East Bay baseball inches towards a winning record

Marissa Marshall,
Sports Editor

After losing a four-game series, 1-3 against San Francisco State (22-24 overall, 21-19 California Collegiate Athletic Association) last weekend, the Cal State East Bay men’s baseball team flipped the script and won three out of four games in their four-game series this weekend.

The Pioneers faced off against Sonoma State University (24-22 overall, 20-20 CCAA) and their winning advantage over them put them neck and neck in the CCAA standings with the same conference record, 20-20. This series win was important for the Pioneers to potentially end the season with a winning record and give them a chance to qualify for the postseason.

The first game of the series was played on April 27 at the Hayward Baseball Field with still winds and sunny skies. It was an extremely low scoring game, but the Pioneers got the job done.

Senior pitcher Alex Vesia performed at an elite level once again as he threw for 7.0 innings and had six strikeouts, which makes him tied for first in the CCAA with eight wins and in second with 80 strikeouts.

“I feel like my job is to go out there and compete every start to give the best chance to win the game,” Vesia said. “That’s what I have been trying to do every time I step on the mound.”

The first run didn’t come till the sixth inning from either team, until sophomore infielder Jacob Eder singled through the left side, sending junior infielder Dakota Conners home. East Bay extended their lead in the following inning as senior right fielder Raymond Jones flied out to centerfield and helped the Pioneers put one more run on the board.

That was the last run East Bay scored, but that’s all they needed. Sonoma responded in the ninth inning with a one run homer, giving East Bay the 2-1 win.

In the second game on Saturday, Sonoma State absolutely demolished the Pioneers in a 13-4 slaughter. The Pioneers scored two runs in the second and two in the fourth, but were silent the remainder of the game, which Sonoma took advantage of.

Luckily East Bay was able to bounce back the next game of their doubleheader on Saturday, winning the third game of the series 5-2. The first run came from Jones who scored on a wild pitch in the first inning. He then proceeded to produce for the Pioneers as he singled to left center in the second inning, helping the Pioneers take a 2-0 win.

Sonoma responded with two runs in the top of the third, but Conners gave a response right back as he singled up the middle and junior third baseman, Adam Hollar scored which gave the Pioneers a 3-2 lead.

They scored two more runs in the sixth inning, giving them a 5-2 win to end the day. East Bay was now on the verge of shifting their losing record towards a tying record, which only helps them get closer to a playoff berth.

“We are taking everything one pitch at a time,” Vesia said. “One inning at a time and one game at a time.”

The two teams played their fourth and final game of the series on April 29 with sporadic batting at the mound, but the Pioneers managed to execute and grant themselves a win.

Eder grounded out to the shortstop in the bottom of the second inning, which led to a Pioneer lead of 1-0. The game remained quiet up until the fifth inning, where Sonoma scored two runs to overtake the Pioneers by one.

This didn’t faze the Pioneers. East Bay scored three more runs through the fifth and sixth inning, and they took the lead again. Sonoma only scored one run after that in the eighth inning, but East Bay managed to score two additional runs to end the game with a 5-3 win.

East Bay’s record now sits in eighth place at 23-23 overall and 20-20 CCAA, which has them tied with Sonoma State. They will play the number one team in the CCAA, Cal State Monterey Bay (33-13, 27-13 CCAA) in their final series this weekend.

It will be a challenging series for the Pioneers, but they are confident they can push themselves into the postseason.

“I believe if we prove ourselves in this last series things will work in our favor,” said junior catcher Matt Cantle. “We have to play to the ability I know we can play, and if we do that we will be heading to Stockton.”