Wildcats hand San Francisco State their first loss of the season


Hana Beaty

LHP Grant Larson pitching against the Gators.

It was an exciting day at Nettleton Stadium as the Wildcats took on the San Francisco State University Gators in game one of a four game series. Coming into the game, the Gators were undefeated, having won their first six games. It did not take long for the Wildcats to hop on the scoreboard. In the bottom of the first inning, shortstop JT Navarro launched a solo home run over the fence.

“It’s always good to start like that,” Navarro said. “Don’t expect it though. That’ll get the team going. Get the energy up.”

When Navarro returned to the plate for his following at bat, he drove home another run on a bunt single in the second inning. Shortly after came a two-run single from first baseman Willie Lajoie. This extended the Wildcats lead to 4-0.

The starting pitcher for the Wildcats, Grant Larson got off to a hot start as he did not allow a run and struck out six Gator batters throughout the first four innings. That changed, however, in the top of the fifth inning. Right fielder for the Gators, Riley Cleary, hit a grand slam that got the Gators within one run of the Wildcats. Larson was then pulled and Alex Kent took over on the mound for Chico State. Kent got out of the inning by striking out the designated hitter for the Gators, Thaddeus Wilson.

Daniel Foret on the mound for the Wildcats.

“I was just helping a teammate out,” Kent said. “It’s not really anything that I can control. He gave up a hit. It was one bad pitch. But it was just one of those things where you gotta get out of the inning. Do your job and get out of it.”

The Wildcats added on a few more runs throughout the game. A big insurance run came in the bottom of the eighth inning as catcher Tyler Stofiel hit a home run after striking out in his first three at bats.

“Honestly, it was much needed after those first three at bats, three strikeouts,” Stofiel said. “But I got to honor that one to my coach who’s been helping me out, keeping me level throughout the game.” 

Wildcats blew through the top of the ninth inning to win the game over the Gators by a final score of 8-4. Both teams get back to the field once again on Saturday in a doubleheader.

“Doubleheaders are always big because it’s always a long day,” Stofiel said. “It’s more of an energy battle as opposed to actual performance. Just honestly come out and do our thing early in the first game tomorrow, and I think we’ll be alright.”

Alex Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @amjournalism130 on Twitter.