LONG BEACH, CA. — No. 7 Long Beach State finished off a sweep of Hawai’i with a 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon, winning the Big West Championship for the first time since 2008. Thanks to Cal State Fullerton’s 8-4 loss at CSUN, the Dirtbags clinch the title outright with three games remaining against Fullerton. Long Beach State improved to 35-16-1 and 18-3 in Big West play, boasting an impressive 19-4 record at Blair Field this season. Hawai’i falls to 26-22 overall and 8-13 in conference play.
Senior Dave Smith was the standout on Senior Day, going a career-best 8.0 innings to improve to 8-1 on the season. He allowed just one run on six hits with no walks and a pair of strikeouts. Chris Rivera came in to get his 10th save, working a perfect ninth inning and closing things out with a strikeout looking.
The Dirtbags scored both runs in the bottom of the first inning, giving Smith all the run support he would need. Jarren Duran singled on the first pitch he saw, sending a ground ball through the middle. After a sacrifice bunt and a popout, Ramsey Romano slapped an RBI single the other way to give Long Beach a 1-0 lead. After he advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw, Romano came in to score on a Brock Lundquist RBI single to make it 2-0 Dirtbags.
Adam Fogel’s solo home run in the seventh inning represented all of the offense for the Rainbow Warriors, who stranded five men on base in the game. Duran and Romano each had two-hit games to pace Long Beach State offensively.
Long Beach State earns its ninth Big West championship going back to 1989, and first since the 2008 season. This is LBSU’s first outright conference championship since 2003, and first for head coach Troy Buckley.
The Dirtbags have one more series left in the regular season, and have officially clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA Postseason. LBSU will conclude the regular season with a three-game series at rivals Cal State Fullerton, May 25-27. Game one of the series is Thursday at 6 p.m. with the final two games set for a 7 p.m. start. The first two games will be broadcast by ESPN3 and the regular season finale will air live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
The 2017 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship bracket will be revealed on Monday, May 29 live on ESPNU. The selection show will begin at Noon ET/9 a.m. PT