CSUEB Back In Playoff Picture After Bats Explode Versus Dominguez Hills

Jared Darling, Sports Photographer

Between Apr. 14 to Apr. 16, the California State University, East Bay baseball team traveled south to take on the California State University, Dominguez Hills Toros in a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) series. The Pioneers entered the series with a 9-13 record in CCAA play, while the Toros held a record of 12-12.
After running the gauntlet of perennial CCAA powerhouses in a tough midseason stretch following a split series against the Chico State Wildcats and series losses against nationally ranked #4 San Bernardino Coyotes and the #18 ranked Monterey Bay Otters, the Pioneers were on the outside looking into the CCAA playoffs. Nevertheless, the Pioneers successfully carried out a desperate gambit to win a series and keep up with the pack in an explosive way.
Despite falling behind six runs in the series opener, the Pioneers rattled off nine unanswered runs in the final frames to earn the comeback victory with a final score of 9-6. This offensive turnaround proved to be a taste of what the rest of the weekend had to offer for the Pioneer offense.
In game two of the series, the Pioneers racked up a total of 24 hits and an astounding 18 runs, capped off by a Luke Brown grand slam in the ninth inning to give the Pioneers a seven-run lead at the time. Game two ended in a final score of 18-13, with the Pioneers outlasting an offensive outburst of their own by the Toros.
The slugfest did not stop there though, as the Pioneers piled on in game three of the series, earning a blowout victory to the tune of 16-4 and securing them a series victory. On the mound, Ethan Brodsky provided yet another solid performance for the Pioneers as he cooled the Toros’ bats and struck out eight batters across his five frames of work. Cole Anderson chipped in three hits and five runs batted in, leading the offensive charge for the Pioneers in game three.

Ethan Brodsky pitches in a recent game against California State University, San Bernardino on Apr 6, 2023. Photo by Jared Darling.
CSUEB dropped the series finale in yet another high-scoring affair. However, thanks to the series victory and a midweek win versus Sonoma State, East Bay went 4-1 in the week and regained much-needed ground in the CCAA standings. Now, the Pioneers find themselves one place out of a postseason berth with three series left to play. In total, the four-game series featured a total of 51 runs and 75 hits by the Pioneers. Although unlikely to sustain this scorching offensive pace, this series is a positive sign for the Pioneers as they enter the season’s final stretch.
Cole Anderson was among the many offensive standouts from the series. Anderson, who is currently 7th in the CCAA in batting average, had ten hits and nine runs batted in during the four-game series. This offensive outburst earned him CCAA “Player of the Week” honors for Apr. 10 and a National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II West Region “Player of the Week” honor.
Cole Anderson bats in a recent game against California State University, San Bernardino on Apr 6, 2023. Photo by Jared Darling.
For Anderson, this series was the series that finally saw the hits go the Pioneer way: “I think our offense has been this way all season we are just finally starting to have this go our way. Our guys have been sticking to our approach and grinding out at-bats.” Anderson continued, commenting on the immense potential of the Pioneers: “I think a lot of us took a step back and realized how close we actually were to some of the top teams in the conference and saw that we have a legit chance of making it.”
Another offensive standout was Luke Brown, who had nine hits and eight runs batted. Much like Anderson, Brown believed that the Pioneer offense was ready for this breakout and was excited to see the hard work pay off. “It was great to see everyone have the success they had this weekend from top to bottom. I think the biggest key to the success we had was the mental approach we took to the plate,” said Brown.
Luke Brown connects for a double against California State University, Monterey Bay on Mar 25, 2023. Photo by Jared Darling.
Brown expanded on the team’s game plan in the series, stating “No at-bats were taken as more important than the other, and each at-bat was taken one pitch at a time. That focus led to a ton of quality at-bats, and when you string that many quality at-bats together, good things are bound to happen.”
Although the Pioneer pitching staff allowed 37 runs in their own right, Ethan Brodsky sees many positive learning opportunities that the staff can take away from this series, none more important than limiting the big innings. “We need to limit the big innings from happening. We trust our lineup to produce runs for us, so keeping the games from getting completely out of hand is going to be important,” explained Brodsky.
Brodsky further emphasized the importance of the pitchers trusting each other in the final series of the regular season, “The pitching staff needs to trust each and every one of our guys moving forward down the stretch. Roles and schedules are changing for each guy on the staff, so having the belief that all of us can get the job done when called upon is crucial. I am very confident in our ability to pitch in big situations and give our team a shot to win every single game.”
This weekend, the Pioneers look to continue their offensive outburst against California State University, Los Angeles, in a four-game home series at Pioneer Field. With the gauntlet in rearview and a postseason berth within reach, Brown made it clear that the Pioneers “control their own destiny.”