During the four-game draw it looked as though Cal State’s Monterey Bay would walk away with four wins, but the Wildcats were looking for revenge in their last home game.
The first game had two silent innings until junior first baseman Willie Lajoie hit two home runs over the halfway fence to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Their early lead soon became sluggish as neither team refused to give up. Going into Chico State’s ninth inning saw the Beavers hit the wall with two outs and lead 7-5.
Beavers have no intention of losing, as they keep on trespassing and remain patient during each stroke. As soon as Monterey Bay took the lead again, the energy of the home crowd was sucked out of them.
Unfortunately, with the offensive support the Wildcats provided, their pitching staff had a hard time getting rid of the Otters and they were able to bounce back in wretched fashion, winning 7-8.
Despite the staff’s throwing performance, Lajoie had a perfect evening on the plate at 4-4 along with a walk, and second-class outfielder Kyle Dobson went 2-3.
Second junior baseman Jeffrey Ray says baseball doesn’t always go your way.
“It happened because of two outs and two strikes and we couldn’t finish it,” said Ray. “That’s how the game goes, sometimes they get some big shots that put them in the lead.”
Starting with a clean slate in their second game, Chico State led 1-0 in the second inning and kept the Otters from scoring until the fifth set.
New pitcher Cody Gentry has six working innings, and only allows five strokes and one accepted run. He says trusting his field repertoire and defense got him through this match.
“Monterey Bay are a great team but I’ve continued to do what worked for me throughout the year,” said Gentry. “Trust my stuff, execute speed and know my defense will get it done.”
After the starting pitchers for both teams are ejected, the foul is fired once again.
Tied 2-2 in the sixth inning, senior outfielder Jack Murphy gave Chico State the lead by scoring two home runs.
In the ninth inning, Chico State had dropped 6-5. Unfortunately the Wildcat pitching staff couldn’t maintain a one-round deficit, losing 8-6.
In their second game of double header on Saturday Chico State’s foul was not found.
“They lead the league in throwing,” said junior catcher Jarret Lindsay. “We had a tough time playing three starters and he did a great job mixing different notes in different counts.”
Monterey Bay’s only hit came in the second inning and early second-class pitcher Austin McFarlane was able to get past the rest of his pitch.
Unfortunately, while the bullpens were able to clear the Otters in ninth, Chico State couldn’t find a way to give up the lead by losing 1-4.
Despite losing three games in a row, the Wildcats got through it all on senior day, said Ray, as they eliminated the Otters, 26-7.
“Every day is a new day to win and what happened in the first three games has already happened,” said Ray. “So we just put it in the past and look at our aim to keep winning.”
Second-class pitcher Kevin Lyons picked up his fourth win of the season in four innings.
Chico State racked up 21 strokes, six runs and scored just six times in 45 strokes.
Their last home game was tight in the first three rounds. Once Chico State took the lead, they never looked back.
Seven of the nine starting players had a multi-hit game. Second-rate outfielder Grady Morgan and shorts Elijah Jackson led the team with three strokes each.
In addition, history was made at Nettleton Stadium. Ray is now the 20th player in Division II history to reach two grand slams in one game. This marked the third in his college career.
“It’s a really great achievement, to be the 20th player to ever do that is an amazing feeling,” Ray said.
Chico State Baseball knows how important it is to win the remaining games, as Cal Poly Pomona are right behind them in the CCAA standings.
“This final series is very important to know how our year could unfold,” said Lindsay. “We need to focus on one game at a time and focus on winning rounds in every game.”
To conclude the regular season, Chico State will head to Cal State East Bay for their final road series from May 5-7. Game one on Thursday starts at 3pm. On Friday, the doubles match starts at noon and at 3pm. Finally, the series finale will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Johnny Maldonado can be reached at [email protected]