Seawolves can’t break Broncos on Senior Weekend

The Sonoma State University baseball team took their positions at the Seawolf Diamond for the last time this season. After winning its midweek matchup with Holy Names 4-3 on Tuesday afternoon, it was swept by Cal Poly Pomona in its three-game Senior Weekend matchup.

The bullpen was key for Sonoma State in Tuesday’s win. After the Broncos took a 3-0 lead on the Seawolves in the third inning, Michael Byerline, Dylan Hecht, Kyle Stevenson, and Mitch Coombs combined for 6.1 innings, allowing two combined hits, and nine strikeouts collectively. Meanwhile, Sonoma State ran away with the scoring with a run-scoring error in the fourth that plated Trevor Abrams, two sacrifice flies in the fifth by Kory Brown and Abrams, followed by an RBI single in the sixth by Patrick Tolbert. Coombs earned his first save of the season and lowered his season ERA to 3.28. 

“It’s Senior Weekend, so everybody wants to send the seniors out with a win,” Coombs said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t put all the pieces together and get that done. We will have a hard last week of practice to make sure we end the season on a good note with a series win over Dominguez Hills.”

The two teams took the field again for a double-header Saturday afternoon. The Seawolves were shutout in game one, 7-0. The Broncos’ right fielder, Daniel Pitts, commenced the scoring with a home run in the fourth, followed by an RBI single in the fifth by center fielder Jacob Bernardy.

They put up four more in the sixth on an RBI single by third baseman Jason Padlo, a two-run single by left fielder Brennan McKenzie, and a sacrifice fly by second baseman Bryce Graddy. They finished off their seven runs with a run-scoring groundout in the seventh by first baseman Nic Hernandez. Haydon Turpin was tagged with the loss for Sonoma State.

Game two was more competitive, as the Seawolves struck first when Grant St. Martin extended his team-leading RBI total to 30 with a sacrifice fly in the home half of the third inning. 

“It has been a great experience for me being able to play with such great seniors,” St. Martin said. “Even though the last home series didn’t go the way we would’ve liked, it was great playing with those guys on our home field one last time.”

The Broncos quickly retaliated. Padlo drove a single into left field in the next half inning that plated their catcher, Cody Martin. They tacked on another run in the fifth on a run-scoring single by shortstop Chris Stratton. They would put up two more runs in the eighth on two RBI singles by Pitts and Padlo, bringing their lead to 4-1, before the Seawolves put up their final rebuttal run in the home half of the eighth on a bomb over the field fence by junior outfielder Bryce Nagata.

“This weekend was all about the seniors,” Nagata said. “They’re a great group of guys and it’s unfortunate we couldn’t get a win for them. Moving forward, we have a strong group of guys returning next year and know the mindset and culture we need to set upon us. We need to put this series behind us and focus on finishing the season strong.”

The Broncos handed senior Matt Hammonds a tough loss, only his second of the season, despite throwing seven innings with only one earned run. Hammonds has been dominant this year, as he boasts a 1.64 ERA in 60.1 innings pitched. He only has one start with more than two earned runs, when he allowed three runs and his only two home runs of the entire season against UC San Diego back in March. Fellow senior Ricky Clark, who threw the other two innings in game two, also owns a polished ERA of 1.41.

“It was a tough series in more ways than one,” Clark said. “On the field we didn’t take care of business. For the nine seniors it was tough playing our final game at Seawolf Diamond. Next weekend we’ll try to finish the season strong and do some damage down in LA.”

The Seawolf seniors took the field for one final game Sunday afternoon—a match the Broncos ran away with. They went up 8-0 in the first five innings. 

Graddy began the scoring in the second inning with an RBI single to center field, followed by a third inning homer by Martin, putting them up 2-0 early. They put up two more in the fourth on two RBI doubles by Bernardy and Frankie Nogales. 

In the fifth inning Pitts had an RBI single to center field, followed by another RBI single by Hernandez, and concluded with a two-run double by Nogales in the right center gap. Jackson Leslie put up the Seawolves’ lone run in retaliation in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homerun to left field. 

The Broncos put up one more run in the ninth on a single through the left side by Padlo, finishing the scoring at 9-1. 

Sonoma State falls to 21-21 overall and 16-19 in conference play. Its next scheduled matchup is a double-header this Saturday in Carson against Cal State Dominguez Hills. First pitch is at noon.