Pioneers sweep Coyotes at home

Louis LaVenture,
Sports and Campus Editor

Fans should have brought their brooms to Pioneer Baseball Field over the weekend in Hayward.

The Cal State East Bay baseball team swept California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference foe Cal State San Bernardino during a four game home stand on the Hayward campus. The Pioneers are now 14-25 overall and 11-21 in conference play while the Coyotes fell to 9-31 overall and 7-24 in conference competition.

With just eight regular season games remaining, every game holds heavy importance when it comes to postseason seeding and the conference tournament set to begin on May 7 in Stockton at Klein Family Field.

All the teams in this conference are tough, this was a great example.

— Kevin Meriwether

Things got off to a great start for CSUEB on Friday as they dominated the Coyotes and finished with a 6-1 victory. CSUEB senior infielder Ryan Kochan singled to left field and scored sophomore outfielder Marcus Wise that gave the Pioneers an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. CSUEB kept the runs coming and added five more before the game was over thanks in large part to Kochan.

Kochan was in the zone on Friday and finished the day with 4 hits in 5 at bats, knocked in 5 RBI’s, and even scored once. Kochan was involved in every scoring play for the Pioneers in the Friday triumph.

“As the season has progressed, [Kochan] has shortened his swing,” CSUEB Assistant Coach Darren Lewis said. “This has allowed him to be more consistent.”

Senior pitcher Michael Pope was dominant on the mound and threw a shutout in 7 innings on the hill for CSUEB. Pope recorded 4 strikeouts and allowed just 3 hits in his third victory of the season.


“Getting a balance, staying relaxed and pitching my game,” Pope said about his performance. “I don’t try and do too much, just my role on the team.”

Kochan picked up where he left off on Friday in game two and knocked in Wise again for a quick 1-0 lead. However, the Coyotes managed to play the Pioneers much closer and tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning. It remained tied until the bottom of the eighth inning when CSUEB junior utility player Rudy Navarro blasted a home run to left field that put the Pioneers up for good.

CSUEB senior pitcher Jacob Phillips recorded six innings on the bump but left the game when it was tied and Julian Garcia finished the game and nabbed his second win of the season. The two pitchers combined to allow just 2 runs on 6 hits in the game, but it was the Coyotes who were their own worst enemy. CSUSB committed 5 errors that gave the Pioneers several scoring opportunities to capitalize on.

Kochan and Marcus Williams, a junior utility player from Oakland, led the way for the Pioneers in game three and combined for half of their team’s 12 hits in the 7-2 winning effort. CSUEB freshman pitcher Alex Vesia was nearly perfect on the mound and allowed just 1 earned run in a complete game win for the freshman.

The Pioneers got a challenge in the final game of the series on Sunday but were able to put away the Coyotes 7-6 to complete the series sweep. CSUEB was down 6-3 in the eighth inning when junior catcher Chris Porter blasted a home run that made the score 6-5 going in to the ninth inning.

Williams tied the game at 7 in the bottom of the ninth inning when he singled to left field and scored Kochan. Junior outfielder Myles Babitt hit a popup to center field that scored senior outfielder Devin Higgins for the game winning play and score.

“They have some great hitters on their team,” CSUSB shortstop Kevin Meriwether said. “All the teams in this conference are tough, this was a great example.”

CSUEB pitcher and infielder Jason Fletcher was a perfect four-for-four in the game at the plate and junior pitcher Angel Lara picked up his first win of the season on the hill for the Pioneers.

Next up for the Pioneers is a road trip to take on Chico State this weekend at Nettleton Stadium. The Wildcats are 17-22 overall and 16-20 in conference competition this season.