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Bats go quiet for Long Beach State in game two loss against St. Mary’s

The Dirtbags were 1 for 11 at the plate with runners in scoring position as the Gaels even the series at one game a piece.

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Bats go quiet for Long Beach State in game two loss against St. Mary’s

Long Beach State junior Eli Villalobos pitches in Saturday's game against Saint Mary's.

Long Beach State junior Eli Villalobos pitches in Saturday's game against Saint Mary's.

Joseph Kling

Long Beach State junior Eli Villalobos pitches in Saturday's game against Saint Mary's.

Joseph Kling

Joseph Kling

Long Beach State junior Eli Villalobos pitches in Saturday's game against Saint Mary's.

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Long Beach State failed to answer its exciting win Friday night in the season, dropping game two of the series against St. Mary’s 6-2. The Dirtbags missed out on plenty of chances to drive in runs throughout the game and will try to salvage the third game Sunday.

“I think we didn’t play a very good fundamental game,” head coach Troy Buckley said. “We gave up a lot of free opportunities, we did not situationaly hit very well and we kind of became predictable on the mound with a couple guys where all they can throw is a fastball.”

Long Beach junior Eli Villalobos and St. Mary’s sophomore Kevin Milam faced off on the mound in what was both their first career starts after converting from the bullpen. Villalobos was touched up for five hits and five earned runs after only 2 ⅓ innings on the mound against the Gaels.

St. Mary’s (1-1) opened the scoring in the top of the second on a RBI double by sophomore right fielder Joe Vranesh. It was a sharp ground ball that got passed junior third baseman Domenic Colacchio that allowed Gaels catcher Joe Thoreson to score from second base.

Villalobos found himself in more trouble the next inning after the visitors collected four runs on three hits and an error by senior shortstop Laine Huffman. Gaels junior first baseman Austin Chauvin highlighted the inning with a 2-run single into right field to spell the end for Long Beach’s starter. All four runs were charged to Villalobos, who didn’t fare well in the first start of his career.

“Villalobos has a lot of growing up to do as a pitcher but we’ll see how that goes and he’s just got to keep getting better,” Buckley said.

Milam had a quality day on the mound for St. Mary’s throwing six innings while only allowing two runs on seven hits. He also pitched around several Long Beach (1-1) rallies, holding the home team to 1-11 hitting with runners in scoring position.

“I thought he threw well,” St. Mary’s head coach Eric Valenzuela said. “He threw strikes and competed, and when he got into jams he got himself out of them.”

The Dirtbags spoiled their best opportunity to score in the bottom of the sixth inning trailing 5-2. Huffman led off the inning with a double down the left field line and eventually advanced to third base with only one out. Senior left fielder Tristan Mercadel and Colacchio both failed to come through and Huffman was stranded.

“We need to be better with driving in runs,” Huffman said. “We just have to compete. Kind of like how we played Friday night and just find a way to win.”

With the series up for grabs, Long Beach will start junior Clayton Andrews against St. Mary’s sophomore Ken Waldichuk. First pitch is at 1 p.m. Sunday at Blair Field.

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