Jason Hare at bat as the SF State baseball team clinched a playoff berth during their doubleheader against Chico State, emphatically winning the first game 12-4 before losing the second game in a nail-biter, 3-2 on Friday, May 3. (TRISTEN ROWEAN/Golden Gate Xpress)

The SF State baseball team clinched a playoff berth after splitting their doubleheader against Chico State emphatically winning the first game 12-4 before losing the second game in a nail-biter, 3-2 on Friday, May 3.

Game 1 was absolute domination by the Gators, as they scored 12 runs on 13 hits.

Sophomore outfielder Jack Harris was outstanding, going 3-for-4 from the play with  three RBIs. It was truly a team effort as nine of SF State’s batters notched hits and six players brought in runs. SF State also took advantage of Chico’s poor pitching, which walked eight batters.

Everything was just clicking,” Harris said. “That’s the type of team we can hit like.”

Chico’s defense was locked in for game 2, led by star pitcher Andrew Lopez, who is averaging an impressive 1.48 ERA for the season. The Gators were only able to score two runs on the Wildcats, and gave up an inordinate amount of outs on pop-flies.

“He’s a good pitcher,” Harris said of Lopez. “But I think we helped him out by swinging at balls and lifting balls instead of keeping them on top.”

“Our mentality changed at the plate a little bit,” said junior catcher Jason Hare, who had three RBIs on the day. “We weren’t as focused and it showed. “It’s tough to win both games on a double header.”

After clinching a playoff berth, the Gators have their eyes on a bigger prize.

“Last year, the excitement was getting there,” said head coach Tony Schifano. “The school had never done that in school history. I think this year our goal has been to get beyond the playoffs. We’re going to have to win a few games in the tournament to even have a chance to keep playing after the tournament.”

“We know we’re good enough to compete with anybody,” Hare said when asked about his team’s playoff chances. “It’s about coming ready to play, playing good defense and having good at-bats.”

SF State will close out their regular season on Saturday in a doubleheader against Sonoma State University at Maloney Field, with first pitch for game 1 scheduled at noon. The series against Sonoma State is a rescheduled series from earlier this season that was pushed back due to inclement weather. This will also be the Gators’ Senior Day.

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