KRISTIANA FEDERE/THE PIONEER
Baseball team wins series against Urban Knights
February 20, 2015
The Cal State East Bay baseball team lost only once in their first series of the season against the Academy of Arts University Urban Knights over the weekend.
CSUEB is now 3-1 overall after they outscored AAU 30-12 in the four game home stand on the Hayward campus. The Urban Knights are now 1-5 overall after they lost three of four games to the Pioneers.
The Pioneers won the first game in a close one by a final of 3-2. The pitching staff came up big for CSUEB , and head coach Bob Ralston as they allowed just two earned runs on six hits against the Urban Knights.
Freshman from Castro Valley, Andrew Fernandez recorded the first victory of his collegiate career while junior Michael Frantz closed out the final inning to secure the win and the save.
“It’s nice to get the first win under our belts,” said Ralston. “Our defense carried us today, and then a couple of returners came up with big hits late in the game.”
Senior outfielder Devin Higgins was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning and advanced to third base after a balk and a sacrifice bunt by senior outfielder Kelly Starnes. Senior Jason Fletcher then came up and hammered a pitch to left field that bounced over the wall for a ground ruled double and scored Higgins for the final run of the game.
Junior catcher Chris Porter hit a deep bomb to left field for a solo homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning that got the scoring started. Michael Pope, Cole Compton, and David Elzig all contributed on the mound in the victory for the Pioneers.
Game two was much different than game one as the Pioneers took control early in the contest on their way to a blowout 14-6 triumph over AAU. Senior hurler Justin Harr picked up his first victory of the season after he went seven strong innings on the hill for CSUEB and gave up just one earned run on five hits.
Freshman and Fremont native, Jacob Call closed out the final two innings on the mound for the Pioneers.
Senior infielder, Ryan Kochan had a great day for CSUEB as he accumulated three hits in five at bats. Kochan scored twice and knocked in six runs that included a grand slam home run in the bottom of the fourth inning that gave the Pioneers an early 7-1 advantage half way through the game.
A seven-run eighth inning for CSUEB put the game out of reach for the Urban Knights who managed to add five more runs in the losing effort.
AAU turned the tables on the Pioneers in the third game and managed to squeak out their first victory of the season by a final of 4-3. Urban Knight senior pitcher Nate Gercken went the distance on the mound and allowed just two earned runs and four hits after striking out six CSUEB hitters.
“We talk a lot about the process and not the result but I’d be lying if I said that first win wasn’t great,” AAU Head Coach Dan McDermott said. “These guys have been working too hard and doing too many things well not to get that satisfaction and validation. Even with the touchdown difference in the first game we have still been playing really well.”
Urban Knights junior Joseph Marchini led the way for the offense as he amassed three hits in four plate appearances. AAU junior Brett Adami knocked in two runs on a double in the fifth inning that added to the lead for the Knights.
“I’ve been hitting the ball pretty well just right to people but today the hits fell,” Adami said. “We just gotta keep putting the best swing on the ball we can and maintain a positive winning attitude.”
The Pioneers rebounded on Sunday and defeated the Urban Knights in a blowout 10-0 to finish the series 3-1.
CSUEB freshman pitcher Alex Vesia dominated on the mound in the final game of the series and finished with no runs allowed and gave up just four hits to record his first victory of the season. Senior pitcher Julian Garcia finished the last two innings on the hill for the Pioneers and maintained the shutout as he allowed just one hit in two full innings of work.
CSUEB junior Rudy Navarro drew three walks, drove in a run, and scored twice in the blowout win. Pioneer senior infielder, Daniel Carney drove in two runs on two hits and also scored twice in the victory.
Next up for CSUEB is the start of California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference play with a road trip to Seaside to take on Cal State Monterey Bay. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow at CSUMB Baseball Complex. The Otters and the Pioneers will play a doubleheader on Saturday and one more game on Sunday.