Larson shines as playoffs loom for Wildcats

Grant Larson stares down a Sonoma batter, contemplating which pitch he will deliver next against the opposing batter. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

The Chico State baseball team won their game against Sonoma State Friday by a score of 4-2. With the win, Chico State moves into fifth place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association division standings.

The Wildcat’s win was powered in part by an elite pitching performance by Grant Larson. He allowed one run in the first inning and then proceeded to throw seven consecutive shutout innings to secure the win for the team.

Coming off a nine-inning shutout in his previous start Larson has put his April woes behind him after starting the month with a 13.50 ERA in two starts.

Sonoma State had no problem putting the ball in play as they had 15 hits on the game, but a combination of Larson’s pitching and effective defense from Chico State kept the Seawolves at bay.

The Sonoma pitcher throws the ball to his first baseman but not before Eddie Zavala is able to touch the base keeping him safe and on second. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

It took a few innings to get the offense going for Chico State but in the fourth inning, they were able to add two runs on the scoreboard.

The runs came after a Myles Moran sacrifice fly and an RBI single from Eddie Zavala.

The Wildcats offense was then able to strike again in the fifth inning.

JT Navarro started off the inning with a single and got to second base as a result of a sacrifice fly hit by Kyle Pineda.

JT Navarro hits the ball into the left outfield allowing him to advance to first base. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Navarro was then driven home by an RBI single hit by Alex DeVito to make the score 3-1.

Neither team scored again until the bottom of the eighth inning when Cody Wissler reached home plate due to a muffed throw in the infield.

Sonoma State gave the Wildcats a little bit of a fight in the top of the ninth inning when they had runners on first and third base with no outs.

“I really just trust my defense in those situations,” said Larson.

Larson gave up one run and got one out in the ninth.

Alex Kent was then brought in to get the final two outs and did just that, striking out the only two batters he faced for his fifth save of the season.

The win brings Chico State to an overall record of 22-18 and a conference play record of 18-17. Putting them in fourth place overall within the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings.

Friday’s win came at just the right time for the Wildcats as they only have seven more games before the playoffs. All of these games are against conference opponents and carry significant weight regarding playoff seeding.

The Wildcats will be back in action Saturday when they resume their division series with a doubleheader against Sonoma starting at noon.

Matthew Ferreira can be reached at [email protected] or @MattFerreira__ on Twitter.