Dirtbags Blank Shockers in Season Opener

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Three Long Beach State pitchers held Wichita State to just two hits, and the Dirtbags scratched across runs in the first and fifth for a 2-0 season-opening win on Friday night at Blair Field.

In the first game of 2023 for both clubs, pitching dominated the day. Long Beach State starter Graham Osman (1-0) flipped seven strong innings, striking out eight while walking only one. He gave up just one hit, a fourth-inning single by Garrett Pennington.

Meanwhile, Wichita State starter Clark Candiotti (0-1) pitched well in his Wichita State debut, allowing two runs over four-plus innings of work. In the first, the Dirtbags got consecutive two-out hits to push across the game’s first run. Rocco Peppi bounced a double down the third base line, and Jonathan Long followed with an RBI single for a 1-0 advantage.

Candiotti cruised through the next three innings to keep the deficit at one, but ran into trouble in the fifth. Two singles and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with nobody out, prompting a call to the bullpen for lefty Caden Favors, who got out of the jam allowing just one run on a Peppi sacrifice fly.

Favors was excellent the rest of the way, finishing with four strikeouts over his four innings of relief.

The Shockers best scoring opportunity came in the eighth. With one out, Seth Stroh roped a pinch-hit double and moved to third on a groundout. A walk to Kyte McDonald brought Brock Rodden to the plate, but Long Beach State reliever Josh Haley induced a foul out to escape the threat. Haley then set the Shockers down in order in the ninth to earn the save.

Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday night at 8:00 pm CT. Left-hander Payton Tolle starts for the Shockers, while Long Beach State will counter with right-hander Nico Zeglin.