Kelly’s homer sparks ‘Cats offense in lone weekend win


Junior catcher Dillon Kelley loads up for the pitch in a game against Academy of Art. Photo credit: Lindsay Pincus

Junior catcher Dillon Kelly launched a home run to lead the ‘Cats to a 10-7 win over the Cal State East Bay Pioneers, in Hayward on March 3.

Kelly scored the first run for the ‘Cats after hitting a double in the top of the fourth. A sacrifice fly by junior outfielder Josh Falco brought Kelly home and tied the game at 1-1.

Kelly crushed the homer in the top of the sixth with a 3-1 count, driving in two runs. The home run broke the 1-1 tie and unleashed a hitting spree from the team as the ‘Cats ended the inning 5-1.

Kelly ended the game with two hits and two RBIs, and scored two runs, leading his team through his batting performance. Because of Kelly’s ability to break up the tie in the sixth, his team scored in every inning from then on.

Junior pitcher Clayton Gelfand warms up before an inning in a game against Academy of Art. Photo credit: Lindsay Pincus

The Pioneers got ahead early in the game, scoring the first runs in the bottom of the third. The ‘Cats climbed back to get ahead and were able to hold their lead because of their successful batting.

While the Pioneers attempted to mount a comeback in the ninth, the ‘Cats 10-3 lead was too much to battle. The Pioneers scored four runs on four hits in the bottom of the ninth, but ended the game with a 10-7 loss.

This marks junior pitcher Clayton Gelfand’s third win of the season, pushing his record to 3-2. He pitched for six innings, walked six batters and allowed only five hits and three runs, though two of the runs allowed were unearned.

Senior pitcher AJ Epstein supported his team by taking over for Gelfand in the sixth. With the bases-loaded, Epstein induced a double-play grounder. Epstein also had one strikeout in the game, as well as a shut down seventh inning.

This is Chico State’s second straight win, and pushes its overall record to 13-4, and conference record to 3-2.

The rest of the series was rained out, but the ‘Cats will be back at home on March 11 against Cal State San Bernardo.

Kenta McAfee can be reached at [email protected] or @KentaMcAfee on Twitter.