Larson makes history as Wildcats baseball gets back to winning


Dalton Smith came from Chico High School and redshirted his first year before making his first collegiate start Monday. Photo credit: Brandon Downs

Chico State’s starting pitcher Grant Larson threw the first one-hit complete-game shutout in Chico State baseball history on Monday.

The left-hander struck out a career-high 10 Cal State Monterey batters, leading the Wildcats to a 5-0 win and snapping the Wildcats six-game losing streak.

“I came out with the mentality, I just wanted to get ahead in the count with every at-bat and I had the defense that really helped me out,” Larson said.

The defense committed zero errors in the first game of the doubleheader helping Larson retire the last 17 batters he faced.

The Wildcats offense scored three runs in the first inning with an RBI single by Eddie Zavala, a bases-loaded walk to Turner Olson and then Myles Moran was hit by a pitch.

The Wildcats added one more run in the fourth inning and another run in the eighth inning before Larson shutdown the Otters.

Game two of the doubleheader started like game one, with dominant pitching. Dalton Smith making his first collegiate start, throwing six shutout innings allowing two hits.

“I can’t say enough about Dalton,” head coach Dave Taylor said. “For him to give us six scoreless, I mean you can’t picture a better scenario for what we needed.”

Dalton Smith came from Chico High School and redshirted his first year before making his first collegiate start Monday. Photo credit: Brandon Downs

The defense for the Wildcats was busy as they executed all their outs without committing any errors in game two.

Chico State put together a two-out rally in the sixth inning scoring three runs. Jorge Perez doubled down the right field line scoring Dustin Miller. The next batter, Aaron Lizarraga, reached on a throwing error which allowed Kyle Pineda and Perez to score.

The Otters fought back in the seventh inning when they scored two runs and another run in the eighth inning.

In the bottom half of the eighth inning with one out, Pineda lined a base hit into center field scoring Michael Lagier and giving the Wildcats a 4-3 lead.

“It’s good to have the guys behind me, I feel like their energy kind of brought me up and made me feel confident up there,” Pineda said.

Kyle Pineda had two singles Monday with one scoring the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. Photo credit: Brandon Downs

After walking the lead-off batter in the ninth inning, Sid Lacy retired the next three Otter batters and secured the victory in game two for the Wildcats.

“They work hard and they’re good kids and I told them to keep doing that and the tide will turn for them,” coach Taylor said. “Hopefully it’s turned and you can build off of this. We go on the road for eight (games) which I like right now.”

The Wildcats run out of the dugout to congratulate each other after winning both games Monday. Photo credit: Brandon Downs

Brandon Downs can be reached at [email protected] or @downsbrandon2 on Twitter.