Wolves baseball go two games in regionals
Chico State advances to Nationals
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 17:05
Chico State scored six two-out runs, including two in the top of the eighth in a 5-5 tie, to take their opener of the NCAA West Regional 7-6 over Western Ore. on Thursday, May 17 at Volcano Stadium in Keizer, Oregon. Western rallied from a 5-1 deficit, tying the game up at 5-5 on a three-run homer by Matt Nylen, but Chico State rallied for two two-out runs in the top of the eighth to reclaim the lead.
Kyle Blackwell had two home runs and two RBI to lead Western. Nylen added those three RBI on his big swing, and Blake Miller collected two hits. Cody Foster had three hits and scored two runs to lead the fourth seeded Wildcats. Myles Dempsey, TJ Yasuhara, Ben Manlove and Ian McKay all added two hits apiece as Chico State outhit Western 16-9.
The game was knotted at 1-1 heading into the top of the sixth before the Wildcats put four two-out runs on the board to go up 5-1. Foster broke the tie with an RBI-single, and then Blake Gibbs delivered the big hit with a two-run single to center to put Chico State up 4-1. They would add one more run to leave the sixth inning up 5-1.
Western would cut the lead back to three on an RBI single by Bo Folkinga in the bottom of the sixth. It was then Matt Nylen’s turn to leave his mark on the WOU program. With two runners on, the junior from Damascus, Ore., took a seventh inning pitch over the left center field wall to tie the game at 5-5.
“Second or third pitch of my at bat he gave me a changeup and I swung right over the top of it,” Nylen explained. “I just wanted to make an adjustment and hit something up the middle and he gave me another change up and I capitalized on it.”
Chico State then really for two more runs in the eighth with two out to take the lead back (7-5). Abel Alcantar broke the tie with an RBI-single to center and then Shane Kroker added an insurance run with another single to center. Blackwell would hit his second solo home run of the game in the eighth inning to bring the Wolves within one (7-6). “I never go up there swinging for a home run,” said Blackwell. “I just am trying to put the ball in play and pressure on the defense, and got lucky I guess.”
After Ian MacDougall (2-3) struck out the side in the top of the ninth, Western hoped to rally against the Wildcats’ closer Mike Botelho. Pinch hitter Quinn Naughtin fought the count full but a sharp breaking ball from Botelho got him swinging for the first out. David Amberson would also put up a good battle, seeing five pitches, but another breaking ball from Botelho got them one out closer to the win. Nylen was the Wolves’ last hope and he squared up a pitch to right field but the outfielder tracked it down to give Chico State the win.
Kagen Hopkins (8-3) picked up the win for Chico State by throwing seven innings and then benefiting from Chico’s eighth-inning rally. He gave up eight hits and five runs, while striking out four.
Once again two-out runs were the Achilles Heel of the Western baseball team on Friday as UC San Diego pushed across all 11 of its runs with two down to knock the Wolves from the West Regional with an 11-1 win. The Tritons (33-23, 26-14 CCAA) jumped on the Wolves with a five-spot in the second inning to seize control of the game. Danny Susdorf and Garrett Tuck drove in four runs apiece to lead the Tritons.
Goodbrand threw a complete game while striking out six and yielding just five hits and one run to improve to 11-0 on the season. Folkinga had two hits and an RBI to lead the Wolves. He finished the season with 68 RBI, one off the Western all-time single season record.
“I tip my hat to San Diego,” said Western Oregon head coach Jeremiah Robbins. “They came out and hit our pitchers, and we didn’t have an answer for Goodbrand.” Of the 18 runs Western Oregon allowed during the West Regional 17 scored with two outs.
The Wolves finish the season at 40-11 (29-3 GNAC). Those 40 wins tie for the second-most for Western at the Division II level.