The UC Riverside baseball team (12-15,1-5) dropped its second game of the team’s three-game Big West Conference series at #19 ranked Long Beach State (19-11,4-1), 11-4.
Coming into the weekend as the highest scoring team in the conference, the Highlanders looked to live up to that statistic against the Dirtbags. However, UCR was held to just three hits during Friday’s game, and a measly two hits throughout the first eight innings of the second game.
Sophomore Hazahel Quijada (2-4) made his first comeback of the Highlanders’ rotation since mid-March ― but wasn’t any more successful than Alex Fagalde was the night before. After completing a one-two-three inning in the first, Quijada gave up two singles, four walks and a home run all in the second inning, before being replaced by senior Ricky Delgado.
Delgado was brought in right when the bases were loaded, and the Highlanders were behind 4-0. He managed to get the second out of the inning thanks to an RBI ground out, but Long Beach’s Lucas Tancas doubled down the left field line to clear the bases and extend the Dirtbags’ lead to 7-0. Tancas also recorded a home run to lead off the inning. The third out eventually came when Daniel Jackson was caught stealing, finally ending the explosive eight-run inning by Long Beach.
Delgado then struggled in the fourth, after hitting a batter, issuing a walk and giving up four base hits ― as the Dirtbags increased their lead to 11-0.
Long Beach’s pitching remained stellar throughout, as starter John Sheaks didn’t give up a hit until the top of the fifth inning, when redshirt junior Tony Gudino hit a grounder up the middle with one out left. AJ Sawyer’s double marked the second hit for the Highlanders and moved redshirt freshman Cade Peters to third base. A Matt Hardy groundout would follow, finally putting UCR on the board.
John Castro took over for the Dirtbags in the eighth, retiring the side in order. The Highlanders managed to put up a little comeback during the top of the ninth, thanks to RBI base hits from Peters, Sawyer and Hardy to cut down the Long Beach lead to seven, 11-4. However, the deficit was far too large to overcome, as Castro managed to work out of the jam and close out the game.
The Highlanders and Dirtbags played game three of the three-game series Sunday, April 9th and the Highlanders lost 3-0.
UCR baseball is back in action on Tuesday, April 11 against #23 University of San Diego at 6 p.m. which begins a five-game homestand for the Highlanders.