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Chico State's independent student newspaper

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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State baseball heating up before playoffs before final homestands

Alex DeVito prepares to launch a home run against Cal State San Marcos. Photo credit: Austin Schreiber

After dropping the opening game 6-8, the Chico State baseball team fought back to win three games in a row by scores of 11-7, 10-4 and 7-2 against Cal State San Marcos.

This was a crucial series win for a team that was struggling just a few weeks ago. The Wildcats are now 24-16 overall and 20-14 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). After losing four games in a row, Chico State has rebounded to win eight of its last ten games.

Game one did not go too well for the Wildcats as they gave up 16 hits and committed four errors in the game. Pitchers Grant Larson and Anthony Baleto each gave up four earned runs, letting the game get out of hand in the sixth and seventh innings.

Game two was a special one for third baseman Cameron Santos, who became just the second player in Chico State baseball history to reach the 200 hit mark in his college career. Santos came into the program as a true freshman, and his name will now go down in the Chico State record books.

Optimized-Kyle Blakeman.jpg
Kyle Blakeman has emerged a solid leadoff hitter for the Wildcats.

Right fielder Kyle Blakeman was also a stand out in games two and four, as he collected three hits in each game.

Blakeman has found his place in the leadoff spot as he is now riding a 10-game hitting streak. During those 10 games, Blakeman has raised his batting average from .220 to .291 and has collected 17 hits total. He has also clubbed two home runs during that time span.

The home run ball was also a big part of game three for a Wildcat team ranked next-to-last in home runs in its conference. Second baseman Louie Canjura and designated hitter Alex DeVito both went deep for Chico State. It was Canjura’s second on the year and DeVito’s team-leading sixth.

Relief pitcher Jae Wagner finished off the game with 2 2/3 innings of hitless baseball. Wagner has clearly been the Wildcats strongest weapon out of the bullpen this season. Wagner has followed up a successful 2017 season where he finished 0.44 ERA in 20 1/3 innings with an even stronger 2018 campaign. He currently owns a 0.35 ERA in 26 innings pitched for Chico State.

Game four was highlighted by a strong pitching performance from Christian Stiegele, who tossed seven innings of shutout baseball while striking out five. Right fielder Kyle Blakeman contibuted in a big way by launching a two-run homer to right center field in the top of the fifth. This gave the Wildcats a comfortable lead to work with, and they were able to hold on from there.

The Wildcats play Cal State Dominguez Hills next at 6 p.m Friday at Nettleton Stadium.

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

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