Pioneers rope Toros in Hayward home stand

Louis LaVenture,
Sports and Campus Editor

What a difference a day makes.

The Cal State East Bay softball team learned this lesson over the weekend at Pioneer Softball field on the Hayward campus against the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros.

The Pioneers scored just one run in their two losses to the Toros on Friday, but came back strong on Saturday and managed to win both games to grab a 2-2 split in the series. CSUEB is now 23-20 overall and 11-17 in California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference competition with just eight games left in the regular season.

CSUDH improved to 21-21 overall and 14-14 in CCAA conference play after they defeated the Pioneers 2-0 and 6-1 on Friday before they lost by finals of 12-4 and 5-1 on Saturday. CSUEB junior Gabby Gonzalez and sophomore catcher Ali Cerminara were huge in the home series for the Pioneers and accounted for 12 of their team’s 18 runs.

Junior Jamie Duran and freshman Alyssa Valinches delivered dominant pitching performances for the Toros in their two victories on Friday. Duran pitched a complete game shutout and gave up just three hits in the 2-0 triumph, her tenth of the season. Valinches gave up just one run and five hits to the Pioneers in a complete game effort and earned her tenth victory of the season.

“We came out on day two with a fire,” CSUEB senior Kelsey LaVaute said. “We were ready for the opponent and wanted to dictate the pace of the game and the outcome of the game. We started having more fun and the outcomes and the results that we wanted came.”

CSUDH sophomore Madison Murphy blasted two home runs on Friday that drove in four runs and finished with four hits in eight plate appearances. CSUEB junior pitchers Sierra Clark and Tatiana Beilstein both picked up losses on the mound for the Pioneers on the day.

“After Friday’s games we talked as a team and reevaluated our team morale,” Cerminara said. “Saturday we were playing for each other and really focused on having fun again.”

CSUEB came back with a vengeance on Saturday and dominated the Toros, outscoring them 17-5 in the two Pioneer victories. Cerminara laced a triple down the right field line in the first inning and blasted a home run to left field in the third inning. Gonzalez was three-for-four at the dish for CSUEB and also roped a home run to left field in the fourth inning. The Pioneers exploded for 15 hits in the 12-4 game three triumph over the Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Clark went the distance on the mound for CSUEB and picked up her eleventh win of the season, after she gave up just four hits and two earned runs in five innings on the hill. Duran picked up her ninth loss of the season in the losing effort for the Toros.

The last game of the series was a lot closer, but a three-for-three performance at the plate for Cerminara helped secure a 5-1 triumph for the Pioneers. Cerminara doubled to the right-center field gap in the first inning to get the Pioneers on the board. Cerminara also roped a home run to left-center field in the bottom of the third inning that made the score 3-1 in favor of CSUEB.

Gonzalez also homered again for the Pioneers in the bottom of the fourth inning that made the final score 5-1. Cerminara and Gonzalez combined for four runs batted in, four hits, and scored two runs in the win. CSUEB senior hurler Emily Perlich recorded her second win of the season after she gave up just three hits and one earned run in over four innings of work.

“I have been battling a shoulder injury all season so it is hard for me to throw for long periods of time. I have been struggling this season because of that, not only physically but mentally,” Perlich said. “I just tried to keep things simple on Saturday. I was trying to take everything one pitch at a time and to listen to my body. My shoulder does a good job at telling me when it’s had enough, so after the fourth inning, I told Coach Pierce that it was almost at it’s end for the day.”

The Pioneers will host conference foe UC San Diego (22-20 overall, 12-16 conference) this weekend at Pioneer Softball Field on the Hayward campus. CSUEB and the Tritons will play a doubleheader on Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. The two teams will play another doubleheader on Saturday and first pitch is slated for 11 a.m.