The Gators won three of four games against the Cal State East Bay Pioneers to climb to second place in conference standings over the weekend.

SF State took a lopsided 10-3 win in Friday’s series opener, a single game to kick off the weekend battle.

In Friday’s victory Jack Higgins notched his fifth win of the season, pitching 7-2/3 innings. allowing two earned runs on twelve hits and six strikeouts. Infielder Jackson Kritsch drove in four RBIs and Brady Dorn knocked in three of his own in support of Higgins’ gem.  Sebastian Selway closed the game out without allowing a hit over 1-1/3 innings of relief.

The Gators split the doubleheader the following day, beating the Pioneers 8-3 in game one. They broke the game open in the fifth, scoring five runs to take a 7-1 lead. Jordyn Eglite threw six innings and gave up three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and Nate Jenkins posted his first save of the season tossing three scoreless innings.

In the only loss of the series the Pioneers scored early in game two of the double header with a three-run second inning and tacked on four more in the fifth. The Gators lone run came in the sixth off a Trevor Greenley solo home run.

SF State rallied late to close out the weekend set in a victory in the finale on Sunday, edging the Pioneers 3-2 and winning their first series since mid-March.

The Pioneers scored in the sixth and seventh innings to take a 2-0 lead, but the Gators finally strung some hits together with Jason Hare and Jack Harris hitting back-to-back doubles to lead off the eighth.  A sacrifice fly by Dorn tied it up, 2-2.

Starting pitching was leakproof for both teams in the early innings. Gators pitcher Joshua Romero pitched five scoreless and allowed two hits, while Cal State East Bay’s Dylan Dudley tossed six scoreless frames of his own.

After Dylan Madole threw a quick three-up-three-down inning in the bottom of the eighth to get the Gators off the field, Shaq Robinson laced a double down the left field line to start off the ninth. On the very next pitch, Chris Smutny knocked a single up the middle to drive in Robinson and give the Gators their first lead of the game.

Smutny said he was looking to be aggressive and didn’t want to fall behind in the count.

“I felt as though he was getting ahead of guys, and as a hitter it can be tough to get a hit when you’re behind,” Smutny said. “I got a really good fastball to hit and I put a good swing on it.”

Madole returned to the mound to shut the door on a Pioneers’ comeback stranding two on base when he struck out Steve Robinson. He earned his fourth save of the season on three strikeouts, allowing two hits in two innings.

The freshman said he’s surprised he’s been used so much this season, but said he’s ready for the opportunity.

“I was just trying to throw strikes, honestly just trying to pitch to contact,” Madole said. “But my movement on the baseball helped, I got a couple K’s and helped the team get the W.”

SF State head coach Tony Schifano said winning the game with a late rally is good for the team to break out of their offensive slump.

“Winning on the road, late like that–hopefully it is a momentum-builder into next weekend,” Schifano said.

SF State improves 18-9 in conference play, and moved up to second in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) standings. The Gators will host the third-place Cal State Monterey Bay Otters in a four-game series starting Thursday, April 18. With clear skies in the
forecast, this will be the first home game for the Gators since Feb. 12 and the first CCAA game played at Maloney Field this season.

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