The 2019 SF State baseball season has gotten off to a soggy start, as rain has affected every home game for the Gators thus far.
Maloney Field is the home to the Gators, but recent rain has forced the team to cancel, postpone and even relocate to Chico State to “host” the Wildcats.
In 2017, Maloney Field did receive some upgrades. The Gators home since 1955 received a new pitcher’s mound, new sod, new windscreens and new foul poles. The field is below sea level which already makes it difficult to drain water, but the location of the field’s drain is why the team has struggled to play home games this season.
“All the water drains to right field,” SF State head coach Tony Schifano explained. “The problem is we sit below sea level and there are huge trees in right [field], which blocks the sun and makes it even more difficult for the water to drain.”
When rain is in the forecast, the players are the ones who have to put the tarp on the field. Senior first baseman/outfielder Harley Lopez says putting the tarp isn’t something he’s used to, but the extra work has helped the team bond.
“The rain brings us together in a way.” Lopez said, “We’re spending a lot of time together, putting the tarp up at night, taking it off in the morning.
While the field is unplayable when the team has practice, the Gators are still putting in work to get better.
“We still lift weights every day,” Lopez said. “The pitchers will even go out there in the rain sometimes to throw bullpens.”
Junior first baseman Trevor Rodgers said it’s been tough not getting a lot of batting practice because of the rain and the constant guessing of whether a game will be canceled. It can be frustrating.
Every series thus far for the Gators has been affected by the rain. SF State’s preseason opener against Simpson University was rescheduled for Feb. 12. A series against Concordia (Ore.) was limited to one seven-inning game that lasted over 24 hours when rain postponed the game twice. The Gators’ first home conference series had to be relocated to Chico State on Feb. 24.
SF State currently has four games that have been postponed due to rain and have to be made up. The Gators have the week of April 29 to May 5 as a bye week before the postseason. The plan is to use the week to make up the postponed games, according to Schifano.
The lack of practice has not hurt SF State yet this season, as the Gators have started the season winning nine out of their first ten games — tying a game against Simpson University that was cut short due to darkness. Hitting has been the Gators’ strength this year, having the second-highest batting average in the conference and leading in on-base percentage.
SF State returns to Maloney Field this weekend for a four-game series against the UC San Diego Tritons, but forecasted rain might postpone or relocate the series yet again. Last season, SF State split a four-game series against the No. 7 ranked Tritons.