Wildcats slip behind Broncos in the first game of series


#9 Turner Olson takes a swing in a game against Cal State San Marcos on April 5, 2019. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

What might have been the closest game of the season for Chico State Baseball, definitely reflected the skill set of the team.

A pitchers’ duel between the Wildcats William Curless and Bronco’s Tim Holdgrafer made sure both sides had to be nearly flawless to emerge victorious.

“Will did an incredible job, that’s as good as he’s looked all year commanding the strike zone, getting ahead of guys, the secondary stuff was really good,” Assistant Coach Jose Garcia said.

William Curless threw a gem striking out seven batters and allowing just two runs in his six innings. Holdgrafer was just a tad more impressive and allowed just one run (unearned) in eight innings of work while striking out six batters.

“At the end of the day you have to tip your hat and you have to give them credit they pitched extremely well,” Garcia said.

Cal Poly Pomona took an early lead at the top of the second inning as Nick Peifer ran to home base off of a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Lucky for the Wildcats Curless was throwing strikes and kept the team afloat from drowning in runs.

The Wildcats remained scoreless until JT Navarro got hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. An error and double play later put Navarro on third.

Dustin Miller was up to the plate and got a hit that drove Navarro home tying the game at 1-1.

Curless kept the momentum going striking out Nic Hernandez at the top of the fifth inning. Then quickly striking out the Broncos’ Cesar Lopez for the second out.

The excitement was short lived as Peifer was up to bat once again earning an RBI, giving Cal Poly the lead again. The game remained scoreless as both teams were stumped by the rigorous pitching.

“We had opportunities to score earlier in the game and we didn’t take advantage of those,” Garcia said.

The seventh inning was scoreless for both teams which ignited the Broncos’, Ryon Knowles as he hit his second double of the night. A fielding error by the Wildcats was all he needed to reach home and increase the lead.

Chico State was not able to score any runs in the last two innings and the Broncos took the game 3-1.

Chico State looks to continue their strong pitching and defensive performance all weekend as they play a doubleheader at Nettleton Stadium Friday at the first game starts at noon.

“These guys are going to throw strikes so we got to be ready to hit,” Garcia said.

Lucero Del Rayo-Nava can be reached at [email protected] or @del_rayo98 on Twitter.