Rivera bounces back with his seventh save of the season

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Rivera bounces back with his seventh save of the season

Eight different players recorded hits for Long Beach State on Tuesday night, helping the No. 24 ranked Dirtbags to a 6-4 victory over visiting Loyola Marymount. Brock Lundquist extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a pair of hits, Luke Rasmussen launched his second home run in the last three games, and freshman Chris Rivera bounced back with his seventh save of the season.

“Any time you can win it’s a lot better than losing,” stated Dirtbags head coach Troy Buckley. “We still have some things we have to take care of, we still have two weekend series before we start conference and we’ve got some things we’ve got to get ironed out… But it’s great, coming off Oklahoma it was really good. We played really well in Oklahoma, especially on the offensive end.”

The offensive production continued on Tuesday as Long Beach State put up 11 hits on the evening, coming back from a 1-0 deficit in the second inning and a 3-2 deficit in the fifth. The bottom half of that fifth inning was the turning point of the game as the Dirtbags racked up four runs on five hits in the frame. Pinch hitter David Banuelos led off with a solid single to left, then moved to third following Tristan Mercadel’s double off the right field wall.

Garrett Hampson made it three straight hits, earning a pair of RBIs with a sharp double to right center field. Hampson was 2-for-2 on the night with a walk, a run scored and a pair of sacrifice bunts; his average now sits at a team-best .417. Two batters later, Hampson would score on an Alex Muzzi RBI single. Muzzi would later come around to score on a throwing error on a potential double play ball for the Lions.

That put the Dirtbags up 6-3, a lead they would never relinquish despite a pinch-hit eighth inning home run by Jamey Smart. That was the second home run of the evening, following Rasmussen’s impressive blast that went out just to the left of dead center field. His home run would likely have been a deep flyout in the old dimensions of Blair Field, but instead gave the Dirtbags a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth.

Dave Smith ended up with a quality start (6 IP, 3 ER) despite giving up eight hits and a pair of walks. His record improved to 2-1. Chris Rivera bounced back nicely from his blown save just two days ago, working a perfect ninth inning on 13 pitches, striking out the game’s final batter looking.

The Dirtbags are at home for four games this weekend hosting another breed of Lions, this time from Columbia. First pitch for Thursday’s opener is at 6 p.m., then a normal 6-2-1 schedule for Friday-Sunday.

NOTES: With his two hits on Tuesday, Hampson now has eight multi-hit games on the year … Tristan Mercadel was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored out of the No. 9 spot in the lineup … Jarren Duran had an RBI single in the third inning, giving him a hit in four straight games … For the 10th time this season, the LBSU defense did not commit an error; the Dirtbags are 8-2 in those games … Rasmussen’s deep home run is the first hit to center field at the new Blair Field, the third by a Dirtbag at home (surpassing 2015’s season total), and the first by a player other than Garrett Nelson … The homer also represented Rasmussen’s 10th RBI on the season, giving him the outright team lead.

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