Gators fail to climb up standings

Mark Rajeski pitches late in the game against Cal Poly Pomona at home April 10. Jon Weiand / staff photographer

The SF State baseball team was out-batted from the first pitch as they were served their fifth loss in the last six games, losing 6-2.

Their loss was against the 5th ranked Cal Poly Pomona Broncos who used their superior offense to take the series Sunday afternoon and further cement the Gators’ position at the bottom of the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings.

“My morale is not at a positive level,” coach Mike Cummins said. “I’m disappointed with how we’ve played. I’ve had high hopes for this team and we just haven’t been very consistent.”

SF State started the game by coughing up four straight base hits to Cal Poly’s infielders Mike Santora and Ryan Goodman followed by outfielders Travis Taijeron and Jordan Whitman.  The Taijeron hit allowed Santora to score the Broncos’ first run of the day.

With the Gators reeling from the offensive burst, the Broncos’ Whitman hit a perfect bunt to grab yet another single that allowed Goodman to go in for their second run.

When it was the Gators turn to strike back in the bottom of the first, they struggled.

Broncos pitcher Ryan Dunn’s solid pitching struck out three of the Gator’s top batters Trevor Pasiecznk, Thomas Wood and Chris Schindler which added to their frustrations as they couldn’t muster up much of an offensive rhythm in the first four innings.

Meanwhile the Broncos’ hot hitting cooled off a bit after the second inning, yet they were able to maintain their comfortable 3-0 lead on Gator defensive mistakes and efficient pitching.

At the bottom of the fifth, the Gators seemed to wake up.

Chris Schindler hit a double deep into center field sending a message to the crowd, Cal Poly Pomona and, most of all, themselves that they weren’t going to lie down.

On the next at-bat, first baseman Devon King hit a single, which was enough to move Schindler to third, notching SF State’s first two hits of the ball game.

With Schindler on third, it was the closest the Gators were to their first run of the game until shortstop Will Klein’s sacrifice fly advanced him for the Gators’ first run of the afternoon.

The momentum had shifted then. The home crowd was clamorous as they yelled, “we believe in you!”

This did little to affect the Broncos.

The Broncos took off into the top of the sixth inning, slamming three singles and two RBIs to add two more runs making the score 5-1.

The Gators struggled with pitching all game. By the sixth inning, they had already made three changeups.

“A lot of balls were up in the zone,” pitcher Nic Banaugh said. “Poly was hitting balls hard. We have to locate a little better.”

With the Gators in desperate need of another offensive resurgence, coach Cummins changed his batting lineup to bring outfielder Ivan Otsuka along with infielders Nic Gauldin and Drew Anderson as pinch hitters in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Cal Poly’s defense persisted, allowing no runs or base hits for SF State.

In the bottom of the eighth, closing pitcher Matthew Cummins was sent in to pitch for Thomas Wood. Cummins knocked off a single, still giving the Gators slim hope. Catcher Kevin Dultz hit a single of his own that was enough to bring Cummins in for the Gators’ second run.

It wasn’t enough.

Cal Poly Pomona’s 14 hits proved to be too much for SF State on this day as their season begins to wind down.

“Well, we’re not making (the) playoffs,” Schindler said. “I guess our goal now is to get more wins than we did last year which was 20. We’ll see if we can get 21.”

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