It was deja vu for the SF State men’s baseball team when they lost yet another series, falling to the visiting Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros 3-1 over the weekend.
With a 14-32 overall record, the Gators have endured a disappointing season under second-year head coach Mike Cummins. They are 9-27 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and 10-16 when they play at Maloney Field. The Gators have not won a conference series this year.
“Bad thoughts start to creep in when you are losing,” Cummins said. “We need to be better defensively as a whole for sure. It is just one of those things. We got to get the baseball Gods on our side.”
Cal State Dominguez Hills (22-23, 17-19) torched SF State in the four-game series that began April 29 by outscoring the home team 23-13. As a result, the Gators lost their seventh series of the season against conference opponents.
“The reason why we have been losing is a combination of things,” Cummins said. “We have put the reps in and it is not a lack of practice. It is more of a mental thing. We have lost some earlier games and have simply fallen into a pattern.”
The problems all began in game one. SF State hit the ball well, but in the end the team was undercut by fielding mistakes. Although the Gators led for much of Friday’s contest scoring four runs on 12 hits, they also committed six errors allowing the Toros to come back.
Down 4-2 in the top of the eighth inning, Cal State Dominguez Hills scored three runs after three different SF State infielders committed three errors.
Junior infielder Will Klein and senior catcher Kevin Dultz extended the inning by allowing sophomore outfielder Kevin Logan to reach first and eventually make it to second base on two back-to-back errors. After junior right-handed pitcher Branden Petrangelo walked senior infielder Carlos Leyva, senior catcher/designated hitter Kyle Pond hit a deep fly ball over the 345 sign in left field for a three-run home run.
“Errors killed us,” said senior right-handed pitcher A.J. Comaskey. “If we had not done any errors, we would have won.”
Comaskey played an important role by helping the Gators avoid a sweep in the doubleheader match played Saturday. SF State split the doubleheader winning game two 2-1 before losing game three 8-3.
Still, Comaskey was scrappy and resilient in his performance. Not only did the April 25 – May 1 Wilson/CCAA pitcher of the week throw a complete game tallying 105 pitches, he also struck out a career-high 11 batters and gave up one earned run on five hits earning him his first win of the season.
“I felt good and was relaxed when I took the mound,” he said. “I was not really looking for much. I basically had a mentality of don’t take nothing. My slider was working along with everything else. Dultz called a great game. The season is ending. We got to get it done.”
As hard as the Gators tried, they could not avoid doing the one thing that has plagued them this entire season. They trailed the Toros on Sunday’s series finale by as much as three runs until they closed the gap in the bottom of the sixth inning when junior outfielders Dustin Wold and Trevor Pasiecznik each hit RBI singles to make it 5-4.
Cal State Dominguez Hills would go on to seal the win in the final two innings by scoring three crucial runs. Wold, who leads the team with a .344 batting average and had a terrific series going a combined 7-13 with three RBIs and one run scored, thought games one and four were eerily similar.
“We had 11 hits and there was a four-run difference because of errors in Sunday’s game,” he said. “We made six errors on Friday and five on Sunday. If we clean up our defense, we would win some games.”
Wold also said that with four games left, the team hopes to finish strong, especially on May 8—when eight senior players will be recognized for playing their final game for the Gators.
“We are trying to take these last four games,” Wold said. “We want to sweep Cal State Stanislaus. It has been a long season. Our seniors deserve our last game to be their day. Some of those guys are who set the example for the younger players. We emulate them. That goes for Ben Mielke and the rest of the seniors. Mielke sets the bar for us outfielders.”