CHICO STATE GARNERS SPLIT OF FOUR-GAME SET AGAINST UCSD
Story courtesy Luke Reid-Chico State Sports Information
It’s nearly impossible to beat four aces, which explains why the third-ranked Chico State baseball team has yet to lose a series in 2013. Kagen Hopkins, last year’s undisputed ace but playing the role of fourth starter this season, threw seven shutout innings as the Wildcats salvaged a series split against UC San Diego with a 3-1 victory Sunday at Nettleton Stadium.
Hopkins has now compiled 20 consecutive scoreless innings (Or Eggo’s if you like, since his twitter handle is KegoMyEggo) while improving to 7-0 and lowering his ERA to 1.97. His career winning percentage of .789 (15-4) is the fifth highest in school history among pitchers with at least 18 decision.
Hopkins, Nick Baker, Troy Neiman, and Mike Botelho – the team’s current starting rotation – is a combined 25-6 with a 1.79 ERA. The fearsome foursome has held opposing hitters to a .212 batting average and boasts a combined WHIP of 0.97.
So no, Head Coach Dave Taylor hasn’t been working out. He just has four aces up his sleeves.
All of that has helped the Wildcats win seven series (five via sweep) and split the other three.
Third-ranked Chico State improved to 32-8 overall and 25-7 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) and is now one win or one Cal State East Bay loss away from clinching its 17th postseason berth in the past 18 seasons. The top four teams in the final conference standings advance to the CCAA Championship Tournament, which the Wildcats have participated in 13 times in their 14 years in the conference.
The team’s 32 wins are the program’s most through 40 games since winning 32 in 2007 and tied for the fourth most ever. The 2002 team started 35-5, the 2000 squad started 34-6 and the 1997 team started 33-7.
Chico State got all the offense it would need in the first inning. Eric Angerer led off with a walk, and after Cody Webber reached on a wild pitch after striking out, Blake Gibbs drove in the game’s first run with a single to center. Austin Prott then peeled a single through the right side for a 2-0 lead.
The Wildcats finally added to their lead in the eighth on Jon Peters’ pinch-hit double that made it 3-0.
Morgan Yee pitched the final two frames to earn his first save as a Wildcat. He allowed a hard-luck run in the ninth after Gibbs and Ryne Clark miscommunicated on a catchable ball in right-center leading off the ninth.
Yee got a grounder to short to end the ninth, and when Eric Angerer squeezed the final out at first, the defending CCAA-Champion Wildcats’ conference lead over Cal State L.A. was officially two games with eight to play.
Chico State will play a four-game series against Sonoma State next weekend and then wrap up the regular season at home against Cal State L.A. May 3-5.
UC San Diego, the team the Wildcats tied with for last year’s conference title, was officially limited from championship contention. The Tritons, now 22-20 overall and 16-16 in the CCAA, are three games behind Sonoma State for the all-important fourth spot.
CHICO STATE SWEESP RIVAL SONOMA SURGING TOWARD PLAYOFF BERTH
Story courtesy Rory Miller-Chico State Sports Information
ROHNERT PARK – The Chico State softball team has been burned several times this season when opponents staged rallies late in the game to deny the Wildcats a victory – but Saturday in Rohnert Park, it was the Wildcats’ turn to apply some late-inning heartbreak. The ’Cats posted a pair of dramatic wins over No. 16 Sonoma State, scoring a run in the eighth inning to nip the Seawolves 2-1 in the opener of the twinbill, then in the nightcap plating three runs in the sixth inning to pull out a 3-2 win and complete the doubleheader and series sweep.
Saturday’s wins not only improves Chico State’s season record to 23-21, but moves the Wildcats into third place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) standings with a 20-12 conference mark. With the doubleheader loss, Sonoma State slips to 32-16 overall and into fourth place in the CCAA with a 19-13 conference record.
With Cal State Dominguez Hills completing a four-game weekend sweep of Cal State Monterey Bay – effectively knocking the Otters out of postseason contention – Chico State’s magic number for securing one of the four CCAA Championship Tournament berths is now two. Any combination of Wildcat wins and Toros losses totaling two next weekend, and Chico State will be playing in Stockton May 3-5 with a chance to win the conference tourney and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament.
Desiree’ Gonzalez, who sat out Friday’s doubleheader, had two hits and three runs batted in Saturday to lead the Wildcats and extend her current hitting streak to 12 straight. Kelli Keefe chimed in with three hits on the afternoon, with Alex Molina and Amanda Cordeiro contributing a pair of safeties for the victorious ’Cats.
Sonoma State opened the scoring in game one of Saturday’s double dip, as Ali Palermo led off the bottom of the second inning with a double and came home on a base hit by Hayley Condon. Chico State answered in the top of the third when Keefe singled and scored on a two-out double by Gonzalez.
