CSUEB baseball opens season at home

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

Cal State East Bay opened their 2018 season at home against the the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds over the weekend.

After finishing last season 25-24 overall and 16-21 in California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference (CCAA) play, the team is looking to improve and make a push in not only conference play, but also enter in the NCAA tournament.

“It’s a little too early in the year to determine our strengths and weaknesses,” said senior pitcher Jacob Call. “But I will say we are an all around solid baseball squad and I am hopeful this season will be a good one.”

The competition started on Friday with great weather and The Pioneer secured their first win of the season 7-1.

The Thunderbirds got on the board first in the top of the first inning, but that’s all they would get. It took a while for the Pioneers to get on the board, until the fifth inning to be exact, but when they did, they kept it consistent.

“We have a lot of new guys this year,” said junior catcher Matt Cantelme. “But we have really good chemistry. We also have depth at each position so every guy on the team is going to contribute to the lineup in some way.”

In the bottom of the fifth junior infielder Dakota Conners walked, scoring junior infielder Adam Hollar, tying the game up 1-1.

The bottom of the sixth inning is where East Bay really poured it on. Junior outfielder Joey Dice singled and sophomore infielder Jacob Eder scored putting the Pioneers up 2-1. East Bay scored three more runs in the inning making it 5-1 going into the sixth inning.

Senior pitcher Alex Vesia pitched through the sixth inning and got 4 strikeouts, helping secure East Bay’s a comfortable lead.

The Pioneers didn’t score again until the bottom of the eighth inning, but they also didn’t allow any more runs either. Senior utility player Dallas Dey hit a home run to left field, which secured the Pioneers’ 7-1 win.

The second game on Saturday was a much different story. The game was full of scoring and British Columbia was able to get the win over the Pioneers in a blowout, 12-10.

Junior outfielder Paul Bryniarski capitalized on the offensive explosion in the loss for the Pioneers as he went 5-for-8, with a homerun and six RBIs.

The game went back and forth between the two teams. The Pioneers trailed 6-2 as they headed into the bottom of the fifth, but the managed to take a 10-6 lead as by the with inning.

Senior pitcher Joey Portugal was strong throughout his four innings on the mound, allowing just one hit.

“Every weekend is a grind and it’s teams that bring energy every weekend that win games,” Cantleme said.

In the first inning of game three on Saturday, East Bay scored seven runs in the first inning alone.  

Bryniarski led the way as he homered to right center field to put the Pioneers up 1-0. From that point on, East Bay continued to score as they added six more runs.

The Thunderbirds responded with four runs through the second and fourth innings, but it wasn’t enough to match the Pioneers.

Bryniarski came out strong again in the third inning as he tripled down the right field line, allowing both Hollar and Cantelme to score making the score 9-4. East Bay scored five more runs and secured a 14-5 win to lead the series 2-1.

In the last game, the Pioneers finished the series, this time delivering a shutout.

Call only gave up two hits and walked just two batters, which led no runs through six innings.

“I feel extremely confident about this upcoming season,” Call said. “In not only my play, but in the teams as a collective. We have a lot of new guys that are making a great transition, now it’s just getting out there and putting the pieces together on the field.”

The Pioneers batters backed up their pitchers superb work from the mound as they helped secure the Pioneers 8-0 win.

Junior infielder Jordan Estes went 3-for-4 and Cantelme went 2-for-5 and scored two runs.

“We got picked to finish eighth out of 12 teams in our league,” Cantelme said. “But that just motivates us even more to prove everyone wrong.”