Baseball’s postseason hopes washed away in Monterey

Published 2009-05-06T00:00:00Z”/>


Thomas Lawrence

<em>Editor’s Note: The Chico State baseball team was unavailable for comment on this story.</em>

A loss in the opening game to last place Cal State Monterey Bay meant for the first time since 1995 the Chico State baseball team would miss the postseason.

It wasn’t a storybook ending for a team picked to win the California Collegiate Athletic Association in a preseason survey amongst conference coaches.After not picking up a series win against Sonoma State, and then a potential sweep against Cal State Stanislaus, the Wildcats needed to take all four games at last place Cal State Monterey Bay this weekend to make the conference tournament.<strong>Over before it starts</strong>In Friday afternoon’s game in Seaside, the Otters got up early on the ‘Cats by a count of 4-1 before the rain that swept Central and Northern California forced the rest of the game to Saturday at 11 a.m.The Wildcats scored in the seventh and then twice in the eighth inning to tie the game &- but it wouldn’t be enough.Head coach Dave Taylor’s crew, loaded with offensive threats like Josh Meagher and Kevin Seaver, as well as mound monsters Pete Mickartz and Joel Garcia, couldn’t comeback and lost to the Otters 8-4 to effectively end their postseason hopes.The ‘Cats, once ranked No. 3 in the nation, couldn’t get stellar performances from 2008 studs like Mike Robbins who was 10-1 last year but went 1-4 with a 7.51 ERA in 2009.Wildcat pitching also had trouble in 2009 with 39 wild pitches, the third most in the league behind the two cellar teams in San Francisco State, which had 50 and Cal State Monterey Bay, which had 54.In late March the Wildcats couldn’t afford any imperfections after a mediocre start, but couldn’t avoid them, losing a crucial series to UC San Diego, splitting with Sonoma State and the aforementioned missed sweep chance against Stanislaus, Taylor said.<strong>Finishing strong</strong>After the disappointing partial game loss on Saturday morning, the ‘Cats rebounded for a doubleheader sweep over the Otters.In game one, the Wildcats took out their aggression on host Monterey Bay with a 19-3 blowout win.Senior hurler Joel Garcia delivered his seventh complete game win of the season to improve his record to 9-2 overall, scattering nine hits. The win also lowered Garcia’s career ERA to 2.74 &- ninth all-time at Chico State.Freshman second baseman Bryan Willson hammered in 6 RBIs with two doubles, senior third baseman Bret Ringer homered and had 3 RBIs while junior outfielders Adam Arakawa and Jordan Larson drove in three runs each.In game two of the doubleheader, freshman Jordan Lindebaum led the way with a complete game victory as the ‘Cats beat the Otters 5-4. Lindebaum struck out five and did not surrender a walk.Seaver, the sophomore first baseman, was 5-for-7 on the day to keep his average well over .400.<strong>One for the road</strong>The ‘Cats completed their 2009 campaign with an 8-4 win over the Otters for a series victory and their 35th overall win of the season.Senior Andrew Pluta came in with a pair of runners on in the ninth to lock up the final save of his career as a Wildcat.Seaver went 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored to finish with a batting average of .442 &- the new record for Chico State baseball.Michael Gleason, a junior and business administration major, got his first start of the year &- picking up the win and throwing six shutout innings to start things off.Chico State finished with a 20-16 mark in CCAA play and a record of 35-21 overall &- good for fifth place in the conference that will likely send three teams to the NCAA Western Regional playoffs along with Western Oregon of the Great Northwestern Athletic Conference.The ‘Cats say goodbye to seniors Meagher, Pluta, Ringer, Garcia, Robbins, Eveland, Robert Mills, Nick Victor, Eric Stephens, Ivan Gonzalez, Derek Mayer, Bryan Save and Jimmy Dodos.Thomas Lawrence can be reached at <a href= “javascript:void(location.href=’mailto:’+String.fromCharCode(116,108,97,119,114,101,110,99,101,64,116,104,101,111,114,105,111,110,46,99,111,109)+’?’)”> [email protected]</a>