Dominant pitching and two homers lift the Golden Eagles to victory

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Dominant pitching and two homers lift the Golden Eagles to victory

The baseball team celebrates a victory at the second game this past Friday against Northwest Nazarene.

The baseball team celebrates a victory at the second game this past Friday against Northwest Nazarene.

George Garcia

The baseball team celebrates a victory at the second game this past Friday against Northwest Nazarene.

George Garcia

George Garcia

The baseball team celebrates a victory at the second game this past Friday against Northwest Nazarene.

George Garcia, Staff Reporter

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It was an ideal start to the 2020 season for Cal State LA’s baseball team as they cruised to an 8-2 win over the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks in their Friday night season opener at Reeder Field. 

The cold night didn’t stop starting pitcher, Saxon Andross, from bringing the heat. 

Andross pitched a gem through six scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and delivering nine strikeouts in the process. 

“Every pitch was working tonight. The fastball, [because] I didn’t throw too much off speed today. [I] attacked the zone the whole time; that was my mind set for all six innings,” he said. 

Andross wasn’t phased by the three hits in the fifth inning.“It’s just baseball you’re going to get hit here and there, but it’s one of those things; you just keep attacking.”

The Golden Eagles broke the stalemate in the top of the third inning. 

A single to right center, from sophomore second baseman Nick Atkins got things rolling. Northwest Nazarene’s pitcher Ty Hueckman, 0-1, walked Jeff Zordani, then surrendered back-to-back singles to Allen Pacheco and Randy Buenrostro scoring Atkins and Zordani. 

With men on first and second, designated hitter Aaron McCann stepped to the plate and delivered a 367 foot hammer to right-center, driving in two runs and breaking the game open. The home crowd was locked in as they celebrated the two-run blast as much as the players waiting for McCann at the batter’s box.  

McCann drove in three runs batted in during his four at bats. McCann emphasized the importance of staying “locked in” and getting the first win out of the way. 

The top of the sixth belonged to the Golden Eagles, as the offense continued to click.

Catcher Gerardo Castaneda was walked, and left fielder Michael Tillman singled to right field. Center fielder Jordan Myrow reached base on a fielder’s choice. A solidly hit single to right from shortstop Tyler Odekirk sent Castaneda home making it 6-0. 

A tough sixth inning for the Nighthawks continued with a throwing error from right fielder Haden Keller which drove Odekirk home making the score 7-0.

The Nighthawks, playing their second game of a double header, could not get anything going offensively until the top of the seventh.

Julien Garcia took over for Andross at the top of the seventh.  

Garcia struggled a little in the seventh as he walked first baseman John Gonzalez to begin the inning. His next batter was third baseman Shawn Grandmont. After a wild pitch, Gonzalez moved into scoring position. 

Garcia stayed composed and struck out Grandmont who swung on a nasty slider. Garcia wasn’t totally out of the woods, as designated hitter Quentin Ayers stepped to the plate and doubled to left field driving Gonzalez in. Despite the run, Garcia forced Haden Keller into a fly ball caught at center field, and struck out left fielder Kyle Gracey on a wild swing. 

The Nighthawks pitching woes continued as relief pitcher Brennan Patterson hung one in the zone for Allen Pacheco’s first solo home run of the season, pulling away 8-1. 

A late surge by the Nighthawks at the top of the ninth proved to be too little too late as they scored a run on a single from Ayers. 

After the game head coach Vince Beringhele was happy for his guys, “we’re going to play the game right everyday. I was a bit disappointed with some of our errors tonight, but we’ll grow from it.” 

The unity of the team was on full display in the dugout as the players repeatedly hyped each other up after big moments. Beringhele reaffirmed that after the game, “they’re a tight-knit group, they work hard everyday and come to win everyday.”