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March 15, 2011 > East Bay water polo back on track

East Bay water polo back on track

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.

If there's one team in all of Cal State University-East Bay's athletics department that is considered a perennial success, it would be the Pioneers water polo club. Under the guidance of coach Lisa Cooper, all the Lady Pioneers have experienced is success. After a sluggish start to the 2011 season, things are beginning to turn around.

In their only action all of last week, East Bay hosted a double header on Saturday, March 12, against Cal State University-Monterey Bay and Fresno Pacific, winning both contests with ease: 10-4 in the first match against Monterey Bay; 15-4 in the back end of the doubleheader vs. Fresno Pacific.

Against Monterey Bay, Claire Pierce, as she usually does, led the Pioneers in scoring with three, including a pair in the final quarter. Whitney Bell chipped in with two goals and Carly Clark, Erica Crain, Sara Hudyn, Sarah Grunberger and Ariel Noriega all netted a single goal.

In game two, vs. Fresno Pacific, Pierce added three more goals, but it was Grunberger who led the way in the 11-goal blowout, tallying four goals. Bell had another pair of goals, while Hudyn and Clark scored a single goal again. Liz Warren (one goal), Danielle Comforti (one goal) and Meaghan Paschall (two goals) all chipped in for the Lady Pioneers (12-7, 7-2 WWPA).

But outside of the water polo team, East Bay athletics have been the epitome of inconsistency. A prime example of inconsistency was displayed by the East Bay softball team over the past week.

On March 8 and 9, the Lady Pioneers lost three of four games in a series against Chico State. However, in a four-game set against Humboldt State on March 11 and 12, the Lady Pioneers won three of four. East Bay swept the first day doubleheader, 4-1 and 11-3. On Saturday, they split the doubleheader, winning 10-7 and losing 7-1.

Kelly Lowe won the 4-1 game on Friday for East Bay, going the full seven, striking out four and not allowing an earned run. Kassy Winger had all four RBIs in the win, coming on a fifth-inning grand slam. In the mercy-rule shortened 11-3 win on Friday, East Bay fell behind 3-0 in the second inning, but put a seven-spot on Humboldt in the bottom of the second. They tacked on two more in both the third and fifth for the final. Talia Ferrari went all five innings for the win. Taylor Neumann went 2-3 with four RBIs to lead the offense. Emily Montanez (2-3, 2 RBIs), Sara Holdridge (2-3, RBI) and Jamie Yaller (1-1, 2 RBIs) chipped in for East Bay in the win.

On Saturday's 10-7 win, Lowe had a tough outing, going just a third of an inning, allowing four runs on three hits. Ferrari came in and went the final six and two thirds, allowing three runs and 10 hits, but came away with the win. Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth, the Lady Pioneers put up five runs to secure the win. Neumann was the offensive leader, going 3-4 with five RBIs.

But nothing went right for the Lady Pioneers as they went for the four-game sweep. Ferrari, throwing another six and two thirds, got the loss, allowing six runs on 10 hits. Neumann went 3-4 again, but with no RBIs to show for her efforts. East Bay is now 11-13 on the season, 8-12 in CCAA play.

For the East Bay baseball team, they were at Cal State University-San Bernardino for a four-game series. On Friday, March 11, the Pioneers got off to a strong start with a hard-fought 2-1 win in the series opener. Brandyn Bell went seven innings, allowing one run on nine hits to get the win. Lincoln Clapper (2-3, RBI) and Charlie Sharrer (2-3, RBI) were the only offense East Bay needed to record the win.

But the Pioneers couldn't duplicate that outing, losing the next three games -- two on Saturday; one on Sunday -- and the series. On Saturday, East Bay lost both ends of the doubleheader 4-2 and 7-1, and lost the series finale on Sunday, 6-5.

Bryce Miller and Keith Schwecke were the losing pitchers for games two and three of the series, respectively; A.J. Gallardo got the loss on Sunday. Sharrer went 3-5 with an RBI in the Sunday loss.

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