Sorenson: Dirtbags Turn Two On HuskersAt The Ballpark
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Nebraska was pretty impressive on Friday night, pounding Long Beach State into a 9-2 submission at Blair Field.
However, due to the rare rare rare rare rare threat of rain in Southern California on Sunday (Really? in L.A.?), this weekend’s final two games of the Huskers-Dirtbags series was condensed into a Saturday double-header.
That might not’ve been the best news for the Big Red. The Beach took a hard-fought 1-0 win in game one and then capped it with a 3-1 win in game two. Corn, consider yourself husked.
The first game was one long defensive bruise that lasted four hours, nine minutes and saw each team have multiple chances to put the potential winning run in scoring position time and time again. But even still the game entered extra innings with the score sitting at 0-0.
Eventually in the 13th inning, Zac Rivera got things going with a leadoff single. After another single, a groundout, a pitching change, a single, an intentional walk, and a force-out at home plate, the stage was set for three-hole hitter Alex Muzzi to step up with the bases loaded and deliver his fourth single of the day. Though to be fair this one was far from a single as he sliced a sonic shot that eluded the glove of Cornhusker left fielder Ryan Boldt.
Once the ball hit terra firms on the warning track, the long-awaited celebration began. the Dirtbags mobbed Muzzi in the infield dirt.
But as you might expect from the 1-0 score, this game was all about pitching and defense. Particularly impressive was the starting pitching for both squads as UNL’s Derek Burkamper went 5. 0 innings and gave up five hits, no runs with eight Ks. Long Beach starter Darren McCaughan was even a tidbit better, going seven innings and giving up just four hits and striking out six. Neither figured into the decision, obviously.
For the relievers, Long Beach State’s Austin McGeorge finished his five-inning stint with nine strikeouts, four hits and just one intentional walk. At one point, spanning the eighth, ninth and tenth innings he put together a string of seven straight punchouts.
The Cornhuskers got a great relief stint from both Chad Luensmann (4.0 innings, three hits, no runs, one strikeout) and Reece Eddies (3.1 innings, three hits, one run) despite his being saddled with the loss.
In game two, Garrett Nelson broke open a 1-1 game with a two-run bomb over the moved-in fence in right-center field. From that point on, the Dirtbags held on to their 3-1 lead thanks to the pitching of Tanner Brown, who went 7.0 innings, giving up just five hits and a single run, then Kyle Brown and Chris Rivera combined for the last two innings, giving up a hit each.
The Beach won the series with the two wins today to improve to 7-4 on the season. Nebraska won Friday night’s opener by a 9-2 count and dipped to 3-6.
Johnny Cash’s Man
The hero of game one was Long Beach State three-hole hitter Alex Muzzi, a junior outfielder. He is the one who stroked the game-winning RBI to settle things in the 13th inning.
He also started the scoring in game two with an RBI flout to deep left field. He is from Folsom, California, which is famous for hosting Johnny Cash in the famous concert he put on at the Folsum Correctional Facility in the early 70s. So what is Muzzi’s walk-up music? This Johnny Cash gem, of course…
Best of the day in college baseball
1- California’s starting pitching
For the third day in a row the Golden Bears pitching staff squashed the Texas bats like they were Andre the Giant going up against Herve Villechaize. Cal has already taken the first three games of the four-game series in Austin and today saw their third straight quality mound start of the weekend as Ryan Mason went seven innings and allowed just two hits and two walks. The Bears bats were good enough to plate six runs on eight hits. Cal has also utilized a stellar knack of coming out of the gate with a purpose, outscoring their opponents 17-2 in the opening frame of games. Today, they jumped on UT starter Ty Culbreth for two runs. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to put the Bears back in the “Eight for Omaha” discussion in my weekly Off The Top Of My Head?
That’s right, the derogatory phrase toward Clemson football can finally be put to rest after the Tigers reached the national title game in pigskin. In horsehide play, they put behind yesterday’s loss to the Gamecocks and came back with a purpose today, making for a 5-0 blanking to even the series going into Sunday’s rubber match. Clate Schmidt and Pat Krall combined on a two-hitter with 10 Ks and four walks. Schmidt improved to 3-0 with the win and catcher Chris Okay smashed a triple and had three RBI to pace the offense. Let’s see how Sunday goes.
3- Dallas Baptizes the Lobos.
You might to believe this one, but the Patriots scored 33 runs in a win over New Mexico today. And they blasted 31 hits in the process too. Yikes, I know. The Patriots 33-8 win marked the most runs and the most hits in a game in program history. Darick Hall and Luke Stratman both hit a pair of home runs. Hall would also drive in six runs at the dish and pitch five innings to earn the win. DBU raised its team batting average from .288 up to .328 from today’s win.
