The Cal State East Bay softball team hit six homeruns and scored 16 runs to post a doubleheader sweep of Cal State San Bernardino, 7-1 and 9-5, to earn the series victory on Saturday. The Pioneers (26-19, 13-15 CCAA) also got a pair of quality pitching performances, holding the Coyotes to just four hits in game one and forcing CSUSB to strand nine runners in game two. The sweep also marked the third time this season that East Bay has posted five or more homers in a day.
Game 1: Cal State East Bay 7, Cal State San Bernardino 1
Cal State East Bay opened up an early 5-0 lead in the first inning. After starter Courtney Wilhelms hit both Taryn Thomas and Talia Ferrari, the pair moved over on a passed ball and Jamie Yaller worked a walk to load the bases. Taylor Neumann walked to bring in the first run of the game and leave the bases loaded with no outs for Sara Holdridge. The junior designated player hit a long fly ball almost to the fence in left, allowing Ferrari to tag and score from third to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead. With runners on first and second and one out, Devin Salmones blasted the first pitch over the fence in left to notch her eighth homer of the season and put East Bay up 5-0.
The Coyotes responded with a run in the top of the third, taking advantage of some mental mistakes in the infield to cut the lead to just four. It didn’t last long, however, as Neumann went yard for the 16th time this season to put the Pioneers up 6-1 through three innings.
The Pioneers tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to heads up baserunning from Devon Mercurio, who reached on an error and advanced to third on a bad throw to start off the inning. Two outs later, Ferrari brought Mercurio in on a bloop single to left, putting East Bay up 7-1 through six innings.
Heidi McAllister finished off the win, allowing just one hit in four innings of work to post her second straight shutout performance and earn her second win of the year. Ferrari set McAllister up for the win allowing just one run on three hits in three innings of work to combine with McAllister to allow just four hits.
Salmones finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBI and a run, while Ferrari was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Neumann also drove in a pair and scored twice.
Game 2: Cal State East Bay 9, Cal State San Bernardino 5
The Pioneers opened up an early lead again, Thomas led off the inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on an error before Yaller singled to right to bring in the first run of the game.
East Bay added two runs to its lead in the bottom of the second. Emily Montanez led off the inning with a solo homer to left to give the Pioneers 2-0 lead. Two outs later, Thomas singled again and Ferrari followed with a double and Thomas came around on the throw to put the Pioneers up 3-0. Though East Bay got consecutive walks off reliever Wilhelms, she got a popup to end the inning.
The Coyotes answered in the top of the third, putting together two hits and a fielder’s choice to score a pair of runs and cut the lead to just one, 3-2. The Pioneers regained a three-run lead in the bottom of the inning, going yard twice to start off their half of the frame. Salmones led off with a solo shot to left, before Montanez notched her second longball of the game to put East Bay up 5-2 through three innings.
After a quiet fourth, Cal State San Bernardino got a run back in the top of the fifth, taking advantage of a Pioneer error and a passed ball to cut the East Bay lead to two, 5-3.
The Pioneers made it a four-run game in the bottom of the sixth after Ferrari sat the Coyotes down in the top of the inning. Mishka Hamor got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and with one out, Ferrari helped her own cause again, blasting a two-run homer over the fence in left center to give East Bay a 7-3 advantage. The Pioneers continued the rally as Yaller doubled down the left field line and Neumann followed with a single to center and moved over to second on the throw to put runners on second and third for Holdridge. The designated player drove a single to right center to bring in both runners and put East Bay up 9-3 through six innings.
Though the Coyotes broke through for a pair of runs in top of the seventh, Ferrari pulled through to get the last out on a fly ball and pick up her 11th win of the season. Ferrari tossed her ninth complete game, allowing five runs on eight hits, tossing 10 innings on the day.
Ferrari helped her own cause with the hot bat in game two, driving in two runs and scoring one while going 3-for-4 at the plate. Montanez also found success in game two, going 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI, while Salmones continued her hot streak, going 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI to finish the day 5-for-7 with four RBI and two runs. Just two Pioneers went without a hit in the game and eight of the nine batters either scored or drove in a run in the win.
Cal State East Bay will play its final non-conference doubleheader of the season on Tuesday, when it hits the road to face Notre Dame de Namur. The Pioneers and Argonauts are set to get underway at 12 p.m. in Belmont.