Second baseman Beau Betten takes a pitch against the Toros during Saturday's doubleheader. | Photo courtesy of CPP Athletics

CPP baseball sweeps Cal State Dominguez Hills in final home series

By Cesar Rivas, May 7, 2024

The Cal Poly Pomona Broncos played their last home series of the regular season against Cal State Dominguez Hills from April 26 to April 28, sweeping the Toros to secure a spot in the CCAA Tournament.

The Broncos were firing on all cylinders in the series, showcasing an all-around team effort in pitching, hitting and defense.

“It starts with pitching, and pitchers are throwing great right now and they executed their pitches, and you know, we were swinging the bat well too and playing good defense,” said head coach Randy Betten. “So, it was a combination of everything we put together this weekend.”

In game one, Broncos’ catcher Johnny Pappas scored in the bottom of the first inning with a leadoff home run to left field, giving the Broncos an early 1-0 lead.

The Toros responded in the top half of the third inning with a leadoff hit by catcher Dylan Schumacher, followed by another single by shortstop CJ Masciel. A sac-bunt moved the runners into scoring position, allowing designated hitter, Noah Karliner, to drive in a run while grounding out to a fielder’s choice, evening the score at 1-1.

After a few scoreless innings from both sides, the Broncos offense took over in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, left fielder Jack Sanders smashed a ball over the left field fence for a grand slam, giving the Broncos a 5-1 lead.

The Broncos continued to pour on runs, as shortstop Nick Lugo nailed a double down the left field line, continued by a walk to second baseman Beau Betten. This made way for center fielder Brent Cota to nail a bases-clearing double, bringing the score to 7-1. Still with two outs, Sanders brought in another run with a single back up the middle, making the score 8-1 after six innings.

In the seventh, three consecutive singles came from right fielder Anthony Gibbons. Designated hitter Julian Angulo and third baseman Darius Price added an additional run to the total. A double from Lugo, and a single from Beau Betten, drove in another two runs. The Broncos finished off the inning with a single from Pappas, who drove in the one last run to defeat the Toros 12-1.

“We just have been putting in work nonstop practice at hitting at practice and, just kind of go by just being greedy in the box and not letting us get beat,” said Lugo.

The Broncos clinched a spot in the California Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs behind the first-game win, but they will need to continue their dominance to earn a bye in the tournament.

Game two saw Dominguez Hills jump out to an early lead in the top half of the third inning with a leadoff home run to left field by second baseman Emilio Barrera, giving the Toros a 1-0 lead.

The Broncos responded quickly in the bottom half of the third with a leadoff walk to Lugo, and a Cota infield single on a fielder’s choice by Pappas evened the game at one apiece.

Within a blink of an eye, the Toros regained a 2-1 advantage in the fourth inning with another leadoff home run by designated hitter, Karliner.

CPP responded with three consecutive singles from Lugo, Beau Betten and Cota to tie the game 2-2. With runners on base and two outs, an infield single by Sanders gave the Broncos the go-ahead run to make the score 3-2.

A combination of hits and walks in the eighth added two more runs in favor of the Broncos for a final score of 5-2.

Coach Randy Betten stressed the importance of his team stepping up in big moments.

“I think that the offense is embracing it, the pitchers are embracing it, the defense is embracing it, and that’s good to see at this time of year,” said Randy Betten.

Game two of the doubleheader was played to seven innings; Dominguez Hills gained a one-run lead in the first by a one-out homer to left by Karliner.

The Broncos countered in the second inning after a walk by Angulo and a double to left field by Price, putting runners in scoring position. A wild pitch from the Toros scored a run for Angulo and fielder’s choice by Lugo drove Price home giving the Broncos a 2-1 lead.

The Toros battled to tie the game 2-2 in the top half of the fifth inning, the Broncos answered in the bottom half of the inning with some runs of their own to retake the lead.

A walk to Sanders and back-to-back doubles from first baseman Marco Malerba and Gibbons brought the score to 4-2. With runners on second and third, Lugo drove in two more runs with a single down the left-field line, to make the score 6-2 after five innings of play.

CPP tagged on three more runs in the sixth behind a three-run home run over the left-center field fence by Sanders, ultimately totaling the final score to 9-2.

Starting pitcher Noel Soto threw seven strikeouts in six innings of work before he was relieved by Anthony Vasquez, who recorded one strikeout through the final inning of play.

“We’re pushing on all cylinders, the pitchers are dominant, our bats were live, and the defense is solid,” said Lugo.“So, when we get all things going like that, we’re pretty tough to beat.”

The final game of the series was senior day for the Broncos, and the team gave the graduates something to remember with a dominant performance.

The offense started in the third inning with a leadoff single by Cota and a triple by Sanders to get the first run on the board. Followed by a Malerba double to left center field adding on another run, and an Angulo single up the middle brought the score to 3-0 after the third inning.

In the sixth inning, the Broncos scored seven runs from a combination of walks and extra-base hits, bringing the score to 10-0.

“It’s a good feeling, especially when you go out there your first inning just knowing that your offense is gonna score for you and make plays for you out there as well too,” said pitcher Evan Adolphus.

The seventh inning saw the final runs scored by CPP as Sanders blasted a two-run home run to left center field to give him his third home run of the series, and a 12-0 lead for the Broncos.

The pitching staff controlled the game from start to finish to get the shutout win. It began with Adolphus, who only allowed four hits through seven innings and nine strikeouts with no walks. The bullpen continued the performance without a given run through the final two innings.

The Broncos completed the sweep with a 12-0 shutout, improving to a 24-12 conference record.

After the sweep over the Toros, the Broncos faced Cal State San Bernardino in their final series of the season. While CPP hoped to secure a first-round bye by sliding into the first or second-seed spots in the CCAA Tournament, a 3-1 series loss against the Yotes forced the Broncos into the third-seed spot. They will face Sonoma State in the opening round of the CCAA tournament May 8.

Feature image courtesy of the CPP Athletic Department

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