Pioneers clawed by Wildcats in Chico

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

In what looked to be a thrilling series against the top team in the conference, the California State East Bay baseball team struggled against Chico State University on the road.

“Chico has been strong all year and is the team to beat,” said junior pitcher Alex Vesia. “We just were not on our game this weekend.”

Chico State has a record of 38-7 overall — 31-3 in conference play — and they are nearly perfect at home with a record of 25-1. They are also ranked #3 in the nation for Division II baseball teams, #1 in the West region and also #1 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference (CCAA).

The first game of the series on Friday was the closest and most exciting game of the four-game series. The Pioneers scored three of the four home runs in the game.

In the top of the first inning, senior infielder Michael Thomas hit a home run to left field to put the Pioneers up 1-0. Shortly after, senior first baseman Troy Resch homered to right field. It seemed as if the Pioneers would add another win to their record from the way they started. The top-ranked Wildcats were not phased, though. In the bottom of the first, senior catcher Dillon Kelley singled to left field which helped bring two of his teammates to home plate and tied the game 2-2.

Neither team scored in the second inning, but in the bottom of the third, Chico scored another 2 runs to give them the 4-2 lead. East Bay managed to score 2 more runs in the game — one of which was another homerun to right field by Resch — that tied up the game at 4, but it was not enough.

Chico’s junior infielder Casey Henderson scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth, when he homered to left center field, which gave the Wildcats the 5-4 win. Resch went 3-for-4 at the plate, with 2 runs and 2 RBIs.

“It’s a long season,” said Resch. “I try to bring energy and focus to each game to produce for the team.”

Both East Bay and Chico had zero errors during the game, but Chico was able to outscore the Pioneers 11-8 on the day.

On Saturday the Pioneers fell to the Wildcats twice, which put East Bay down 0-3 in the 4-game series. In the first game on Saturday the Pioneers lost 14-4 and were outhit by the Wildcats 15-8. The high point in the game for the Pioneers was a home run by senior outfielder Daniel Goodrich in the top of the second inning.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Pioneers did better at the plate, as they had 11 hits in comparison to Chico’s 12.

Despite the close number of hits, the Wildcats maintained the advantage over East Bay and won the game 10-4. Goodrich was solid for the Pioneers as he went 3-for-4, with 2 runs and 1 RBI.

Sunday was the final game of the series, but East Bay was unable to make it happen and fell 8-7 with 3 errors in the game. East Bay dropped to 15-18 in conference play, 24-21 overall, and are ranked 5th in the CCAA North Division.

Today the Pioneers begin their final regular season series, which is also their senior game against Stanislaus State (31-15, 20-14) at the Pioneer Baseball Field on the Hayward campus.

Every win counts when it comes to CCAA Conference Tournament consideration, which begins May 10.

“As far as I am concerned, we control our own destiny, it is all on us,” junior utility player Dallas Dey said.