SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Kyle Friedrichs had a career day and went the distance as he led the Long Beach State Dirtbags to a 2-0 win in the series opener at No. 24 UC Santa Barbara on Friday. It was the first complete game shutout of Friedrichs’ career and the fourth shutout for the Dirtbags (13-8, 1-0 Big West).
UCSB (17-7, 0-1 Big West) came into this weekend’s series hitting .307 as a team and was fresh off an 18-4 rout of LMU. Friedrichs tamed one of the best offenses in the Big West as the Dirtbags took the opener. He allowed just two hits in the complete game effort and didn’t allow a runner past second.
Friedrichs went nine innings for the first time in his career and struck out 13 batters for another career high. It is the fourth time this season he has had double digit strikeouts.
Dillon Tate was equally as impressive for the host Gauchos but two unearned runs proved to be the difference in the game. Tate also went nine innings and fanned 10 while allowing just three hits.
The Dirtbags first struck in the second inning. With Alex Bishop on first, a ground ball to second that should have resulted in an inning-ending double play went through the legs of Peter Maris. Bishop headed into third and Nico Maida ended up on second after hitting the grounder. Eric Hutting’s chopper to third just a few pitches later had just enough height to score Bishop from third.
That would be all Friedrichs needed as he retired the first 10 batters he faced in a row and did not issue a walk while striking out 13. Only once did UCSB put a runner in scoring position after Clay Fisher reached on an error and Andrew Calica was hit by a pitch.
After the Dirtbags jumped on top, Tate regained control. He allowed a single to Jared James and walked Zack Rivera in the third and fourth, respectively, but a pick off and a double play erased both runners. He retired 13 batters in a row between the fourth and eighth before a two-out double from Jonathan Serven.
A bunt single in the ninth from Garrett Hampson and another UCSB error at second base led to an insurance run for the Dirtbags as they took the 2-0 lead into the final frame.
Friedrichs sat down the Gauchos in order in the ninth to finish off the superb effort from the mound. He fanned four of the last 10 batters he faced and allowed just three balls to leave the infield on the fly — a single and two fly outs.