LBSU on Feb. 21.

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