LONG BEACH, Calif. — Jeff McNeil woke up the comatose Long Beach State offense with a four-hit performance, including driving in the tying and winning runs. The Dirtbags (7-11) snapped a six-game losing streak, beating Wichita State 4-1 Friday night at Blair Field.
During the losing streak, Long Beach had averaged less than five hits per game and had scored only eight runs in six games. On Friday, the Dirtbags were able to get runners on, but couldn’t get the big hit early, stranding seven runners in the first three innings.
McNeil singled up the middle to score Jonathan Serven in the sixth inning tying the game 1-1 and then provided the go-ahead RBI two innings later when he rolled one through the right side allowing Zack Rivera to score. Michael Hill followed McNeil with a two-run triple down the right field line to give the Dirtbags a pair of insurance runs.
Those insurance runs provided a measure of comfort even when Wichita State was able to load the bases with one out in the ninth inning. Newly appointed closer Jon Maciel got out of the jam with a strikeout and a slow roller to second base to end the game and pick up his second save.
Long Beach starting pitcher Shane Carle had his best outing of the season. He threw seven innings, allowing only three hits and an unearned run while striking out seven, but he did not factor into the decision. Josh Frye (1-1) picked up the win after a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Wichita State reliever Albert Minnis (1-1) took the loss.
Check out the 21-shot photo gallery from Friday night’s tight ball game: