Ryon Knowles went 3-for-3 with two runs scored in the game-one win against the Chico State Wildcats. MILAAN OLINGER | THE POLY POST

Broncos split series against the Wildcats

The Broncos headed to Chico State on Thursday to split a four-game series against the Chico State Wildcats.

After the series, the Broncos have fallen out of the top six in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), and the Top 6 will continue on to the CCAA Championship Tournament.

On Thursday, the Broncos got the scoring started in the second inning when sophomore center fielder Nick Peifer blasted his first triple of the game to right center.

Peifer was brought home when senior designated hitter Patrick Vizcaino flied out to center field.

The Wildcats were able to tie the ballgame in the fourth inning, but the Broncos kept their bats at bay for the remainder of the game.

In the sixth inning, junior second baseman Ryon Knowles doubled through the left side, before Peifer knocked him in with his second triple of the evening.

“I knew we had some pretty good arms on the mound to face,” Knowles said. “I got a lot of pitches up in the zone to hit tonight and I was able to work up a lot of two-strike counts as well. The pitcher made a mistake and I took advantage of it. I was just able to find some holes and help my team out tonight.”

Ryon Knowles went 3-for-3 with two runs scored in the game-one win against the Chico State Wildcats. (Milaan Olinger / The Poly Post)

Knowles smashed his second double in the eighth inning, driving in a run after a walk and a fielding error, leaving the Broncos with a 3-1 victory in game one.

Senior righty Tim Holdgrafer started on the mound for the Broncos, pitching eight strong innings.

“[Chico State] had a good pitcher on the mound and it was kind of a competitive battle between me and him,” Holdgrafer said. “I came in with a different mindset this week, just to attack the hitters. I think [the team’s] chemistry is really good right now. We found each other and we found a niche that works. We use that as our backbone to drive and keep winning.”

Holdgrafer put up an impressive performance with six strikeouts and only one run, advancing his winning record to 8-3.

“This week [Holdgrafer] made some adjustments with our pitching coach, Jenzen Torres, in the bullpen,” head coach Randy Betten said. “He was able to put that work into fruition tonight by going out there and executing those pitches that he worked on. He is so athletic that he is able to make those adjustments quickly.”

Senior righty Darin May was brought out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth inning and kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard with one strikeout and no hits.

Peifer finished the night going 2-for-3 with two triples and one run batted in.

Knowles went 3-for-3 with two doubles.

The series continued Friday with the Broncos splitting a double-header at Nettleton Stadium.

In game one, the Wildcats attacked the Broncos’ defense, scoring 15 runs to defeat the Broncos 15-2.

Despite home runs by Vizcaino in the fourth inning and senior left fielder Nic Hernandez in the fifth, it wasn’t enough to take the lead as the Wildcats scored a total of eight runs in the eighth inning.

Senior lefty Austin Isenhart started the game and pitched six innings, giving up six runs with five strikeouts.

The Broncos looked to the junior lefty Troy Bethell to pitch the seventh inning but after allowing eight runs, sophomore lefty Connor Todd was brought out to finish the game. Todd allowed one run.

The Broncos regrouped and were ready to take on the Wildcats in game two, walking away with a 4-1 victory.

With two throwing errors and one fielding error by the Wildcats’ defense, the Broncos were able to score two runs in the third inning.

The Wildcats managed to add a single run to the board in the bottom of the third but with another throwing error in the sixth, the Broncos took a 3-1 advantage.

In the seventh, the Wildcats made their sixth error of the game to leave the Broncos with a 4-1 win.

The two teams finished out the four-game series on Saturday.

In game four, the Broncos scored one run in the first inning but that would be the last of their scoring as they fell to the Wildcats 4-1 to split the series.

Junior pitcher Jeremy Taylor took his second loss of the season as he pitched three and a third innings.

Taylor allowed two runs on five hits.

The Broncos’ offense was quiet as it only had four hits in the entire game.

Knowles drove in the Broncos’ lone run with a groundout.

The Broncos will head to San Marcos to take on the Cal State San Marcos Cougars at 3 p.m. Friday, before heading back home on Sunday to finish out the series with a double-header on Scolinos Field.

This will be the last conference play series for the Broncos.

“The last month or so, I have seen a little bit more consistency in our approach as a team, which makes me feel good because the team is coming together,” Betten said. “If we can just continue to play the way we are and compete, we will be fine.”

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