No. 15 Wildcats triumph in 4-game series over Sonoma State


Alejandro Mejia Mejia

On first base, sophomore Grady Morgan is waiting for an opportunity to advance to second base against Simpson University. During this matchup, Morgan went 2-3 at the plate winning the Red Hawks 14-5 on Feb. 16, 2022, at Nettleton Stadium.

This past weekend, the No. 15 ranked Chico State Baseball kicked off their California Collegiate Athletic Association conference games against the Sonoma State Seawolves. The Wildcats came up victorious over the Seawolves in all four games, scoring 41 total runs this past weekend.

This past Friday the Wildcats started off the weekend by winning the first game 16-6. The scoring started early for Chico State, as the team amassed a total of 10 runs in the first inning, highlighted by a three-run home run out to left field by junior first baseman Willie Lajoie

At first base, Willie Lajoie is looking towards the infield to throw the ball back to the pitcher.
After getting down to the ground, junior Willie Lajoie looks over to the other infielders after getting the out at first base. Against Simpson, Lajoie scored two runs.

Defensively, Chico State played almost perfectly, with only one error throughout nine full innings. On the mound, sophomore Cody Gentry had an impressive showing, allowing only five total hits and two runs throughout five total innings. 

“For me personally I needed a little boost from last game, but I got the job done,” Gentry said. “I felt better than I did against Simpson, so good takeaway from that.”

After the performance that Gentry had on the mound Friday, he now has a perfect record pitching this season for the Wildcats 3-0.

The offense was highlighted by sophomore Kyle Dobson. Dobson, playing in the designated hitter position, went a perfect three for three at the plate, notching a total of three RBIs off of three singles. 

“As a team I think we played pretty well, the offense showed out,” Dobson said. “I just wanted to contribute where I can, make good swings, hit the ball hard when I can and help the team win.”

On Saturday the Wildcats kept their momentum going, beating the Seawolves 7-1 in the first of two games. 

During the first game, the Seawolves started off by putting up one run in the first inning. The Wildcats did not respond until the fourth inning when senior Jack Murphy blasted a home run to tie the game. 

After Murphy’s home run the offense clicked for the Wildcats. Collectively, they put seven unanswered points on the board and extended their lead to a point where the Seawolves could not respond.

The Wildcats continued to put on a great performance out of the bullpen, with junior starting pitcher Rylan Tinsley pitching a season high of six total innings, allowing four hits, only one run and having a season high of seven strikeouts. 

“It’s always a good feeling to go out there and help the guys that make the plays behind me,” Tinsley said. “My changeup was really good today and allowed me to get swings and misses.”

In the seven inning matchup on Saturday, Chico State rolled past the Seawolves again winning 7-3. The Wildcats started the first inning with three runs scored. Highlighted by junior third baseman Jacob Jablonski stealing home plate. 

After leading the game 4-0 through the first three innings, Sonoma State scored three unanswered runs and cut the score down to 4-3 going into the sixth inning. With the Seawolves getting close enough to tie the game, the Wildcats responded and scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, the last time either team scored for the rest of the game.

Sophomore Grady Morgan went three for four at the plate, achieving a .750 batting average in the second game off of his three singles. 

The offense continued to roll over into Sunday afternoon when the Wildcats defeated the Seawolves 11-3. 

The offense clicked for most of the batting lineup, with eight of the 13 players getting at least one hit at the plate. 

Sophomore starting pitcher Austin McFarlane had himself a great afternoon on the mound. He allowed just one run and two hits in five total innings. McFarlane also pitched a 1.80 ERA in Sunday’s game against Sonoma State. The bullpen finished out the game to keep the offense at a minimum for the Seawolves, only allowing five hits after McFarlane’s exit.

After Sunday’s game, the Wildcats look forward to playing their second away series against Cal Poly Pomona. This will be Chico State’s first away series since playing Fresno Pacific, where they lost two of three games.

“[The Wildcats will prepare] just like we do every game, it doesn’t change,” coach Dave Taylor said. “We will take tomorrow off, have two good practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, get on the bus and keep doing what we do.” 

The No. 15 Wildcats will defend their seven-game win streak against the Pomona Broncos this coming Friday and Sunday. The four-game series at Scolinos Field begins March 4 at 5 p.m. For more information on coming events, check out the Wildcat baseball homepage

Alejandro Mejia Mejia can be reached at [email protected]  or @MeijaMeijaAlex on Twitter.