SF State lost their series opener, 2-0, to the Stanislaus State Warriors at Maloney Field on Friday afternoon, Feb. 23.
The Gators were coming off a tough four-game series with seventh-ranked UC San Diego where they earned their first two wins.
Head coach Tony Schifano gave senior pitcher Matt Hernandez the start following a spectacular performance against UC San Diego, which earned him California Collegiate Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week honors. He would continue to show off his excellence on the mound against the Warriors. After seven innings of pitching, Hernandez struck out nine batters and had only one earned run.
When asked about the key to his success this season, Hernandez credited his team.
“Honestly it’s been trusting my stuff and trusting my defense,” Hernandez said. “Everyone has been a part of it. It’s been a whole team effort, not just me.”
Senior Grant Vogenthaler and freshman Joshua Romero would come in to pitch in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Each came in and shut down the Warriors offense, not allowing a single hit in the last two innings of the game.
The Gators seemed to have had no answer for Stanislaus State’s incredibly effective pitching. Senior pitcher Joe Ryan dominated SF State, allowing only two hits through eight innings. Ryan even had a no-hitter going until sophomore outfielder Connor Fidone was able to hit a single up the middle of the field in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Fidone had a solid day defensively as well. From left field, he threw a runner out at home to prevent the go-ahead run and end the top of the fourth inning. Fidone also made a difficult overhead catch off a deep shot from senior catcher Ethan Utler. Despite the disappointing loss, Fidone is hopeful looking forward.
“I feel pretty good [about the series],” Fidone said. “We came off a good weekend and had a bad game today. We just have to forget and come tomorrow ready to play.”
Schifano shared his player’s optimistic attitude.
“I feel good,” Schifano said after the game. “We didn’t tax our bullpen…Hernandez pitched his butt off against a really good team.”
Stanislaus State made a playoff appearance last year and are currently ranked fifth in the West Region of Division II teams.
SF State is now 0-6 at home and 2-8 overall this season. They will look to bounce back as they face Stanislaus State in a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 24 at Maloney Field.