The SF State Gators baseball team opened their season Friday with a 5-1 win, out-pitching the 15th ranked Fresno Pacific Sunbirds.
In his first game as a Gator, sophomore left-hander Steven Dea gave up just one run on five hits over seven innings while striking out four. Junior right-handed pitcher Matthew Cummins notched his first save with three strikeouts through the final two innings.
The team’s first big win sets in motion a promising season for the Gators.
“I think it’s a good way for us to start,” said SF State head coach Mike Cummins. “We’ve worked hard to get to this point, and I think it was a great reward for our team to win the first game against a quality team.”
The Sunbirds scored their only run with two outs in the top of the fourth when Fresno Pacific’s shortstop Alec Mehrten singled to center field, scoring catcher Michael Rivera.
The Gators answered in the bottom of the inning after two outs when junior designated hitter Trevor Pasiecznik singled to right field, sending junior left fielder Ivan Otsuka home to tie the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, SF State claimed the lead for good when senior center fielder Ben Mielke scored on a Fresno throwing error. The Gators proceeded to add a run in the sixth and two more in the eighth to seal the victory.
“It feels great to get ahead right away,” said Matthew Cummins. “It started with our defense and our pitching. We were shutting it down and getting the timely hits we needed to, and everything came together.”
Coach Cummins partially attributes the team’s success to the Gators’ outstanding defensive performance.
“The most impressive thing I think was Steven Dea pitching,” Coach Cummins said. “(He) didn’t walk anybody, and (he) controlled the whole game.”
Dea, a transfer student from Skyline College in San Bruno, noted his enthusiasm to start the season and was pleased with his performance but was quick to point out that the support from his fellow teammates helped him snag the win.
“I feel like I did well, I’m still not satisfied and I don’t want to settle,” Dea said. “It wasn’t just me out there. I had a great team out there behind me and defensively; I could trust them. Having that confidence and that faith in them really helps.”
With the first victory under their belts, Coach Cummins conveyed his confidence in his teams varying talents, explaining that having the option of right or left-handed hitters will give the Gators more of an edge this coming season.
“I think we have a chance to be pretty special,” he said. “We have a lot of depth and a lot of good players. I’m excited.”