Long Beach St. can ad­vance

Dirt­bags out­last Texas and San Diego State, set stage for Mon­day’s de­cid­ing game.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Ben Bolch ben.bolch@la­times.com Twitter: @latb­bolch

The Dirt­bags win twice, face de­ci­sive re­match with Texas in an NCAA re­gional.

Jar­ren Du­ran got Long Beach State the go-ahead run against Texas. It just took about 24 hours longer than he would have pre­ferred.

One day af­ter be­ing thrown out at the plate while try­ing to com­plete an in­sid­e­the-park home run, Du­ran drove in the run that gave the top-seeded Dirt­bags a 4-3 vic­tory over the sec­ond­seeded Longhorns on Sun­day night in an NCAA base­ball re­gional at Blair Field.

Du­ran’s run-scor­ing sin­gle to left-cen­ter field with two out in the eighth in­ning pro­pelled Long Beach State (40-18-1) into a win­ner-takeall game against Texas (3923) on Mon­day evening. The team that prevails in that game will face Cal State Fuller­ton in a su­per re­gional later in the week.

“The team is right where we need to be,” Du­ran said. “We wanted it bad enough and we showed it to­day.”

Long Beach State re­liever Josh Ad­vo­cate pitched a score­less ninth, strik­ing out Michael Cantu for the fi­nal out with a run­ner on first base, to record the save in the sec­ond taut game be­tween the Dirt­bags and Longhorns in as many days.

Du­ran drove in two runs, in­clud­ing a run-scor­ing sin­gle to cen­ter field in the sixth in­ning off Texas starter Kyle John­ston that gave the Dirt­bags a 3-2 lead. Texas tied the score in the bot­tom of the sixth on Bret Boswell’s RBI ground­out off re­liever Zak Baay­oun (3-0).

Long Beach State re­ceived a ma­jor boost from its red­shirt sopho­more righthander, Tyler Rad­cliffe, the for­mer ace of the Long Beach Wil­son High team who moved across Park Av­enue to join the Dirt­bags bullpen.

Mak­ing the first start of his col­lege ca­reer be­cause his team was play­ing its fourth game in three days, Rad­cliffe be­fud­dled a pow­er­ful Texas lineup for most of his five in­nings. His longevity was com­mend­able con­sid­er­ing he had pitched all of 18 in­nings this sea­son be­fore Sun­day af­ter sit­ting out the 2016 sea­son be­cause of a torn knee lig­a­ment.

“I got ahead of a lot of bat­ters and was able to use the changeup,” said Rad­cliffe, who had seven strike­outs and no walks. “I’m sure they haven’t seen a lot of that be­ing in their con­fer­ence with hard throw­ers and slid­ers and stuff like that.”

Rad­cliffe ben­e­fited from a con­tested call in the fifth in­ning af­ter Texas’ Zane Gur­witz laced a sin­gle to left field with the bases loaded to drive in a run and tie the score at 2-2.

Cantu tried to score from sec­ond base, beat­ing the re­lay throw from short­stop Laine Huff­man, but ap­peared to touch catcher David Banue­los’ foot in­stead of home plate and was called out af­ter the tag was ap­plied. Cantu re­peat­edly pointed at the plate and Texas coach David Pierce emerged from the dugout to join the protest, to no avail.

“I can’t see if he hit the plate from my an­gle, I’m 100 feet away,” Pierce said. “But I just watched Michael’s re­ac­tion and Michael’s a very re­spect­ful young man who plays the game right and plays the game hard and he thought he touched home plate.”

Rad­cliffe did not re­ceive a de­ci­sion af­ter al­low­ing five hits and two runs, but the length and qual­ity of his out­ing were con­sid­ered a win­win for the Dirt­bags.

The Dirt­bags had reached their sec­ond game in two days against Texas af­ter hold­ing off San Diego State, 7-4, in an elim­i­na­tion game ear­lier Sun­day.

“The guys were awe­some,” Long Beach State coach Troy Buck­ley said. “To do that in this set­ting and win two games against qual­ity teams and stave off elim­i­na­tion and give us an­other chance for [Mon­day] is pretty spe­cial.

Stephen Carr Daily Breeze/SCNG

RAM­SEY RO­MANO of Long Beach State tags out San Diego State’s Tyler Ad­ki­son as he tries to steal third dur­ing Sun­day’s early game.

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