– Off Into The Wild Blue Yonder
Very quietly, Air Force has put together a solid season, racing out to a 7-2 start. Today, in the first inning of their game with Nevada, the Falcons scored 12 runs in a marathon half-inning, on their way to a resounding 18-4 win. In the opening frame alone Bradley Haslam and Tyler Jones both had two hits and three RBI and leadoff man Adam Grosbeck added two runs and two RBI as well. For the season Haslem and Groesbeck are hitting .462 and .417 respectively.
– That’s Wright.
If you StitchHeads recall I had Wright State as one of my mid-majors to watch for 2016. Being a school located in Dayton, Ohio, you have to figure there is going to be some rough spots early on as the Raiders get used to being outside and playing ball. Well today WSU got its second big feather in the cap to this early season with a 3-1 win at Georgia. Last weekend they started a three-game set with a win at No. 8 North Carolina State. This was sweet redemption for the Raiders as they dropped Friday night’s opener to the Bulldogs by a 4-3 count, allowing the winning run to score in the bottom of the ninth.
– The UCSB Youngins
Freshman RHP Noah Davis and sophomoreLFP Kyle Nelson combined on a 14-inning four-hitter and freshman Michael McAdoo supplied the one run of the day with an RBI single as the Gauchos nipped Oregon 1-0 in a clampdown of an extra inning affair in Eugene. The two Gaucho arms combined for nine Ks and just three walks all day long. The Ducks used seven pitchers in the game, getting an impressive 12 strikeouts in 6.0 innings from starter Matt Krook.
– VMI Frosh Hits Foe The Cycle
First year outfielder Matt Pita hit for the cycle and also set a school record for RBI in a game as the Keydets raced past Binghamton 15-9. The last time a Keydet batter hit for the cycle was Alex Haitsuka in 2010. Pita hit a grand slam in the first inning, singled in the 3rd, doubled in the sixth, tripled in the eighth inning. Pita also finished with eight RBI.
– Harvard’s Double Dip.
The smart boys picked up a pair of wins today, 7-1 over St. Peter’s which was expected, and 6-3 over Wake Forest which was not expected. Leadoff man Mitch Klug went 2-for-4 in each game, scoring three runs on the day. Sean Poppen threw 7.0 innings, gathering 10 Ks in the win over the Peacocks.
– Put On Ice.
Oregon State’s Logan Ice went 6-for-7 with two home runs and seven RBI as the Beavers took a pair of games; 12-3 over William & Mary and 5-2 over San Diego. In the win over the Tribe, Ice tripled and hit two home runs, totaling 11 total bases, the most by a Pac 12 player this season.
Worst of the day in college baseball
1- Blowout Saturday
There were a lot of ugly scores in today’s Top 25. Like… Yuck.
No. 3 Texas A&M beat Yale 13-0
No. 4 Oregon State beat William & Mary 12-3
No. 5 Louisville beat Princeton 9-1
No. 6 North Carolina beat Fairfield 10-2
No. 7 LSU beat Fordham 15-1
No. 10 Miami beat Manhattan 9-0
No. 11 TCU beat Gonzaga 10-2
C’mon guys, play better opponents in the non-conference. This is boring.
2- The Wave-on-Waves Crime
For the second day in a row the Pepperdine Waves were whitewashed by the Tulane Green Wave in New Orleans, this time by a ghastly 15-0 score. Through two games this weekend the ‘Dine has been outscored 26-0 and their bats have been held to just eight hits in 18 innings. Pepperdine is now just 3-7 on the season, while Tulane has improved to 6-4 and now has posted four shutouts in their six wins.
3- Dartmouth’s upset bid.
Gah! You come all the way from Vermont where you’ve had nothing but practices inside a giant bubble with a turf field and you take on the No. 1 team in the country in their yard. And what happens? You take that top-ranked monster with all those future MLB draftees and you push them to extra innings with two runs in the top of the ninth inning. Problem is, they have a guy named Buddy Reed who is an All American and he parks the first pitch of the 12th inning over the left field wall. Bummer.
– Pitching and Defense in the Mountain West.
Of the four games involving MWC teams, the combined winning margin was 72-23. That includes DBU’s 33-8 win over New Mexico. But that wasn’t the only bloodletting of the day in the MWC. Air Force beat Nevada 18-4, San Jose State beat UNLV 11-6 and Fresno State stayed unbeaten with a 10-5 win over San Diego State. By the way, that win by the Bulldogs has them out to the best start in program history at 11-0.