Gators chomp on Pioneers in Hayward


Photo by Kedar Dutt/The Pioneer

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

The California State East Bay baseball team have hit a rough patch that most teams hit at some point in their season.

East Bay has lost two series within the past three weekends, which also happens to be their first two series losses throughout the entire season. “Every team goes through it,” junior utility player Dallas Dey told the Pioneer. “Better now than in the playoffs.”

Last week, the Pioneers faced cross-town rivals, San Francisco State University (15-28 overall, 11-21 conference) in a four-game series where the team fell 3-1 and were unable to produce runs or put themselves in a position to win more than one game.

On Friday, the Pioneers played their first game and were shut out by the Gators. San Francisco made their presence known from the get-go as they scored 4 runs in the first inning, which included a home run by senior right fielder Jacob Lopez.

San Francisco scored 3 more runs after that, 1 in the 2nd inning and 2 in the 4th, to extend the Gators’ lead to 7-0 and solidify the win.

“We kind of underachieved this weekend as a team on all facets of the game and that’s why San Francisco beat us,” senior outfielder Marcus Wise told the Pioneer. “They were able to score early and often and made the plays necessary in order to win.”

East Bay only connected 4 hits and had 2 fielding errors in the game, in comparison to the Gators’ 11 hits and 0 errors.

The next day, the Pioneers played in a double-header against the Gators and in the first game were able to add another win to their record.

San Francisco got on the board first by scoring one run in the second inning, but East Bay managed to take the advantage in the third inning when they scored 4 runs.

Senior infielder Michael Thomas doubled to left field and Wise scored, to tie the game 1-1. Soon after Dey was hit by a pitch, which advanced senior outfielder Kris Bartlett to home plate. The Pioneers scored three more runs after that that and took the 4-1 lead.

Wise helped the Pioneers get on the board again in the bottom of the 4th when he singled up the middle and junior outfielder Colt Marshall scored.

The Gators did not give up and in the top of the 5th they scored 3 runs, which only put them down by 1. East Bay did not feed into their successful inning, though, and scored 2 more runs to win the game 7-4.

Junior pitcher Alex Vesia pitched the last 5 innings of the game and had 3 strikeouts, 2 hits, and no walks. “The battle of the bay is a good series every year,” said Vesia. “SF State challenged us throughout the entire series and made good plays defensively.”

Sophomore utility Joey Dice was the player of the game and went 3-for-3 with 2 RBI’s.

In the second game on Saturday, the Pioneers faced an early Gator lead, as San Francisco scored 5 runs in the top of the 2nd.

East Bay contained the Gators for the rest of the game and prevented them from converting any more runs, but was unable to make a comeback and only scored 1 run, which gave the Gators the 5-1 win.

Sunday was the best and most competitive game of the weekend, but unfortunately the Pioneers were not able to take the win and tie up the series.

“Even though we lost this game it was the best game we played over the course go the weekend and (junior pitcher) Andrew Fernandez gave us an outstanding performance,” said Vesia.

Fernandez allowed 2 hits in 8.1 innings, which was also the longest outing of his career, but the Pioneers were unable to score enough runs to take the win and fell 3-4 to the Gators.

Despite having a new coaching staff this season, East Bay is in good shape. They stand at 24-17 overall and 15-14 in conference which is a very similar statistical line to their historical season at this point last year, which stood at 25-15 overall and 16-13 in conference.

“We have a lot of returning guys from last year so that has helped with the similar success of this year,” Wise said. “Our new coaching staff has helped us grow as a team, they came in with a plan for the season and have believed in us as a team, and because of that we have been able to play in a similar manner of last year.”

The Pioneers stand at 4th place in their division and have 2 conference series left to increase their record before playoffs.

On Friday at 6 p.m. the Pioneers will travel to Chico to play the number-one team in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, Chico State (34-7, 27-3) in a 4-game series. This series is crucial to help the Pioneers move up in the rankings and put them in a good position for the CCAA tournament.

“We need to score early like San Francisco did to us,” Dey said. “It changes the game, so if we could do that we will have a good chance to win each game. Every team can be beaten so we need to attack and play our brand of baseball.”