The CPP baseball team opened its four-game series against the Cal State San Marcos Cougars on Friday in San Marcos, before finishing out the series on Sunday at Scolinos Field.
On Friday, the Broncos fell to the Cougars in the series opener 7-4.
CSUSM came into the series with the best offense in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The Cougars have been tearing up the league with a team batting average of .323 and a total of 319 scored runs this season.
The Cougars’ bats went to work in the second inning with two singles, followed by a double to right center to drive in two runs. They added another run in the third with a single to left field.
In the fourth inning, senior third baseman Patrick Vizcaino put the Broncos on the scoreboard with a blast over the left field wall to make the score 3-1.
“[CSUSM’s] pitchers like to throw a lot of off-speed pitches,” Vizcaino said. “I made a box adjustment early, before my first at bat, I scooted up in the box to see the pitch up. I know I got a good pitch and I hit it pretty good.”
But the Cougars responded in the bottom of the fourth with another timely single to bring in two more runs. Then, in the fifth, a single to left center drove in another run to make the score 6-1.
In the sixth, Broncos’ sophomore shortstop Drew Cowley singled to right center, scoring Vizcaino from second to make the score 6-2.
Senior righty Tim Holdgrafer started on the mound for the Broncos, allowing 10 hits and six runs, while striking out five in five innings of work.
“[CSUSM] is the best offensive team in the league and I thought [Holdgrafer] competed well, we just didn’t do anything offensively,” head coach Randy Betten said. “We knew we were going to have to score runs and I guess four runs isn’t going to do it.”
The Broncos turned to junior lefty Cade Kirkemo to pitch the sixth and he responded by giving up only one run in 2.2 innings. Sophomore righty Chris Brunette came in the bottom of the eighth to get the final out of the inning.
Vizcaino doubled to left center in the eighth inning and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Senior right fielder Patrick Flynn followed with a double to left center to score Vizcaino.
“There were no outs and there was a runner on third, so all I was thinking was that I needed to put a ball in play and try and get that run in,” Flynn said. “I got down to two strikes, so I tried to simplify things and not overswing.”
The Cougars scored another run in the bottom of the ninth to hand the Broncos a 7-4 loss.
“I told [the team] we have to make adjustments offensively, we can’t wait until the seventh, eighth, and ninth inning, when we are down by four or five runs, to make an adjustment,” Betten said.
The Broncos made those necessary adjustments and redeemed themselves in game two, defeating the Cougars 5-3 on Saturday.
The Broncos got the scoring started in the first inning when junior first baseman Brennan McKenzie flied out to center field, bringing home senior designated hitter Nic Hernandez from third.
The Cougars took a 2-1 lead in the third inning, but the Broncos were able to rally in the fifth, scoring three runs to move ahead 4-2. Junior second baseman Ryon Knowles singled through the right side to bring in sophomore left fielder Nick Peifer from second. Then, Hernandez smashed his second double of the day to drive in the final two runs of the inning.
The Cougars got one more run in the bottom of the fifth inning, but the Broncos responded with another run in the seventh, when Knowles singled to right center to bring in Cowley from third.
That wrapped up the scoring for both teams, giving the Broncos a 5-3 win.
Saturday’s victory marked Coach Betten’s 300th career win with the Broncos.
The two teams headed to Pomona on Sunday to finish out the four-game series with a doubleheader at Scolinos Field.
The Broncos won both games of the doubleheader.
In game one, they walked away with a 5-1 victory.
Peifer went 2-for-3 with a home run to left center in the fifth inning.
Vizcaino went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Freshman righty Drew Atherton started on the mound, pitching six innings. He allowed five hits and one run, with two strike outs.
In game two, Peifer got the scoring started early in the second inning with one run batted in, followed by another run batted in by Cowley.
The Cougars added runs to the board with a two-run double in the second and a solo home run in the third.
McKenzie broke the game open with a three-run home run in the fourth inning, ending the game with a 9-4 victory.
The Broncos finished with an overall record of 25-25. With the Broncos’ win, they clinched their spot in the CCAA Championship tournament. Seating is undetermined due to games that still need to be played.
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