Long Beach State’s Graham Osman chokes Wichita State in opening game as Dirtbags start strong in new look – Orange County Register
LONG BEACH — New signing Graham Osman pitched seven dominant innings and the Long Beach State baseball team defeated Wichita State 2-0 in the season opener for both teams Friday night at Blair Field.
Osman, a redshirt junior left-hander, hit eight while holding the Shockers on a bat and a walk. The Arizona State transfer needed just 75 pitches to survive 23 batters.
Long Beach assisted his new ace in the first inning. Rocco Peppi shot a two-out double on the third baseline and then hit through the left side of the infield on Jonathon Long’s RBI single.
After Osman choked the visitors, Long Beach extended their lead in the fifth inning. Jashia Morrissey-Jakel and Alex Champagne led the inning with back-to-back singles into midfield, then Nick Marinconz was hit by a full-count pitch to keep bases unloaded and chased Wichita starter Clark Candiotti. Peppi then sent reliever Caden Favors’ first pitch into left field for a sacrifice fly and a 2-0 lead.
Osman retired the last 11 batters he faced before Ethan Clough took over in the eighth. The right-hander allowed a one-out double and a groundout that put a runner into third before Josh Haley came in to quell the threat. Haley pulled back all four batters he faced to end the win.
On offense, leadoff man Alex Champagne went 2 for 3 with a walk and Long with an RBI 2 for 4. Peppi was 1 for 3 after driving in one run and hitting the other.
The three-game streak resumes at 6 p.m. Saturday
Long Beach ended the 2022 season of ups and downs with a 29-27 overall and 17-13 in the Big West Conference game, according to Transferportal.
There are 34 new faces (15 transfers) on a roster that includes just eight returners who were on the field a year ago, but coach Eric Valenzuela’s recruiting class is considered one of the nation’s best among mid-major programs. The Dirtbags had to replace their entire weekend rotation and most of the entire pitching staff, including 2022 standout freshman Juaron Watts-Brown, who transferred to Oklahoma State.
Despite the sales, there is a lot of optimism. Long Beach State added several notable Division 1 transfers to the roster, including Friday starter Graham Osman (Arizona State) and scheduled Saturday arm Nico Zeglin (Gonzaga).
Osman played for the Santa Barbara Foresters of the California Collegiate League last summer and won the ERA title (.25) after allowing just one earned run and hitting 37 in his 35-2/3 innings (seven starts). .
In addition to the new weekend starters, second transfer Grant Cherry (Tennessee) has a fastball that’s consistently in the mid-90s and is expected to be a key piece of the bullpen. He averaged 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings while holding opposing batsmen at a .091 batting average in limited time with the Volunteers. He joins returners Jonathan Carlos (2.76 ERA in 32-2/3 innings), Josh Haley (2.36 ERA, 26-2/3 innings), Dalton Ponce (2.95 ERA, 18-1/3 innings) and Ethan Clough ( 3.12 ERA, 26 innings) in a deep bullpen.
Position player transfers are highlighted by infielder Alex Champagne (Arizona State), infielder Nick Marinconz (Cal Poly), outfielder Jashia Morrissey-Jakel (Cal State Bakersfield) and outfielder Joey Walls (UNLV), who cut .350/.444/. 614 with eight homers and 48 RBIs and led the nation with 26 doubles last season.
First baseman Jonathon Long (Orange High) is one of LBSU’s top returns. The junior slashed .311/.411/.454 last season and finished second on the team in home runs (six), RBIs (37) and walks (25) and earned a spot on Big West Coaches’ first preseason team.
Redshirt sophomore outfielder Rocco Peppi (Marina High) returns after leading the team in batting average (.321) and finishing second in hits (68), doubles (11), total bases (94), and on- base percentage (0.408). in 2022.
Junior catcher Connor Burns is considered one of the nation’s defensive catchers and the reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Year is expected to make offensive advances this season.
Myles Patton is perhaps the most notable of the new freshmen after a distinguished career at Millikan High. The left-hander was the 2022 Moore League Player of the Year, 2021 Moore League Pitcher of the Year, and 2021 CIF-SS Division 1 Player of the Year. He went 13-5 with a 1.07 ERA in his last two high school seasons and hit 190 in 143-2/3 innings while keeping his opponents at a .159 batting average.
In addition to his season-opening series against Wichita State, Long Beach has non-conference home series against South Florida and Seattle, a trip to face last-season No. 24 East Carolina, Indiana and Georgetown at the LeClair Classic in Greenville, NC, and an aftermath Travel to Reno in April for two games each against Nevada and Grand Canyon. The Dirtbags also face their typical slate of non-conference midweek games against regional foes (UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount, Fresno State, Cal Baptist).
LBSU’s Big West schedule begins March 17-19 at UC San Diego. The Dirtbags play Easter weekend (6-8 19-21) and a home series against UC Davis (May 25-27).
https://www.ocregister.com/2023/02/18/long-beach-states-graham-osman-stifles-wichita-state-in-opener-as-new-look-dirtbags-start-strong/ Long Beach State’s Graham Osman chokes Wichita State in opening game as Dirtbags start strong in new look – Orange County Register