Senior Day Sweep: Gators take all in final home game
SF State’s baseball team won its Senior Day 7-1 Saturday afternoon at Maloney Field, wrapping up a three-game sweep of California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Senior pitcher Ryan Bohnet started for the Gators, finishing off his four-year SF State career with one of his best starts of the season. Bohnet went five innings, allowing three hits and no runs while striking out four. Bohnet allowed a single to lead off the top of the sixth before giving way to junior Garrett Ciuk.
“I was just trying to fill up the zone,” Bohnet said. “My curveball felt pretty good today and I just wanted to throw strikes.”
The game suffered a 15-minute delay in the top of the second inning when home plate umpire Dan Boutwell had to leave with an injury. First base umpire Bill Shortridge took over behind the plate while third base umpire Ron Adams took over for all three bases.
The Gators put themselves on the board in the second inning after loading the bases with two outs. Center fielder Jacob Lopez took a close 1-2 pitch before driving a triple into the right field corner, wrapping it inside the foul line. Lopez found his way to third without a throw, pumping his chest toward the Gators’ dugout after giving the team a 3-0 lead.
“I tell our young guys to watch him when he has two strikes (on him),” head coach Tony Schifano said of Lopez. “He always fights off pitches and gets himself in a situation where if the pitcher makes a mistake, he takes care of it.”
Bohnet continued to set down the Toros, but the game fell into a delay again after Shortridge took a ball off his left hand, breaking it, creating a 35-minute pause in play. Adams took over behind the plate while Shortridge moved to the field with his hand packed in ice.
“It actually wasn’t that bad,” Bohnet said of having to adjust to the strike zones of three different umpires over the span of four innings. “They all actually had pretty similar zones.”
“I’ve never seen that in my whole time playing baseball,” Lopez said, adding that it was somewhat tough to get back into a game mentality after the delays but also that they helped slow the game down.
The Gators added two more runs in the seventh inning. Chris Nicholson’s RBI double down the left field line drove in Lopez to make it 4-0. The two-bagger gave Nicholson an even 20 RBI on the season, and he scored his 17th run of the season on a single by designated hitter Jordan Abernathy two batters later.
Junior Cole Lang took over for Ciuk in the eighth, getting two outs but allowing a run on a walk and two singles. Senior Brent Montgomery came in to finish the eighth by getting a fly out to right field.
The Gators answered back at the bottom of the inning, scoring two on a triple down the left field line by Lopez, his second of the game and his fourth and fifth RBI of the game.
“The thing that’s most phenomenal is he took a year off (due to injury) and he’s doing what he’s doing,” Schifano said.
Lopez, a senior, finished his last game at Maloney Field 3-5 to raise his season batting average to .377, his on-base percentage to .457 and his slugging percentage to .538.
“He just surprises me sometimes with how whippy his hands are,” Schifano said, adding that the second triple got past him in the third base coaching box so fast that he didn’t see it.
Montgomery returned to the mound in the ninth, working around a pair of singles to finish off the win and the series sweep.
The win moved the Gators to 17-28 (14-21) on the season heading into their season-ending series against California State Polytechnic University, Pomona beginning Friday. The Gators finished their home season with a 10-12 record at Maloney Field and bring a five-game winning streak into Friday’s doubleheader with the Broncos.