By Chris Snow
“Let’s play two!” said Cubs great Ernie Banks, and the Broncos must have felt the same way, sweeping the Sonoma State Seawolves in a double-header on their way to their eighth-straight win and a series sweep.
The streak moves the Broncos to the top of the California Collegiate Athletic Association south division with four games remaining in the season.
“The win streak is just a side effect of playing good baseball at the right time,” said game one starter junior Jeff Bain.
The first game featured a dominant pitching performance by right hander Bain (7-2), who hurled eight scoreless innings as the Broncos blanked the Seawolves 7-0.
A home run by senior outfielder Daniel Pitts in the fourth inning was all the support Bain needed, but the Broncos tacked on another in the fifth and exploded for four in the sixth.
The rally in the sixth started with a single by junior catcher Cody Martin, followed by Pitts, who was hit by a pitch.
Sophomore first baseman Nic Hernandez singled to load the bases.
Senior third baseman Jason Padlo singled with the bases loaded to drive in the first run.
A one out single by freshman outfielder Brennan McKenzie drove in two more, and a sacrifice fly by junior second baseman Bryce Graddy capped the inning.
The Broncos added one more in the seventh, bringing the final score to seven.
In the second game, the Broncos had the benefit of another strong pitching performance.
Senior Henry Omana tossed eight strong innings, allowing two runs of which only one was earned.
Omana (5-5) won four of his last five starts and lowered his earned run average by more than a run during that stretch.
“I’ve been focusing on one pitch, one inning at a time,” said Omana. “It seems pitching to contact instead of trying to strike people out has been working real well.”
The bats were still alive in the second game of the series.
The Broncos generated four runs of support for Omana.
The Seawolves took an early lead on a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Grant St. Martin in the bottom of the third.
The Broncos quickly responded with a run in the top half of the fourth on a Padlo single.
The green and gold took the lead in the fifth on a throwing error by first baseman Jake Sahagian. The lead was never relinquished.
Two more runs were added in the eighth. The first run was driven in by a Pitts single, the other from a Padlo base hit.
Padlo has been hot as of late, batting a phenomenal .538 (14-26) with only one strikeout during the team’s current streak.
“I’ve been sticking to my plan of using the whole field when hitting and ultimately hitting the balls where the fielders are not,” said Padlo.
The team’s recent success has given the team a reason to be hopeful about post-season success.
Head coach Randy Betten has seen improvement in the team’s patience at the plate as well as the pitching, but acknowledged that the defense “needs to get better.”
“We’re taking it one game at a time,” said Betten. “When we get back to that plateau [post-season], we keep our focus and we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
Cal Poly Pomona completed the series sweep Sunday morning, beating Sonoma State 9-1.
The Broncos scored a run in four of the first five innings.
Martin set the tone early on, hitting a two-run homer to right, putting the Broncos up 3-0 after three innings.
Junior Kyle Dohy (6-2) picked up the win thanks to six scoreless innings where he gave up just three hits.
CPP is now 24-11 in CCAA play and 28-18 overall.
The team wraps up the season next weekend at home against the Gators of San Francisco State.
Anthony Carrillo / The Poly Post
Senior third baseman Jason Padlo went 7-for-13 in the series, driving in four runs.
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