Pitchers Kayla McConnell of the Wildcats and the Seawolves’ Samantha Lipperd matched each other zero for zero for the next four frames, forcing the contest into extra innings. In the top of the eighth, Chico State would take the lead when Gonzalez reached on an error, advanced to second on a pinch-hit single by Molina, and scored on Cordeiro’s double to left field.
Sonoma State made it interesting in the bottom of the eighth, getting the potential tying and winning run on base with two outs, but McConnell struck out Holli Brown to end it, giving the Wildcats the 2-1 victory.
McConnell improved to 7-10 on the season with the complete game win, allowing just six hits while striking out four. Keefe and Cordeiro each delivered two hits to pace the ’Cats’ six-hit attack.
Molina and Sonoma State’s Amanda Llerena hooked up in an impressive pitcher’s duel early in the nightcap – Llerna, in fact, allowed just one Chico State hit – a third inning double by Taylor Hanamaikai – through the first five frames. The Seawolves used the long ball to jump on top in the bottom of the fourth – with Vanessa Currie aboard, Palermo launched her 12th home run of the season over the left field fence, giving Sonoma State a 2-0 lead.
It stayed that way until the top of the sixth inning, when the Wildcat offense came alive. Singles by Keefe and Alli Cook set the stage for Gonzalez, who laced a two-out double to right-center to plate both runners and tie the score. Molina followed with a single to right to drive in Gonzalez to put Chico State in front 3-2.
For one of the very few times this season, there would be no late-inning drama, as Molina retired the last six Sonoma State batters she faced, setting down the Seawolves in order in the bottom of the sixth and bottom of the seventh to secure the Wildcats’ 3-2 win and completing the doubleheader and series sweep – the first time since 2004 that Chico State has swept a season series against Sonoma State.
Molina registered her 16th complete game of the year, raising her season record to 13-6. Chico State tallied six hits in the contest – five coming in the decisive sixth inning.
The Wildcats conclude the regular season next Friday and Saturday, hosting UC San Diego for a four-game series at University Softball Field. Cal State Dominguez Hills wraps up regulation play next weekend at home versus Cal State Stanislaus.
(AP) — Barry Zito (ZEE'-toh) and Chad Gaudin combined on a six-hitter, Buster Posey homered and the San Francisco Giants beat the San Diego Padres 5-0 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
Zito (3-1) bounced back from the worst start of big league career to defeat the Padres for the first time in nearly two years. He allowed five hits in seven innings, struck out four, walked one and did not give up run for the third time in four starts.
Posey's first home run of the season was just the 11th this year for the power-starved Giants.
Before the two-out, two-run drive off Eric Stults (2-2) in the fifth, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford had accounted for all of San Francisco's homers. The Giants open a three game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT & T tonight. Game time is at 7:15 with our pre-game on 101.7 FM and AM 1340 Fox Sports Chico at 6:45pm
(AP) — Roberto Hernandez pitched six effective innings Sunday for his first win since he was known as Fausto Carmona, and the Tampa Bay Rays complete a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics with an 8-1 victory.
Hernandez (1-3) allowed one run, three hits, three walks and had seven strikeouts in his first win since Sept. 20, 2011, while with Cleveland.
The 32-year old right-hander was arrested in January 2012 in the Dominican Republic on false identity charges — as Carmona. They were dropped after he completed a work program.
Oakland starter Tommy Milone (3-1) had his season-opening three-game winning streak end.
The left-hander gave up six runs and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings.
(AP) — The Golden State Warriors got a double dose of bad news Sunday.
They learned All-Star forward David Lee had torn his right hip flexor, as feared, ending his season.
So, they'll have to continue their playoff series against Denver without the NBA's leader in double-doubles.
Making that task all the more difficult will be the return of the Nuggets' top rebounder and energizer, Kenneth Faried, from an injured ankle.
Faried sat out the opener Saturday, when the Nuggets edged Golden State 97-95 despite getting outrebounded 55-45.
(AP) — Ryan Johansen scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:37 remaining to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a big boost in their push for the playoffs with a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night.
Mark Letestu scored twice and Vinny Prospal also scored for the Blue Jackets, who moved into a tie for seventh place with Minnesota in the Western Conference with 51 points. Columbus has played one more game than the Wild and two more than the ninth-place Detroit Red Wings, who are three points back in the race for the final playoff spot.
Marty Havlat, Andrew Desjardins (day-zhar-DAN') and Joe Pavelski scored for the Sharks, who needed only to take the game to overtime to clinch a ninth-straight playoff berth.
Antti Niemi (AN'-tee nee-YEH'-mee) made 18 saves.