Gators struggle to gain win against Menlo

After suffering their first loss of the season on the road in Atherton, the SF State men’s baseball team bounced back as junior right-hander Branden Petrangelo took the mound and delivered another solid performance.

Petrangelo helped his team keep a perfect 4-0 record at Maloney Field when the Gators defeated the Menlo College Oaks 4-2 in a non-conference game on Feb. 12.

“I felt like I had command of my three pitches all day,” Petrangelo said. “My fastball, cutter and slider kept them off balance.”

Petrangelo cruised through seven innings before yielding to junior pitcher/shortstop Matthew Cummins who came into close the game.  Petrangelo’s only trouble spot came when he gave up an unearned run in the first inning off an RBI single by Chris Mazza.  The junior infielder drove in freshmen outfielder Collin Forgey from second base after a fielder’s choice and an error by junior infielder Thomas Wood put Forgey in scoring position.

According to Petrangelo, Saturday’s win not only evens up the loss against the Oaks the day before, but it also gives the team confidence to finish the three game series with a 2-1 record.

“This win definitely switches the momentum back to us,” Petrangelo said. “We are going to win the series on Sunday and continue to scrap together runs.”

Petrangelo threw 103 pitches in the game, according to second-year head coach Mike Cummins. He struck out 10 batters, walked one, and gave up just one earn run on seven hits.

“Branden was as sharp as he was last week,” Cummins said. “What makes him special is that he has this ‘go after them’ mentality.”

Petrangelo’s last win came on Feb. 5 when he pitched the entire first game of a doubleheader against the 15th ranked Fresno Pacific Sunbirds. In that game, the Gators’ offense also put together some clutch hits, resulting in a 2-1 victory.

SF State, however, struggled both offensively and defensively for most of the game against the Oaks. SF State’s offense stranded eight runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded twice, while SF State’s defense committed two errors in the game.

“Today was an average performance,” Cummins said. “We didn’t do a good job of hitting with men on base, but we found a way to win.”

Nevertheless, according to junior outfielder/pitcher Jason Ochart, one bright spot for the Gators during this game and for much of the season has been the aggressive running from all of the players on the base paths.  Ochart, who went 1-2 in the game and drove in one run, credits the Gators’ base running success to coach Cummins.

“Coach always instills aggressiveness,” he said. “It puts pressure on our opponents and, well, today was a good team win. We manufactured some runs.”

The Gators’ four runs came in a variety of ways: a wild pitch by the Oaks’ starting pitcher sophomore Derek Martinez in the first inning; a passed ball that scored junior outfielder Dustin Wold, as well as a fielder’s choice by Ochart, in the second inning; and one from junior third infielder Andrew Suvunnachuen in the sixth inning. Still, the important thing for coach Cummings is that his team executes better on scoring opportunities.

“Every game is important,” Cummins said. “Every game is different. We are playing a lot of guys right now to find out who will be ready when conference games start.”

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