The Gators split a four-game series with the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros at Cal State East Bay this weekend.
The series was originally scheduled to be a four-game series over three days at Maloney Field, but rain forced the series to move to Cal State East Bay on Saturday March 23 and Sunday, March 24.
SF State have not played a conference game at Maloney Field this season.
Senior shortstop Shaq Robinson said it is a challenge not playing home games because of the weather.
“Getting on a bus at 8:30 in the morning and rolling over to someone else’s field and not knowing how the field plays, it’s definitely a challenge,” Robinson said. “It’s tough, but I think we’re used to it. At this point in the season, we haven’t played too many home games.”
SF State committed five errors in game one on Saturday, but it did not cost them, the Gators beat the Toros 5-2. Senior Jeff Piver earned his second win of the season, pitching 7 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run on five hits and struck out six.
Sophomore Joshua Romero came into relief and pitched the remaining 1 2/3 innings to get his third save of the season.
The Gators committed 11 errors over the weekend. SF State head coach Tony Schifano can’t pinpoint the problem, but is confident their defense will improve.
“We have good defensive players that aren’t making plays right now,” Schifano said. “I think they’re pressing a little bit on defense.”
In game two, the Gators scored four runs in the fourth, taking a 4-2 lead, but did not score the rest of the game, losing the game 5-4. The Toros scored two in the fifth to tie up the contest 4-4. In the top of the eighth, Joe Canepa scored on a Domenic Colacchio sacrifice fly for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run for the Toros.
The Gators won game one of Sunday’s doubleheader 8-6. SF State scored four runs in the third and two in the fourth to take an early 6-1 lead. The Toros made a late run, scoring in the sixth, seventh and eighth, but the Gators were able to scratch across a few more runs to hold onto an 8-6 lead going into the ninth.
Romero entered in the ninth and forced two quick ground outs and struck out Jeremy Ciolek for the final out of the game and Romero’s fourth save of the season.
The seven-inning series finale was 4-3 victory for Cal State Dominguez Hills, with the Toros scoring in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. The Toros took a 1-0 lead in the second but the Gators answered in the third to go up 2-1. After a two-run top of the fourth, the Gators tied it up in the bottom half, when Harley Lopez hit a sacrifice fly. The Toros were able to get a runner on third with two outs and Romero returned to pitch his third game in two days.
Toros first baseman Pierson Loska faced off against Romero with the game on the line. After two balls in the dirt, Romero battled back and got the count to 2-2 but Loska hit a hard ground ball through the infield to give the Toros the lead. Romero retired Joe Canepa to send the game into the bottom of the ninth 4-3.
Schifano said that Romero and freshman Dylan Madole are the team’s late-inning pitchers and the opportunity presented itself for Romero to get a big out. Romero said he was good to pitch in the second game but Loska just hit his best pitch.
“They put me in against one of their best hitters and I felt like I had him, but he just beat me on that pitch,” Romero said.
Junior Jonah Gonzalez lead off the bottom of the ninth and was hit by a pitch. Gonzalez tried to steal second base but the Toros threw a pitch out and tagged Gonzalez out. Lopez and Brady Dorn could not get on base and the Gators lost 4-3.
SF State still stands atop the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) standings following the split. The Gators’ 12-3 CCAA record gives them a half-game lead over UC San Diego. The Gators will head south for a four-game series against Cal State LA starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 29.