Wildcats split series, secure CCAA Tournament berth


The Wildcats split the series with Cal Poly Pomona, securing their California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament berth. Photo credit: Martin Chang

The Chico State baseball team split an exciting series with Cal Poly Pomona last weekend. In the four-game series, the Wildcats scored a total of 19 runs and senior Casey Costello pitched a one-hitter.

Game One: The ‘Cats took the first game of the series 5-1 with a huge performance from Grant Larson and Alex DeVito.

DeVito went 2-for-4 on the day with a three-run home run giving the Wildcats an early lead. With that, DeVito bumps up to seven home runs on the year, leading the team. He stayed hot hitting a leadoff single in the sixth which was followed by Tyler Stofiel’s RBI double.

Larson pitched very well through eight innings and allowed only one run. He kept the Broncos to six hits throughout seven innings and had four strikeouts. With this win, he moves to 5-2 this season.

Anthony Baleto came in as relief to get the final five outs for the Wildcats. He allowed one hit in the ninth and struck out two. His next appearance will be his 50th outing as a Wildcat, 10th most in Chico State history.

Top performers:

  • Alex DeVito: 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBIs
  • Cameron Santos: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI
  • Grant Larson: 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 SO

Game Two: After a strong performance in game one, the ‘Cats fell short in the first game of the double header Saturday.

Hilario Tovar pitched seven innings of game one, holding the Broncos to five runs, four of those scored in the third inning. RJ Hassey went 3-4 and Kyle Blakeman had two hits. One of those being a two-run homer in the second. Dustin Miller and Tyler Stofiel came up with hits, but the Wildcats couldn’t get past three runs, ultimately losing 5-3.

Top performers:

  • RJ Hassey: 3-4
  • Kyle Blakeman: 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBIs
  • Cameron Santos: 1-3

Game Three: Casey Costello pitched a one-hitter to lead the Wildcats to victory in the second game of the doubleheader Saturday. He pitched seven innings, getting out of a jam, overcoming one error.

Costello pitched nearly perfect, down to the last out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Broncos’ Brennan McKenzie had a base hit into right-center field. The next batter, Bryce Graddy reached on an error to third, moving pinch runner Sean Grebeck into scoring position for the Broncos. Costello struck out Logan Gopperton swinging to get the final out with the tying run on second and winning run on first.

The Wildcats took this game 1-0. With this win, Chico State remains in third place in the conference and clinched a California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament berth.

Top performers:

  • RJ Hassey: 1-3, 1 R
  • Tyler Stofiel: 1-3, 1 RBI
  • Casey Costello: 7 IP, 8 SO, 0 ER

Game Four: The Wildcats dropped the fourth and final game of the series after a tough battle.

After the ‘Cats scored one in the top of the first, the Broncos came back scoring five to gain an early lead.

The Wildcats answered back in the top of the second scoring three on hits from Casey Henderson and Cameron Santos. Cal Poly Pomona increased their lead to 8-4 in the third.

In the sixth, the ‘Cats scored four to tie the game. Kyle Blakeman had a two-run double, Alex DeVito hit a single to score Blakeman and RJ Hassey hit a double to score Santos.

The Broncos took the lead in the seventh scoring four. Chico State made a running to come back in both the eighth and ninth, but couldn’t score enough.

Cal Poly Pomona took the final game of the series, beating the ‘Cats 12-10.

Top performers:

  • Kyle Blakeman: 4-4, 3 R, 2 RBIs
  • RJ Hassey: 3-5, 2 RBIs
  • Cameron Santos: 2-5, 1 R, 3 RBIs

The Wildcats will play Stanislaus State in two makeup games Friday at Nettleton Stadium. The first game starts at 2:30 p.m.

Kayla Fitzgerald can be reached at [email protected] or @kaylafitz_20 on Twitter.