By Mateo Lopez, May 10, 2022
On May 6, the CPP baseball team shutout Cal State Dominguez Hills 3-0 in game three of a four-game series. The Broncos extended their win streak to five games heading to the postseason.
In game one and game two, the Broncos defeated the Toros 8-2 and 13-7 off extra-base hits and performances from the pitching staff. In game 3, the Broncos struck out seven batters and left five players on base off run-saving plays by the defense.
“It starts with pitching and then it goes to defense; that’s how we play,” said head coach Randy Betten. “Back when we started talking in February, that’s what we’re about is pitching and defense, and we do that we give ourselves a chance.”
In the first inning, infielder Ryon Knowles led off the inning with a single to right-center field. With one out, outfielder Cesar Lopez singled to right field to load first and second base. After the second out, catcher Jacob Lopez drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Infielder Nick Lugo drove in the first two runs off a base hit to left field.
“Great day [today]; this whole weekend so far has played well,” said Betten. “It’s going to be an emotional day for the seniors, but we were excited about getting the chance to take care of business.”
The Broncos honored their seniors from the current and 2020 rosters in game one and game four over the weekend.
One of those players being honored was starting pitcher Drew Atherton. Atherton finished the game with five hits allowed and five strikeouts through five innings to record his second win of the season.
“We’ve been working on a lot of stuff this year; the slider felt like it was working really well today,” said Atherton. “I was able to make some pitches in key moments. It’s just all the work that we put in as a team came out today for sure.”
In the fifth inning, Atherton allowed a lead off base hit to right field. After recording an out, Toros’ Emilio Barrera doubled to left-center field to load second and third base. Atherton struck out the next batter chasing a 2-2 pitch.
With two on and two outs, third basemen Tyler Chaffee dove on a hard-hit ball down the line to pick up a groundout and end the inning with runners in scoring position.
“As a pitcher, to have a defense like that behind you, it makes pitching just that much easier,” said Atherton. “Knowing that your guys have your back and they’re going to put their bodies and their hearts on the line to make a play, and Chaffee did that.”
Fifth inning troubles continued for the Toros, as Knowles lined a triple to right-center field to leadoff the inning. The Toros picked up two outs while surrendering a walk, but Jacob Lopez singled to left field to send Knowles home 3-0.
“I genuinely think this is one of the better performances I’ve had all year,” said Knowles.
Knowles finished the game three-for-four at the plate while coming home for two runs.
“I’ve been working hard off the field to tweak some parts out of my swing, but this is my last series at Cal Poly Pomona,” said Knowles. “I think that energy has given me something special, so I’m carrying that with me.”
Knowles is the only graduate student on the team.
“It’s definitely bittersweet; I had a lot of great memories here,” said Knowles. “It’s definitely going to be hard walking away from this field. I think the way our season been going and the ending and the stamp that it’s putting on my career is something I’ll cherish forever.”
In game four, the Broncos completed the sweep with an 11-1 victory.
The Broncos will compete in the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament on May 12 in Chico, California.
Featured image by Audissey Hernandez
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