East Bay splits doubleheader against Dominguez Hills

Marissa Marshall,
Sports Editor

The California State East Bay baseball team is slowly climbing their way up the California Collegiate Athletic Association Conference (CCAA) standings.

After they beat Cal Poly Pomona (20-18 overall, 17-15 CCAA) 3-1 in a four-game series two weeks ago, the Pioneers followed it up with a 2-2 split last weekend against the California State Dominguez Hills Toros (12-26, 9-23).

“The weekend started off a little shaky,” junior catcher Matt Cantelme said.

The weekend started off rocky indeed, as East Bay fell 7-4 in the first game and 9-8 in the second.

East Bay scored five runs in the first inning, which seemed like a good sign they would take the Toros down, but Dominguez Hills scored eight runs in the next four innings.

The Pioneers responded with three more runs to tie the game 8-8, but Dominguez secured a walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth inning with a home run to secure a 9-8 win.

Down 2-0 in the series, East Bay was able to mount a comeback and get wins in the final two games.

In game three, CSUEB senior pitcher Alex Vesia pitched six scoreless innings to start the game, which also helped secure the win and set a school record for the most innings pitched in Pioneer history with more than 292 in his career.

Vesia struck out 12 batters and only allowed three hits to the Toros, his second consecutive double-digit strikeout performance. CSUEB senior pitcher Nicki Risucci came in for Vesia and pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh to put the game away.

Pioneers junior infielder Dakota Conners went 3-for-4 at the plate and scored a run.

The momentum from the shutout and dominant performance carried over for the Pioneers into the final game.

The Pioneers opened up the game when junior outfielder Kyosuke Ushimaru earned a walk and senior utility Dallas Dey scored to put the Pioneers up 1-0 in the top of the first inning.

East Bay stayed hot at the plate and went on to score 10 more runs securing their second consecutive shutout, 11-0.

The Pioneers are now 19-19 overall and 16-16 in conference play, which puts them seventh in place in the conference standings out of 12 teams. There are three series remaining in the regular season for East Bay with the next one against their rivals, San Francisco State (17-21, 16-16) who are in eighth place in the CCAA.

“In order to secure a spot for playoffs we need to treat every game like it’s our last,” Cantelme said. “We have the talent to make it to playoffs but I think it comes down to our mentality and how bad we really want it.”

If the Pioneers are able to stay consistent, the chances of moving up in the standings and making the postseason seem likely.