Baseball defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills 7-3 in the second game of a four-game series behind three RBIs from senior second baseman Bryce Graddy.
The Broncos won three of four over the weekend and finished the season fourth in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and will play Chico State in the first round of the conference tournament 7 p.m. tomorrow at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, California.
“I’m just trying to use the middle of the field and get a pitch to hit. There [were] runners on base and I found some holes,” said Graddy.
Coming off a tough 3-2 loss in game one, the Broncos turned to junior pitcher Tim Holdgrafer.
Junior catcher Logan Gopperton reached on an infield single to start the second inning and advanced to second on a throwing error.
Gopperton advanced to third on a pass ball.
Graddy singled off pitcher Ray Diaz’s glove giving the Broncos the 1-0 lead.
Graddy moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and later scored on a single by freshman shortstop Drew Cowley.
Leading 2-0, Holdgrafer got into trouble in the third by allowing a run off a double by Esteban Ortega cutting the Broncos’ lead to one.
In the home half with runners on second and third and one out, Graddy singled up the middle to push the Broncos’ lead to 4-1.
The Broncos added three more runs as they pushed their lead to 7-1 heading to the eighth.
Holdgrafer was cruising until he allowed a two-run home run in the top of the eighth to outfielder Daryl Donerson to cut the lead to 7-3.
“I left some pitches up, but the defense helped me out and we got a great team win,” said Holdgrafer.
Coach Randy Betten turned to senior Peter Beattie to pitch the ninth.
Beattie retired the first two batters striking out the second batter.
With two out in the inning the Toros had runners on first and second with the tying run on deck.
With a 2-2 count Beattie got the batter to ground out to short stop to end the game.
Graddy finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a stolen base.
Holdgrafer pitched eight innings allowing three runs on 10 hits while striking out seven.
“He’s a good pitcher and he gave us a good chance. He’s done a good job in his starts and I know when we run him out he’s going to give us a quality effort and he did that today,” said Betten.
The day before in the opening game of the series, Cal State Dominguez Hills took its only game of the series in controversial fashion.
In the top of the 10th inning and the game tied 2-2, catcher Evan Yeager was at the plate with one out and Donerson at second base.
CPP reliever Brian Conley delivered a 3-2 fastball for what looked a called strike three.
However, Conley’s back leg had come up before he delivered the pitch and after a conversation between the umpires a balk was called allowing Donerson to take third base.
With his second chance, Yeager made it count, singling up the middle to bring Donerson home and give the Toros a 3-2 lead.
The Broncos went down in order in the home half to give Cal State Dominguez Hills game one.
CPP took the lead in the third inning when junior first baseman Nic Hernandez hit a two-run home run down the right field line to give the Broncos a 2-1 lead.
It remained 2-1 until the ninth when Conley blew the save by allowing Justin Morris to score on a sacrifice fly by Dalton Duarte.
In the third game of the series, the Broncos jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third inning and scored three runs in the second and seventh innings to give them a 6-2 lead heading to the eighth.
The Toros scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut the Broncos’ lead to 7-6.
The Broncos added a run in the ninth thanks to a sacrifice bunt by Gopperton that scored Manskar.
Redshirt sophomore Ben Mora picked up his third save of the season by pitching a perfect one and one third innings.
Hernandez went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
Sophomore third baseman Matt Manskar hit a grand slam in the second game of the double header and the season finale as the Broncos scored nine runs in the first inning en route to a 13-8 win.
The Broncos added two runs in the fourth and seventh innings to secure the win.
Cal State Dominguez Hills rallied in the seventh inning with four runs to make the final score less lopsided.
Along with Manskar, Graddy also drove in four runs.
The latest NCAA Division II West Regional rankings have the Broncos outside the top six and a place in the NCAA Tournament.
The winner of the CCAA Tournament earns an automatic bid into the tournament.
Four CCAA teams are in the top eight of the regional rankings meaning Cal Poly Pomona will need to make a deep run in the tournament to have a chance at being selected.
The CCAA tournament is a six team double-elimination tournament that spans four days.