LONG BEACH, Calif. – Long Beach State starter Josh Frye tossed a complete game, five-hit shutout to lead the Dirtbags to a tight 1-0 win over No. 14 UC Santa Barbara on Friday night, negating a strong bounceback start from the Gauchos' own Austin Pettibone, who allowed just one run over six innings.
The victory clinched the series for LBSU, who improved to an even .500 (18-18) on the season with a 5-3 mark in Big West play. UCSB fell to 23-10, 4-7. With yet another close game, 10 of UCSB's 11 conference contests have now been decided by two runs or less.
The Dirtbags scored the only run of the game in the very first inning, but both starters – along with oft-used UCSB relievers Greg Mahle and Dillon Tate, who each threw a scoreless inning – were nearly flawless over the final eight frames of the game, as the two teams combined for no runs and just nine hits with fourteen runners stranded.
The brisk pace led to a 2-hour, 17-minute game duration, the quickest tilt UCSB has played so far this season.
Garrett Hampson and Ino Patron both went 3-4 on the night, and the Dirtbags 2-3 hitters were responsible for that first inning run, with Patron singling in Hampson after he had doubled to right field off Pettibone.
Pettibone rebounded strongly after allowing the first inning run, surrendering just two hits over the rest of his outing and recording 1-2-3 innings in the second, fourth, and sixth. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native was a tough-luck loser, receiving his first loss of the season in his third decision.
Unfortunately for the Gauchos, Pettibone's gem was bested by Frye, who improved to 3-0 on the year after scattering five hits to record his first career complete game. The senior righty needed just 91 pitches to record 27 outs.
UCSB junior first baseman Tyler Kuresa, who doubled in the sixth and advanced on a fielder's choice after being hit by a pitch in the fourth, was the only Gaucho to reach scoring position against Frye. The red-hot Frye has now gone 25 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
The Gauchos and Dirtbags will wrap up their series tomorrow afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 2:00 p.m.