With runners on first and second, down one run in the top of the ninth, freshman outfielder and team leader in batting average, Cesar Lopez, stepped to the plate.
With a 1-1 count and a chance to tie the game, Lopez hit a hard grounder right to the second baseman to give Cal State East Bay the 1-0 win on Saturday afternoon.
“We had a good college baseball game, we had a couple opportunities to try to push a run across. Their guy pitched great and we as a team need to find a way to push through and find a way to get a run across somehow,” said coach Randy Betten.
Senior Ryan Alsworth pitched six innings, allowing one run on seven hits and striking out one batter.
“I didn’t have most of my pitches working today, but was able to get weak contact and my defense picked me up in some big spots,” said Alsworth.
The Pioneers got the scoring started in the first inning with a RBI single to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead.
The game turned into a pitcher’s duel as both pitchers navigated out of trouble.
In the bottom of the second, the Pioneers loaded the bases.
Alsworth got the next batter to fly out to right field to get himself out of the inning with the Broncos still down 1-0.
In the third, the Broncos’ Lopez hit a single to load the bases.
Junior first baseman Nic Hernandez struck out swinging to keep the score at 1-0.
The Pioneers had runners on second and third with only one out in the bottom of the fifth.
Alsworth got the next batter to ground out, giving the Broncos only one more out to get out of the inning.
Alsworth got the next batter to foul out to help get out of the inning with no runs allowed.
Senior Peter Beattie relieved Alsworth in the bottom of the seventh inning. Beattie started the inning a little shaky as he allowed a single to his first batter.
Beattie threw a wild pitch to allow the runner to reach second with no outs.
Beattie retired the next two batters with a ground out and strike out.
The runner advanced to third on another wild pitch, but Beattie got out of the inning via a ground out.
“It was a one run ball game throughout the entire game, the goal was to collect outs and keep us in the game and keep East Bay at a one run lead. Alsworth pitched tremendously today and kept us in the game today, you can’t ask any more from a starting pitcher,” said Beattie.
In the top of the eighth, Lopez started the inning off with a single.
Freshman shortstop Drew Cowley hit a single to advance Lopez to third with two outs.
With a runner on first and third, the Broncos went to junior outfielder Hunter Tidwell.
Tidwell struck out looking to end the Broncos’ threat.
The Broncos left 11 runners on base with nine hits in the game.
Senior second baseman Bryce Graddy went 3-for-4 with three singles.
Lopez ended the game going 2-for-5 with two singles.
The Broncos opened Sunday afternoon double header with a 7-0 win behind seven shutout innings from junior Dylan Francis and a five-run fourth inning.
Leading 1-0, sophomore designated hitter Brennan McKenzie hit a three-run home run.
After not providing Alsworth with enough run support the day before, Francis’s performance required one run of support.
In seven innings he gave up three hits, no walks while striking out five.
Senior center fielder Jacob Bernardy continued the big inning by doubling home sophomore third baseman Matt Manskar.
Lopez singled to right field bringing home Bernardy for the fifth run of the inning and the sixth of the game.
Redshirt freshman right fielder Nick Peifer homered to left center field in the eighth inning to add the extra point.
Junior Michael Gomez pitched the eighth inning and redshirt junior Anthony Mizrahi pitched the ninth complete the shutout.
The two combined to give up as many hits in two innings as Francis did in seven.
In game two of the doubleheader Cal State East Bay overcame a one run deficit with runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to win 3-1.
In the top of the third, Hernandez singled home senior catcher Cody Martin to put the Broncos up 1-0.
The lead lasted till the home half of the third when an error by Graddy allowed a runner to score.
Cal State East Bay took the lead the next time up on a fielder’s choice.
Another fielder’s choice off a bunt by the Pioneers brought home the third and final run of the game.
Cal Poly Pomona returns home this weekend for a four-game series against Cal State Monterey Bay starting Friday.
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