Pioneers win final pre-season series


Photo by Kedar Dutt/The Pioneer

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

While the women’s softball team was forced to cancel their games, the men’s baseball team was lucky enough to only deal with delaysand went on to win their final pre-season series.

The team went head-to-head against Holy Names University (3-10) in a four-game series over the weekend.

When you take a glance at East Bay’s record (9-3) compared to Holy Names, it looked as if the Pioneers would have easily sweep their opponent, but sports aren’t always that simple.

On Saturday, East Bay played their first game of the series on their home field, and the result was unexpected. The Pioneers trailed early in the game and were down 4-1 by the bottom of the second inning. The Holy Names Hawks were on fire at the plate.

“I feel like the team as a whole did not play like themselves, it was tough,” junior pitcher Alex Vesia said.

East Bay made some critical mistakes on the defensive end, with 5 errors that resulted in 5 unearned runs. The errors didn’t help the Pioneers as the Hawks were already on fire on the offensive end.

“We came out really flat, we did not come out like we should have and Holy Names did a great job coming out and kept stacking runs on us,” junior utility player Dallas Dey added.

Holy Names would hold the Pioneers to just 1 run through 7 innings as they went up 9-1 by the top of the eighth inning, which sealed the deal for them. Senior catcher Zack Perugia and senior first baseman Troy Resch each scored runs in the final innings, but that was all the Hawks allowed.

The Pioneers gave up 2 more runs to the Hawks in the ninth inning, which resulted in a 11-3 loss for East Bay. This was the biggest loss for the Pioneer’s so far this season.

Despite the uncharacteristic play by the men, they had to shift their focus to the second game of the series, which immediately followed the first game

“After the loss, coach gave us a good talk in left field and we brought up our energy and were to determined to make things happen,” Vesia said.

This time around, the game was much different. East Bay allowed far less runs and kept the contest close. East Bay sophomore pitcher Joel Lamont and Holy Names senior pitcher Ricardo Torres both had strong performances on the mound, which led to a low scoring game that was tied at zero in the bottom of the fourth inning.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, senior infielder Michael Thomas filed out to center field, which plated senior outfielder Marcus Wise and put the Pioneers up 1-0. Before scoring Wise stole second base on the first pitch and reached third base before Thomas stepped up to bat and knocked him in.

By the top of the sixth inning, Holy names put themselves on the board and managed to take the lead. Sophomore utility player Chris Gnos doubled to left field, which gave the Hawks 2 runs as senior outfielder Jordan Zaragoza and junior infielder Alex Denobriga scored, putting them up 2-1 over the Pioneers.

The Pioneers didn’t let the shift of momentum shake them and bounced back strong. In the bottom of the sixth inning, East Bay scored thanks to Wise and Thomas again. Thomas singled to right field, which scored Wise again. Shortly after, senior Wyatt Foreman advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and Thomas scored.

East Bay went on to secure a 3-2 win with the 2 runs. Wise went 2-for-3 at bat and had 2 runs while both Thomas and Dey went 1-for-2 at the plate.

“No one likes getting kicked in the mouth on their home field and we got a fresh start in game two and took advantage of that,” Dey said. “Joel threw a great game.”

On Sunday, the men continued the rest of the four game series after nearly a two hour rain delay.

In the first game, the Pioneers got off to an early lead in the top of the first inning. Thomas doubled to left field and senior outfielder Kirs Bartlett scored. In the second inning the Pioneers added 5 runs, which put them up 6-0 against Holy Names. Those was the only runs the Pioneers score, but it was enough.
Junior pitcher Jacob Call, allowed 1 run in the bottom of the fourth inning, but aside from that, he preserved the Pioneers 6-1 win. Call struck out 6 Holy Names players on his way to the win.

East Bay was on a roll, and carried the stellar play into the final game of the series, which was a blowout.

Both Thomas and Wise went 4-for-6 at bat, with Wise adding 3 runs and Thomas 2. Dey and Foreman also added 2 runs each in the winning effort.

The team exploded offensively for 21 hits in the game. They also drew 7 walks and scored on 4 of the Holy Names errors.
East Bay only allowed 3 runs in comparison to their 17. They also scored in 4 straight innings. It made up for their blowout loss in the first game of the series versus the Hawks.

“Coach tells us the same thing every time, grind out at-bats and play good defense,” said Dey. “It does not change whether we score 17 or they do.”

So far in every series the Pioneers have played in this season, they lost the first game and managed to win the rest.

This weekend was no different. East Bay lost the first game and went on to sweep Holy Names in the final three.

The Pioneers have now won each series they have played this season and look prepared to start conference play. The team will face California State Monterey Bay (7-3) in an away game at 2 p.m. on Friday for their first California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference contest.