Taylor Neumann hit her 11th and 12th homeruns of the season to become the program's all-time homerun leader.
The Cal State East Bay softball team relied on the long ball and quality pitching to complete the four-game sweep of Cal State Stanislaus with a 10-2 win in five innings in game one and a 7-6 extra inning win in game two of Sunday’s doubleheader at Pioneer Field. The Pioneers (16-14, 8-12 CCAA) went yard eight times on the day to set a new season record for homers, while senior catcher Taylor Neumann broke the program’s career homerun record to help lead the team to its first four-game sweep of the CCAA season.
Game 1: Cal State East Bay 10, Cal State Stanislaus 2 (5 innings)
The Warriors took advantage of two errors in the first inning to put a run on the board and take an early 1-0 lead. For the second straight day, though, the Pioneers answered right back to take the lead in the bottom of the first. After Taryn Thomas reached on an error to lead off the inning, Talia Ferrari doubled to bring in Thomas and tie the game 1-1. After a groundout moved Ferrari over to third, Taylor Neumann blasted a homer over the fence in straightaway center field to give East Bay a 3-1 lead and break the Pioneer career homerun record with her 18th. It took Neumann just 79 games to break the record which had stood since Jen King set it in 2006.
Trailing 3-1, the Warriors pulled within one in the top of the third, making the most of a single and a passed ball to get a runner to third. Cal State Stanislaus brought the run around on a fielder’s choice after the Pioneers let a pop up drop between three players behind second base to make it a 3-2 game.
East Bay threatened again in the bottom of the fourth, getting Devin Salmones to third base with just one out but Warrior starter Brittani Weatherford got two groundouts to get out of the jam.
After a scoreless top of the fifth, the Pioneers broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth. After Ferrari drove a single to left, Yaller, Neumann and Sara Holdridge hit back-to-back-to-back homers, scoring four runs to put East Bay up 7-2. Salmones followed with a double to left field and Montanez brought her in with a single to give the Pioneers an 8-2 advantage. With Montanez on first, Heidi McAllister came on to pinch hit for Devon Mercurio and blasted East Bay’s fourth homer of the inning into right center to give the Pioneers the walk-off eight-run rule victory, 10-2.
Ferrari tossed the complete game to pick up her second win of the weekend. The senior hurler gave up just two unearned runs and two hits while striking out two in five innings of work to improve to 6-3 on the year. Weatherford took the loss after allowing 10 runs on 11 hits in five innings to fall to 6-10 overall.
Neumann finished the game 3-for-3 with three RBI and two runs, not only breaking the career homerun record but extending it to 18, all while continuing to increase the single season record after setting it two weeks ago. The two jacks were her 11th and 12th of the season which lead the team and rank among the leaders in Division II. Yaller and McAllister each added two RBI, while Ferrari helped her own cause, going 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
As a team, East Bay posted 11 hits and left just three runners on base and its five homeruns pushed the season total to 32, setting a new program single season record, topping last year’s team total of 31.
Game 2: Cal State East Bay 7, Cal State Stanislaus 6 (8 innings)
For the third time in the series, the Warriors got on the board first, putting together a single and a double in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead early on. Cal State Stanislaus was at it again in the top of the second getting at Ferrari and scoring five runs, while knocking Ferrari from the game in favor of Lauren Zweigle.
Trailing 6-0, the Pioneers got their first hit at the hands of Salmones, who hit East Bay’s sixth homerun of the day, blasting a shot to left field to pull within five, 6-1, through two innings. After a scoreless third, the Pioneers went to the long ball again in the bottom of the fourth, getting their seventh of the day from Holdridge, who hit led off with a solo shot to center to make it 6-3 in favor of the Warriors. Salmones followed with a double to right center with no outs, but Stanislaus starter Natalie Rendon got three straight pop ups to send the game into the fifth with the Pioneers trailing 6-3.
East Bay continued its comeback in the bottom of the fifth. After Thomas singled to lead off the inning, Ferrari, now playing right field, blasted her first homerun of the season over the fence in center to pull the Pioneers within one run, 6-5, through five innings.
Following a quick top of the sixth, the Pioneers broke through again in the bottom of the sixth. Montanez led off with a single down the left field line and Mercurio moved pinch runner Taylor Newhouse over to second with a sacrifice bunt. With one out and the runner on second, McAllister pinch hit and singled to put runners on first and third for Thomas, whose fielder’s choice saw Newhouse thrown out at third but left runners at second and third with two outs for Ferrari. The senior delivered again, hitting a single back up the middle to bring around a speedy Hamor to tie the game 6-6 going into the seventh.
Zweigle continued to dominate in the top of the seventh, giving up a single but sitting down the Warriors without a run for the fifth straight inning, bringing up the middle of the order for East Bay in the bottom of the seventh. After Cal State Stanislaus pitched around Neumann, Holdridge’s sacrifice bunt attempt went awry but Salmones followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with one out for Montanez. Her fielder’s choice left runners on first and third for pinch hitter Jessica Machado, who worked a 3-2 count before getting hit to load the bases before Rendon got a pop up to end the threat and send the game to extra innings.
Zweigle sat the Warriors down in order in the top of the eighth, setting up the Pioneers for a walk-off victory in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, Yaller reached on a fielder’s choice to put a runner on first for Neumann, who singled to short. Holdridge followed with the walk-off single to center field to drive in Yaller and complete the East Bay comeback victory and series sweep.
Holdridge didn’t just drive in the game-winning run but also went 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBI and a run. Meanwhile, Ferrari went 3-for-5 with a run and three RBI, hitting her first homer of the year, and Thomas scored a pair while going 2-for-5. Zweigle earned her first win of the weekend, improving to 3-4, after allowing just three hits and no runs in 6.1 innings of work.
The sweep is the first for the Pioneers against a CCAA opponent this season. East Bay last completed a four-game sweep during conference play when it toppled Cal State Monterey Bay in February 2011.
Cal State East Bay returns to action next weekend when it travels to La Jolla to meet No. 21 UC San Diego. The Pioneers and Tritons will meet for four games beginning with a doubleheader on Sunday, Mar. 25.