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February 4, 2014 > Pioneers victorious in opening day double header

Pioneers victorious in opening day double header

Submitted By Steve Connolly

The Cal State East Bay baseball team took both ends of its opening day doubleheader, February 1st, against visiting Oregon Tech to begin the 2014 season with a record of 2-0. It's the fifth straight victory for the Pioneers over the Owls and improves their non-conference record to 12-0 over the past two seasons.

"This was a good first day, it's good for us to get a couple wins under our belt to start the season," said head coach Bob Ralston. "There are a number of areas we need to sharpen up, but it's good to be playing competitive ball again."

Game 1: CSUEB 5, Oregon Tech 0

The Pioneers dispatched the Owls in less than two hours in the first game, thanks to an efficient performance by starting pitcher Sean Becker (1-0). The senior right-hander needed just 63 pitches to get through seven scoreless innings and pick up his ninth career win as a Pioneer. Becker scattered five hits and struck out three without issuing a walk.

The game went scoreless into the fourth inning when East Bay finally got to OIT starter B.J. Wilson. Brandon Alexander walked with one out, stole second, and scored the first run of the season on Naea Kalehuawehe's RBI single. After a walk to Kelly Starnes, third baseman Daniel Carney shot a base hit up the middle to load the bases. Chris Porter made it 2-0 with a sac fly to left, and Zac Chuvala followed with a single to knock in Starnes. The Pioneers got three runs in the inning, which would be more than enough for Becker.

Alexander drove in the team's fourth run an inning later, lacing a single to the opposite field to plate senior transfer Ellis Stephney. The Pioneers scored their final run in the sixth thanks to a one-out hit by Carney and a two-out double by Chuvala.

The East Bay shortstop shined in the opener, going 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Alexander was on base four times with two hits and two walks. Carney notched a 2-for-3 game, and freshman Marcus Wise reached base twice out of the leadoff spot on a single and a walk.

Junior right-hander Bryan Webster relieved Becker and threw the final two innings to finish the game. He allowed a hit and a walk and recorded one strikeout while preserving the shutout.

Game 2: CSUEB 5, Oregon Tech 0

The Pioneers didn't wait around to get the bats going in the second game, jumping on Oregon Tech starter Taylor Austin for two runs in the first inning thanks to some shaky Owl defense. A pair of errors at third base sandwiched around an opposite-field double by Eren Miravalles gave CSUEB its first run. Then Jason Fletcher, in his first at bat as a Pioneer, lined a single up the middle to make it 2-0.

Senior Ben O'Bryan got the start on the mound for East Bay in the second game, and he baffled the Owls early despite some bouts of wildness. The right-hander struck out the side in the first, and by the time he got the ball again, he was staked to a two-run lead. O'Bryan made it through five innings without allowing a hit. He walked six and struck out six, with the only unearned run coming as a reuslt of his own throwing error on a sacrifice bunt attempt.

O'Bryan gave way to Nick Hudson for the top of the sixth, and Oregon Tech quickly jumped on the senior to grab their first lead of the day. The first -- and only -- two hits of the game for OIT put runners on second and third, and then a ground out and a sac fly gave the Owls a 3-2 advantage.

The Pioneers answered right back, however, regaining the lead in the bottom of the frame. Alexander lined a one-out double, and Fletcher followed with a single into left field. Chacho Madrigal then picked up his first hit and RBI at East Bay by shooting a single through to right side to tie the game 3-3. After a pitching change, Carney lined a double to left to plate two more Pioneer runs.

The Pioneers didn't score after that, but Hudson made the 5-3 lead hold up. He retired the final 12 batters he faced in order, including 1-2-3 innings in the seventh, eighth, and ninth to close out the victory at what was rapidly becoming a chilly Pioneer Field. Hudson earned the win, allowing two hits and no walks and striking out four in 4.0 innings.

Seven Pioneers had a hit in the game, led by Fletcher, who finished 3-for-4. Miravalles was 2-for-4 with a walk, and senior catcher Tyler Buchanan reached base twice with a walk and a single.

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