The baseball season is starting to wind down to a close, as the race in standings grows increasingly more competitive. The Sonoma State University baseball team split a four-game Easter weekend series with Cal State East Bay, bringing its league record to 15-13. The Seawolves and the Pioneers began their first matchup Thursday afternoon with an estimated attendance of over 200.
The Pioneers got off to an early lead in the top half of the second with three runs plated by an RBI single, an error and a bases loaded walk. The Seawolves quickly retaliated in the home half of the fourth with three runs of their own.
The scoring began with a double down the left field line by Trevor Abrams that scored Daniel Caresio. Two more runs then came in on a single to right center by Nathan Mann, plating Abrams and Grant St. Martin.
The scoring continued pretty consistently as the Pioneers scored in the next half inning on an RBI single, followed by two runs by Sonoma State in the next half inning on a bases loaded walk by St. Martin and a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Abrams.
The scoring resumed in the next half inning as CSEB put up three more runs on an RBI single by left fielder Kris Bartlett and a two-run single by its first baseman Troy Resch. The Seawolves put up a rebuttal run in the bottom of the eighth, but ultimately fell short 6-7.
The loss tagged Sonoma State’s senior starter Haydon Turpin.
“East Bay was a huge series for us,” Turpin said. “The North is battling it out for playoff spots and it’s a close race. We had a few close games this weekend and our team battled. Couldn’t ask for much more, that’s just how baseball goes. Now that makes next weekend even more important with a series against Monterey who’s right in the playoff race with us.”
Game two ended much more in Sonoma State’s favor. The Pioneers put up the game’s first run on a double by Resch, then Sonoma State put forth the rest of the scoring. It scored the equalizing run in the home half of the second on a sacrifice fly by Mann. St. Martin put the team in the lead in the sixth with a towering two run homerun to left center field.
The homer was St. Martin’s team-leading fifth of the season. He is also leading the team in runs, doubles, RBI’s, slugging percentage, sacrifice flies, and walks, while maintaining a .321 batting average.
“It’s great to be playing playoff level games with a couple series to go on the season,” St. Martin said. “We had some great pitching from our staff and got the bats to fire up at the right times. From here on out it’s basically time to play like it’s the last game of the season and put our best effort forward to make it to the CCAA tourney, West regional, and then the Division Two World Series.”
An RBI base-hit by Mann followed St. Martin’s home run, bringing the team’s lead to 4-1. It then tacked on three more insurance runs in the eighth. Mann drove in another run on a single through the left side that scored Jackson Leslie, followed by a steal of home by Bryce Nagata and a double to left center by Jake Sahagian, securing the victory for the Seawolves 7-1.
Senior starter Matt Hammonds was given the no-decision, despite throwing five and two-thirds innings while only surrendering one earned run.
“We battled the entire weekend,” Hammonds said, “had some tough breaks, and didn’t play our best but we were able to split and stay in the race. We need to focus all of our attention on Monterey and get ourselves into a better playoff spot.”
The win was given to Bennett, bringing his record to even at 2-2.
The Seawolves were unable to keep their momentum from the win, as the Pioneers took game three 6-5. Sonoma State struck first with a double by Mann to right center that scored St. Martin and Caresio. CSEB responded with a run in the next half inning on an RBI single by shortstop Colt Parshall.
The 2-1 Seawolf lead remained until the fifth when they tacked on three more on a home run by Joshua Montelongo that brought in Abrams and Matt Richards. They were unable to sustain their 5-1 lead, as the Pioneers put up five runs in the next half inning, securing the one run victory.
Senior pitcher Ricky Clark threw an inning and a third with no earned runs to finish the game, bringing his ERA to an immaculate 0.64 on the season.
“This weekend had the potential to be a big weekend for us, just a couple mistakes came back to bite us,” Clark said. “A split wasn’t the worst thing as we just kept pace with the rest of the league even though it would have been nice to jump East Bay in the standings. Now is the time for us to get hot going into the final three series.”
The two teams finished the series on Saturday afternoon. The series concluded on a positive note for Sonoma State, shutting out the Pioneers 6-0. St. Martin drove in the first two with a double down the left field line that plated Mitch West and Caresio in the first, followed by a single to left field by Montelongo that brought in St. Martin.
St. Martin drove in Caresio on a sacrifice fly in the second for their fourth run, then a home run to left center by Montelongo in the seventh drove in the final two runs.
Coombs earned his second victory of the year, tossing six shutout innings, allowing five hits and one walk, while collecting four strikeouts. Two shutout innings by Matt Stafford and a scoreless ninth by senior Cody Bennett finished off the game.
“The series was pretty frustrating but also promising at the same time,” Bennett said. “We showed how good we could be at times and that we could compete with anyone in this league.”
The Seawolves have a full schedule for the upcoming week, as they will defend their home field with a midweek matchup against Holy Names on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a three game weekend series in Seaside against Cal State Monterey Bay.