Golden Eagles fight to the finish in final home series opener


Xavier Zamora

Senior Andrew Tovar steps up to the plate for the Golden Eagles. Photo by Xavier Zamora.

The Golden Eagles baseball team defeated Cal State Monterey Bay in the first of a four-game weekend series with a final score of 9-8, including a walk-off three run home run by senior Andrew Tovar.

The team has had a rollercoaster of a season. A combination of big wins and disappointing losses have placed the Golden Eagles with a below .500 record for what will be the fourth straight year. However, spirits are high within the dugout as the team tries to salvage what it can from the remaining regular season.

Head Coach Vince Beringhele was proud of the players and their ability to fight to the finish for the win. “This team has fought all year,” he said.  “Our record doesn’t show where we’re at, but we’ve talked about it — that we will fight all the way to our last swing of the day.”

The Golden Eagles spoke their success into existence this time.

Taking a 6-5 lead into the top of the ninth behind impressive pitching from senior Owen Hunt and six straight innings of scoring, the team needed only three outs to secure the victory.

Hunt started the game for the Golden Eagles, in what could potentially be his last home series at Reeder Field. He is taking everything one day at a time, enjoying the journey with his teammates.

“I’m just trying to have fun,” he said. “This might be the last [home series] and I’m going to miss Reeder.”

Coming into the series, Hunt was recently awarded conference and National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America West Region Pitcher of the Week for his performance against Cal State East Bay. He pitched a complete game, allowing only four hits with eight strikeouts as the team won 4-1. He is also one of the best in the conference in total strikeouts and innings pitched this season.

“Owen grinded on the mound,” Coach Beringhele said. “He threw 30 pitches in the first inning and then found a way to get us through seven [innings]. That helps our bullpen through the entire weekend.”

Senior pitcher Mikell Chavez was brought in the game to relieve Hunt and close out the win for the Golden Eagles.

Chavez started his outing on the mound strong in the top of the eighth inning, striking out two of the five batters he faced and only allowing two hits. However, the top of the ninth inning is where the rollercoaster took a stomach twisting drop.

Cal State Monterey Bay seemed to have the momentum after getting two runners on base with a swinging bunt and double to left field. With only one out in the inning, the Otters blasted a three run homer over center field giving them a 8-6 lead. Chavez was able to close out the inning without any more damage being done.

The bottom of the ninth inning started with a ground out in the infield. The away crowd was loud and rowdy knowing it only needed two more outs to secure the win.

Seniors Matthew Piotrowski and Michael Rosales hit back-to-back singles and shifted momentum in the Golden Eagles favor.

Senior Andrew Tovar was brought in to pinch hit for the Golden Eagles with two outs in the inning. He felt confident stepping up to the plate.

“I just knew I had to do something big,” he said. “I stayed composed, took a few pitches to get my timing and waited for one I liked.”

The entire field seemed to look up to the sky as Tovar made contact and the home crowd and dugout erupted in cheers as the ball disappeared into the night air over the right field fence — securing the win for the Golden Eagles.

“I don’t think we’ve had a walk-off homerun this year,” Hunt said in amazement. “So to do it here, to start our last home series, game on the line, two outs. Tovar stepped up and did his thing.”

The Golden Eagles will finish out the regular season with a four-game road series at Chico State starting May 4.