The Dirtbags play the Tar Heels Friday at 10 AM. Photo: SportsSpeak.com
Long Beach State baseball is returning to post-season play for the first time since 2008 as the team travels to Florida where they’ll take on the University of North Carolina in the Gainesville super-regional Friday.
The Dirtbags earned the number two seed in the region (see full bracket here) after finishing the regular season in second place the Big West Conference behind Cal Poly. They face the Tar Heels (34-25) in the opening game of the double-elimination regional at 10 AM Friday morning with the game being broadcast on ESPN3. The University of Florida(40-21), the number two seed nationally and host school, plays the College of Charleston (41-17) on the opposite side of the bracket.
In 2008, the Dirtbags hosted a regional but were sent home early after going 1-2, being eliminated by the University of San Diego 5-1.
Long Beach, which finished with a record of 32-24, come into the tournament with some momentum having won five games in a row and ten out of their last 11 overall. The entry into the tournament is the first under fourth-year coach Troy Buckley. A video uploaded to YouTube Monday captured the team’s excitement when they found out which region they’d be playing in.
The Big West had four teams earn a bid into the tournament which includes 16 regionals across the country. Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine and Cal Poly, which is one of two schools West of the Rockies hosting a super-regional, join the Dirtbags as representatives of the conference.
North Carolina and Long Beach have only played each other one other time with the Tar Heels defeating the Dirtbags 7-6 in 1992. While this is the first time Long Beach has made the post-season since 2008, this is UNC’s thirteenth consecutive bid and 29th appearance overall.
The super-regionals begin June 6 and the College World Series starts June 14 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Dirtbags' last CWS appearance was in 1998.