By James Oliden, May 3, 2022
On March 12, the Broncos baseball team dropped their fourth straight game falling to Cal State Monterey Bay, leaving the team with a 3-7 record during the CCAA season. Since then, the Broncos have been dominant, winning 18 of their next 22 games.
During their 22-game stretch, the Broncos have had huge winning streaks of five and seven games. The Broncos went from allowing 6.2 runs per game throughout the first 10 games to allowing just 3.9 runs per game. The offense has also improved, increasing their runs per game from 6.2 to 7.4.
Randy Betten, head coach for the Cal Poly Pomona baseball team, expressed the frustration around the team after their slow start.
“The coaches and staff knew we were better than 3-7,” said Betten. “When we were struggling, we never gave up on the guys in our program.”
After the Broncos ended 3-7, the team rattled off five wins in a row, including a dominant sweep against Cal State East Bay, to improve their record to 7-7.
Will Rudy, starting pitcher for the Broncos, has been the ace for an impressive pitching staff. Rudy leads the conference with a 1.89 earned run average and 72 strikeouts while allowing the lowest opposing batting average at .193 among qualified starters.
“I try not to put too much pressure on myself,” said Rudy. “I trust my guys behind me and my team and coaches. So, with their help, I should be just fine.”
In their most recent series against Cal State San Marcos on April 22 to April 24, the Broncos swept them, scoring an average of 11 runs per game and winning the last game of the series 16-1.
Through the 41 total games played on the season, the Broncos pitching staff holds a 4.68 ERA, which is second in the conference, along with the offense posting a .296 average that ranks third in the conference.
Betten credits Jenzen Torres, the associate head coach for the Broncos, and Anthony Mizrahi, the program associate, with the pitching staff’s turnaround.
“The guys started feeling more comfortable in their roles and were more confident in their stuff,” said Betten.
On the offensive side of the ball, infielder Ryon Knowles has shown impressive leadership. Betten mentioned how he challenged Knowles as one of the leaders of the team, and in return, Knowles has answered that call posting a .347 batting average to go with a .947 OPS. Knowles noted how the offense has approached each game after stumbling out of the gates.
“We try to carry the same approach,” said Knowles. “It’s nine of us versus one guy.”
The sweep of Cal State East Bay was a pivotal moment for Knowles that ignited momentum among the team. Since then, the Broncos have not lost a series. With four games before the CCAA tournament begins, the Broncos hope to ride the lightning that they caught in a bottle all the way to the championship.
The Broncos are set to face off against Cal State Dominguez Hills on May 5 at Scolinos Field. To find more information, visit the Bronco Athletics website.
Featured image by Carlos Leano.
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