Chico State baseball struggling to match last year’s offensive performance


Chico State dugout watches the opposing pitcher Photo credit: Jacob Auby

With Sunday’s double-header cancelled due to unplayable field conditions, let’s take a closer look at how this year’s Chico State baseball team stacks up against last years.

In regards to their record, the two teams are remarkably similar.

Through their first eight games, the 2018 team is 5-3, which is right in line with their 2017 record of 6-2.

The 2017 and 2018 pitching staffs are also quite similar. The 2018 staff currently holds an ERA of 2.62, which is very close to last year’s mark of 2.52. In terms of strikeouts, however, the 2018 staff definitely has a slight edge. They have struck out 85 batters in eight games this year, compared to just 71 in 2017.

Pitcher Grant Larsen is second on the team with 17 strikeouts so far on the year. Photo credit: Martin Chang

Unfortunately, this is where the similarities end.

The Wildcats offense has been off to a slow start in 2018, and the statistics don’t lie. The Wildcat offense is not backing up their pitching. In eight games this year, the Wildcats have hit .255 as a team. That is 40 points lower than last year’s mark of .295, a significant drop off.

Contact isn’t the only problem area for the Wildcats this year.

As a team, the Wildcats’ power and speed numbers have also dropped quite a bit. In 2017, the Wildcats slugged six home runs and stole 17 bases in their first eight games. In 2018, they have hit only one home run and stolen two bases in that same amount of time.

Realistically, it may be unfair to hold this year’s team to the same standards as last. Sixteen seniors graduated in 2017, and many of them played key roles in the Wildcats’ offensive performance.

Sonny Cortez, for example, was a major threat on the base paths in 2017. His speed was a key element of the Wildcats offensive attack, and is sorely missed out there this year.

Power hitters Dillon Kelley and Jimbo Pernetti also graduated in 2017. They each hit seven home runs last season, and that kind of power isn’t easy to replace.

Nevertheless, the 2018 Wildcats will continue to focus on their future, and not what’s in the past. They may not be performing at last year’s level, but they are still playing excellent baseball and getting the job done.

Austin Schreiber can be reached at [email protected] or @aschreiber94 on Twitter.