Recap: Golden Eagles win one game in four-game split series

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Recap: Golden Eagles win one game in four-game split series

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 and Isaac Gutierrez

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Dominant pitching and two homers lift the Golden Eagles to victory 

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.”

Double header results in double losses

The Cal State LA Golden Eagles battled through a split double-header this past Saturday night at Reeder Field against the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks and the Dixie State Trailblazers. 

After an offensive onslaught Friday night where the bats scored eight runs in the weekend series opener, the black and gold were silenced for the majority of the night, mustering 10 hits altogether for the two games. 

In a shutout 6-0 loss in Game 1 of the double-header against the Nighthawks, the Golden Eagles tallied only four hits; designated hitter Johnny Pacheco accounted for two of them. 

Starting pitcher Travis Burleson got the nod and aside from a shaky second inning, in which the Nighthawks scored three runs off a homer by catcher Ben Johnson, Burleson was able to regain composure and put together five solid innings of work. 

Heading into Game 2, Cal State LA had a tough opponent in Dixie State, who is currently undefeated in their season (5-0). 

It was an ugly pitching debut for the Golden Eagles’ Christian Longoria, who’s a transfer student from Mt. San Antonio College, as he went three innings and gave up seven runs on nine hits. Collectively, Cal State LA put up three runs on six hits in the 9-3 loss to the Trailblazers. 

The offense didn’t aid their struggling pitcher, being shut out for the first four innings, extending their scoreless streak for the night to 13 straight innings. However, in the bottom of the fifth inning, designated hitter Travis Burleson put an end to the scoreless streak by roping a 2-RBI (Runs Batted In) double to left field, scoring third baseman Randy Buenrostro and shortstop Tyler Odekirk. 

The silver lining for the Golden Eagles is that their pitching staff held a very potent Trailblazer offense scoreless for the final five innings. 

Golden Eagles Close the Weekend with a Brutal Loss to Dixie State  

A tough loss to Dixie State on Sunday dampened the weekend for the Cal State LA baseball team which is now 1-3 to start the season. The final score was 15-2.

The Golden Eagles were looking for a bounce back win after losing a double header on Saturday.   

Garrett Boyce took the mound for the Golden Eagles, making his first start of the season. 

The slender 6’5 junior started off slow, allowing a hit to the right side by Dixie State first baseman Tanner Harper. This drove in Braden Stutzman who had been walked earlier, opening the score 1-0. 

The rough start continued for Boyce as the infield committed two unforced errors, credited to first baseman Randy Buenrostro. Boyce walked second baseman Tyler Hollow, but finally settled in and ended the inning striking out third basemen Tyson Fisher who bit on a pitch and struck out swinging. 

First at bat for the Golden Eagles was shortstop Tyler Odekirk who was one of the bright spots of the game for Cal State LA, reaching first base on a Trailblazer error by shortstop Alec Flemetakis. On a clear opportunity to steal, Odekirk found an alley and stole second from pitcher Tevita Gerber.  

The Dixie State pitcher recovered striking out second basemen Ryan Lewis and forced Buenrostro into a ground out, but Odekirk moved to third. 

The eagles could not capitalize on this early opportunity as Odekirk was left on third after Gerber forced third baseman Travis Burleson into a strikeout after he swung on a pitch.  

Boyce opened the top of the third striking out center fielder Braden Stutzman and catcher Cade Spurling, totaling five strikeouts in three innings. 

However, the momentum belonged to Dixie State as they generated two hits off Boyce. One hit was a double from designated hitter Jake Engel, and the other was a single to center from Tyler Hollow that ended in a score by Engel. Dixie State led 2-0 after the Golden Eagles managed a strong close to the third, tagging Harper as he tried to steal home.    

The Golden Eagles got on the board with a run batted in by Ryan Lewis which sent outfielder Michael Tillman across home plate after being walked by Gerber. The eagles couldn’t capitalize on the momentum after getting on the scoreboard. Buenrostro struck out swinging and the score was 2-1 in the middle of the fourth. 

The Cal State LA defense stayed focused as they closed the fourth inning on a home plate tag by catcher Noe Garcia as Fisher got overzealous, and tried to steal home. 

Boyce controlled the game through four innings only allowing four hits, but the eagle’s pitcher was unfamiliar with going past four innings and a combination of errors allowed the Trailblazers to take over the game for good. 

Coach Vince Beringhele was also forced to play some players out of position due to injury. “We were missing four of our starters today which contributed to the five errors. We’re normally a good defensive team,” he said.

Despite the errors, coach Beringhele remained adamant about trusting his players, “we had a few players out of position, [they] can play those positions but just don’t do it frequently.”  

Miscues hurt the eagle’s in the fifth. Boyce walked Flemetakis and hit catcher Cade Spurlin placing men on first and second. Lewis mishandled a ball for an error which allowed Harper to reach first,  scoring Spurlin and Flementakis. Hollow singled off Boyce to center field scoring Harper on an unearned run. 

After 88 pitches and seven straight balls Beringhele visited Boyce on the mound, but ultimately allowed him to finish the inning. Boyce responded by forcing Fisher into a fly out. Boyce ended the inning giving up a total of five runs. 

Going five innings was unfamiliar territory for Boyce, “I threw in the nineties today, so I need to work on being more efficient and adjust my [velocity]. I usually go three or four [innings] and keep my pitch count low,” he said.   

Pitcher Julien Garcia would take over in the sixth. 

The Golden Eagle’s last attempt at a rally was in the bottom of the sixth. Odekirk gave fans something to cheer about with a double to left field, but Cal State LA still trailed 9-1. Lewis was 2-4 in the game and singled to left. A Trailblazer error by Flemetakis allowed Burleson to get on base and Odekirk scored closing the gap to 9-2. After Buenrostro struck out as the third batter, left fielder Johnny Pacheco grounded into a double play ending any hopes for the Eagles.

Stagnant batting was a concern for coach Beringhele, “this is still a resilient team, and we will address the hitting issues tomorrow as a matter-a-fact.”

It was a tough game for relief pitchers Julien Garcia and Miguel Garcia who accounted for ten runs, nine hits and only two strikeouts.

The Golden Eagles will try to get back on track this Friday at 6 p.m. at Reeder Field as they begin a four-game home stand against Cal State Monterey Bay.