The Broncos took both games of a doubleheader at home on Saturday, as they defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills 6-0 in game one and 8-6 in the second.
Senior Tim Holdgrafer pitched a gem in game one as he recorded his third straight win of the season. Holdgrafer went six and two-thirds with nine strikeouts with one walk and only allowed two hits.
“Tim’s our number one guy. Every time he goes out there he gives us a chance to win,” head coach Randy Betten said. “He threw pitches for strikes, worked fast and the guy’s a winner.”
In the first inning, the Toros’ starting pitcher Tristan Garnett had command issues as he walked the first batter in four pitches and hit the next two. With the bases loaded and no outs, junior first baseman Brennan McKenzie hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring a run.
Despite the opportunity to break the game open, the Broncos’ offense struggled as they only scored one run in the inning.
After the first, the game turned into a pitcher’s duel as neither offense could get going. Holdgrafer had yet to allow a Toro base runner through five innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Broncos’ offense looked to get going as they had runners on first and second with no outs. Junior second baseman Ryon Knowles hit a rocket that went right under the first baseman glove to give the Broncos a 2-0 lead.
After a balk by Garnett, sophomore shortstop Drew Cowley hit a sac fly to score another run.
With a three-run lead, Holdgrafer stuck out the first batter he faced in the sixth inning. After getting the next batter to pop up, Holdgrafer walked the next batter to give the Toros their first base runner of the game. Soon after, the next batter hit a weak dribbler towards short that became an infield single to break up Holdgrafer’s no-hitter.
Junior Troy Bethell came into relief and pitched two shutout innings, giving the Broncos the victory in game one.
“I didn’t have my best stuff but I continued to battle and tried to get ahead and stay ahead of batters,” Holdgrafer said. “My whole plan is to pitch backwards to hitters at all times and to keep them off balance and be uncomfortable at the plate.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Toros’ offense came alive as they scored six runs in three innings to start the game.
The Broncos started to chip away as they got solo home runs from sophomore Nick Peifer and McKenzie.
Down 6-2, senior Nic Hernandez started the bottom of the sixth with a double and was moved over by Knowles. McKenzie singled to the right side of the infield, scoring Hernandez. McKenzie later scored after back-to-back singles by the Broncos.
With the deficit cut to just two runs, the Broncos gave themselves an opportunity in the eighth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Hernandez with a 2-0 count hit a shot towards the left center that kept carrying. Hernandez cleared the bases with a three-run RBI double to give the Broncos the late 7-6 lead. Knowles singled right after, scoring Hernandez.
“I’ve been struggling a lot. Coach told me to look for something out over the plate and try not to do too much with it,” Hernandez said. “I got something middle-away and tried to take a good swing on it and put it in the gap and it happened.”
Senior Darin May came in the ninth and struck out two of the three batters he faced to give him his second save of the season.
“I told the team to just keep grinding it out,” Betten said. “We had a couple home runs to make it 6-2, we had a little momentum on our side and they gave us a chance. We had the right guy at the plate in Hernandez, who has done it his whole career, got the big hit.”
The double header on Sunday was all Broncos as they won the first game 7-0 and 17-3 in the second game.
In game one, both Knowles and McKenzie went 3-4 with a double each. In game two, the Broncos scored nine runs in the seventh inning alone.
Senior catcher Logan Gopperton went 4-for-5 with three runs batted in.
The Broncos will now face UC San Diego in a four-game series with the first two games of the series set to be played at Scolinos field Thursday and Friday, with first pitch at 6 p.m.
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