Wildcats baseball’s unbeaten streak broken at 10 in doubleheader


Chico State’s series against Cal State Los Angeles was supposed to start on Friday, but rain once again postponed it and the end result being a doubleheader on Sunday to settle the series.

“They’ve been playing this game a long time, it’s not like they’re going in not knowing how to play the game or anything, but they’re going in with a mindset of competing hard and playing our style of baseball, assistant coach Andy Burschinger said. “That’s our thing that we always talk about, being checked in, being mentally ready to go and whether we’re playing or not we’ll always be mentally ready.”

The Wildcats won nine games in a row entering Sunday and came back to win the first game of the day 7-6 in the 11th inning. The second game had no such late-game heroics as the Wildcats lost 4-6 and split the doubleheader with the Golden Eagles.

Game one

Starter Andrew Lopez came in with a 1.80 ERA for the season, a 2.63 ERA in his last three starts, and added to his dominance with six innings of two-run ball for the Wildcats.

Unfortunately, Chico State could not get Lopez the win and began producing runs in the sixth inning. The Wildcats tied the game at 2-2 after Eddie Zavala struck out swinging and reached first on a wild pitch, allowing Alex DeVito to score. The next run came off a Myles Moran single that drove-in Turner Olson.

Neither team scored, until a dropped fly ball by the Wildcats allowed a Golden Eagle to score in the eighth inning. In the ninth, a three-run home run should have guaranteed Cal State LA’s victory as they took the lead 6-3.

However, a Dustin Miller RBI single and Olson groundout to score Kristian Scott had Chico State down a run in the bottom of the ninth. In came Zavala, who smacked a base hit to right field to tie the game 7-7.

Gilbert Romero, Sid Lacy and Connor Sealey all came in from the bullpen and contributed to scoreless 10th and 11th innings for the Wildcats. All leading up to a walk-off base hit by Jorge Perez in the bottom of the 11th to win game one 7-6.

Game two

William Curless was the starter for Chico State and came in with a 3.36 ERA on the season. Right from the start, he struggled with command and escaped a bases-loaded situation in the first allowing just one run while walking one and surrendering two base hits.

In the second inning, Curless would not be so fortunate as he walked two more batters and gave up a grand slam. One more unearned run was given up and the Wildcats trailed 0-6 in the second inning.

“The game will hurt you in some ways if you don’t play the game the right way,” Burschinger said. “We didn’t have great starting pitching in this game, that was early on, so it’s tough to really play the entire game from behind.”

The ‘Cats’ would add some offense of their own in the bottom of the third with a Miller single, and with some assistance from a Golden Eagle throwing and a fielding error, helping Brandon Hernandez and JT Navarro score. The score now 2-6 heading into the fourth inning.

Speaking of the fourth inning, the Wildcats Grant Larson came in and began his five innings of scoreless relief. Larson allowed just one hit while striking out two and walking a batter.

IMG_2452 copy.jpg
Alex Kent pitched a scoreless inning in the ninth inning of game two on Sunday. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

Alex Kent came in the ninth inning for the ‘Cats’ and gave them the opportunity to mount a reasonable comeback with a scoreless inning of relief. The Wildcats loaded the bases in the ninth with one out, the winning streak looked to be alive, especially after DeVito scored Navorro when he was hit by a pitch to have the score at 4-6.

A pop up by Olson was the second out. Zavala was the last hope but he was unable to repeat his clutch performance from the first game and grounded out to first base. The final score being a 4-6 Wildcat loss, ending their win streak at 10.

The Wildcats look to La Jolla Friday as they take on UC San Diego in a three-game series and look to stay undefeated on the road. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and is available to watch on the Chico State baseball schedule page.