Despite a home run early in the game, the Broncos fell short 4-1 to Cal State Los Angeles’ Golden Eagles on Thursday night at Scolinos Field.
In the bottom of the first inning, sophomore center fielder Nick Peifer stepped up to the plate as the first Bronco at-bat. Peifer knocked it over the left field wall, scoring the Broncos’ first and only run in game one of a four-game series.
“I just tried to stay short and to the middle,” Peifer said. “I got a pitch and just tried to get some barrel and I did; it felt really good.”
The Golden Eagles were able to gain a 2-1 advantage in the fourth inning, before scoring runs in both the fifth and sixth.
Despite being down by three, the Broncos fought all the way to the end of the game, loading up the bases in the eighth.
However, they were not able to find their way past the Golden Eagles’ reliever Zachary Grande.
“I think a weakness [of the team] is how we deal with adversity; we aren’t dealing with it very well. It seems like once we get behind we can’t respond,” head coach Randy Betten said. “But when we get the lead we seem to play free and easy; we get behind and we seem to press.”
The Broncos ended the game with a total of six hits and one run. Peifer was responsible for the one run as well as two of the hits. Junior first baseman Brennan McKenzie also had two hits in the game.
Senior righty Ben Mora started on the mound, pitching a total of five innings. Mora allowed three runs on six hits and struck out five.
“It is disappointing that it ended the way it did. It is a team performance and a team sport and today we fell short,” Mora said. “My defense did good today, they did what they needed to do. I just tried to do what I could to keep us in the game, but unfortunately I just fell short.”
The Broncos brought in junior right-hander Jeremy Taylor to relieve Mora before looking to freshman righty Drew Atherton to finish out the game.
Atherton was able to keep the Golden Eagles at bay, pitching a little over three innings and allowing no runs.
“I thought Drew Atherton did a good job out there; he gave us some quality innings and kept us in the ball game,” Betten said. “That guy gave us a chance to win the game; we just didn’t execute.”
The Broncos headed to Reeder Field for a double-header against the Golden Eagles on Friday.
In game two of the series, the Broncos made a comeback and defeated the Golden Eagles 11-7.
The Golden Eagles entered the ninth inning with a 7-4 lead, but the Broncos were not yet ready to give them the ball game. Scoring a total of seven runs in the ninth, the Broncos ended with an 11-7 victory.
Senior left fielder Nic Hernandez helped the Broncos split the series by hitting his second home run of the season.
Peifer also had an impressive performance in game two, with three hits and three runs batted in.
Sophomore right fielder Cesar Lopez also contributed greatly to the win by delivering three hits and two runs.
In game three, the Golden Eagles found their way past the Broncos, scoring early to defeat them 9-5.
The Golden Eagles challenged senior righty Tim Holdgrafer early on in the first inning with a single run batted in, followed by a grand slam, giving them a 5-0 lead.
The Broncos were able to put three runs on the scoreboard in the second inning, one in the fifth and one in the seventh.
However, the Golden Eagles still saw their way to the top, ending the game with a four-run advantage.
The Broncos’ conference record now stands at 7-4, while the Golden Eagles’ are 3-7.
In the final game of the four-game series the Broncos defeated the Golden Eagles 11-3.
Senior Logan Gopperton finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBI’s in the game.
The Broncos broke open the game in the seventh as they scored six runs in the inning.
Senior pitcher Austin Isenhart pitched seven innings in the game.
He allowed three runs on eight hits while striking out four batters in the game.
The Broncos will kick off a four-game series against Cal State San Bernardino at home on Thursday at 6 p.m.
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