This weekend, the Sonoma State Seawolves traveled to Fresno to take on the Fresno Pacific University Sunbirds in a non-conference three game series, taking place with one game on Friday followed by a double-header on Saturday.
Pitching was key in Friday’s game as both teams struggled to produce offense for a large portion of the game. The Seawolves jumped on the board very quickly in the first inning after junior Eric Ehlow drove in an RBI single to score Alex Crosby from second.
Unfortunately, this would be the only run that SSU would put up due to Fresno Pacific’s J.D. Salles shut down pitching. Salles was not pulled until the ninth inning, racking up 12 strikeouts along the way and not allowing SSU any more runs. Toeing the rubber for the Seawolves was senior George Asmus who went on to throw six and a half scoreless innings, allowing no walks and recording five strikeouts.
There was almost no sign of offense for the rest of the game until a turn of events in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Fresno Pacific started off their half of the inning with a leadoff double coming off the bat of first baseman Joshua Banuelos, who would then advance to third base after a wild pitch in the next at bat.
In the same at bat, Fresno Pacific’s infielder Brandon Villanueva hit a sacrifice fly ball to right field that was dropped and allowed Banuelos to cross the plate, knotting the teams up at 1-1.
After two walks to the next three hitters, one intentionally, the bases were now loaded for Fresno Pacific with only one out when their next batter was hit by a pitch, advancing all of the runners and forcing a “walk” walk-off win for the Sunbirds.
The Seawolves offensive struggles continued on into the first game of Saturday’s double-header where they were shut out by Fresno Pacific 6-0. The Sunbirds were backed by their stellar pitching coming from Wilson Ashford throwing the first four innings and James Lagorio completing the shut out by finishing out the last five.
Fresno Pacific’s offense was productive throughout the entire game putting up runs in the first inning and continued to score until the eighth. The Sunbirds were led offensively from Baron Bower who went 4-5, tallying two RBIs, two runs scored, and knocked out his first home run of the season. Senior Garrett Schwartz of the Seawolves went 2-3, representing half of the team’s total of four hits.
After losing the first two games already, the Seawolves were hungry for a victory. Jumping onto the board first, the Seawolves took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when junior Cameron Merriweather drove in the first run on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded.
The Sunbirds answered soon enough by scoring on a wild pitch in the bottom of the second, tying the game at one apiece. The Seawolves then went on to rack up two more runs in the following third inning coming from RBI singles off the bats of junior Devin Alexander and senior Wesley Wallace, making the score 3-1.
This lead would hold up until the final inning, where with two outs and two runners in scoring position, Fresno Pacific’s Michael Hostetler delivered a clutch single to center field that scored both runners and tied the game at 3-3. Hostetler then stole second base to put himself in scoring position and two batters later, Brandon Villanueva singled to right field to score Hostetler and delivered the Sunbirds their second walk-off win of the series.
The Seawolves now drop to 6-7 overall and will return home for their next series where they will host Cal State-Dominguez Hills in a four-game series. Game one of the series will take place Friday, at 2 p.m. at Seawolf Diamond.