’Cats drop opener in Houston
Chico State opens season at Minute Maid Park but falls on big-league field
HOUSTON >> The Chico State baseball team kicked off its regular season at the Houston Winter Invitational on Friday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, the home of the World Series champion Houston Astros.
The Wildcats lost 5-0 to Arkansas Tech in the second game of the tournament, the first of the season for both teams.
Chico struck out 17 times, a singlegame record for any Wildcats team.
Chico State struck out 15 times on May 10, 2007 and May 8, 2019.
In the first inning Chico State sophomore pitcher Dylan Day walked two, but stranded two runners to keep the game scoreless. In the bottom of the first inning the Wildcats’ offense got the bases loaded on a leadoff single by Jeffrey Ray and a pair of walks, but stranded all three runners.
In the second inning Arkansas Tech Cade McBride singled to begin the inning, but McBride was out at first on a double play following a line drive by Nick Jones hit at Chico State shortstop Elijah O’Neal.
In the top of the fourth inning Arkansas Tech got two straight oneout infield singles, and a sacrifice fly moved the runners to second and third with two outs. A single up the middle by Jones, the fifth of the game for Arkansas Tech, scored both runners to give the Wonder Boys a 2-0 lead. A walk by Day sent Wildcats’ coach Dave Taylor to his bullpen for Logan Meyers, a Butte College alumnus, with runners at first and second base.
Day finished his first start with 3 2/3 innings pitched, five hits, three walks and two strikeouts.
On the first pitch from Meyers the Wonder Boys got their third infield single of the inning to load the bases, but Meyers escaped the jam with a fly out to right field.
In the bottom of the fifth inning the Wildcats got their second hit of the game on a single by Dom Meza
up the middle, Meza got to second base, but was stranded after a strikeout and a pair of ground outs.
In the top of the sixth inning Taylor went to his bullpen once more for Gerrit Erickson after Meyers pitched 1 1/3 innings and allowed one hit and struck out one. Erickson pitched two scoreless innings and did not allow a hit.
Eric Hill relieved Erickson in the eighth inning and hit a batter, had two wild pitches and allowed two earned runs. Trent Lopez relieved Hill and walked two batters, before being relieved by Kevin Lyons. Lyons allowed two hits, two walks and allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings pitched.
In total the Wildcat pitchers walked seven batters, allowed nine hits and struck out four in the first game of the season.
The Wonder Boys scored two runs in the eighth inning and once in the ninth.
Ray led the Chico State batters with two hits, Elijah Jackson had two walks, Jacob Jablonski had one hit and a walk, and Meza had a hit.
Five of the nine hits by the Wonder Boys were infield hits on softly hit balls runners were able to beat out, and the Wildcats did not make an error on defense.
Arkansas Tech starting pitcher John Gray pitched four innings and allowed one hit, three walks and struck out seven.
Chico State continues play at the Houston Winter Invitational at 7:45 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Wildcats play Flagler College of St. Augustine, Florida on Saturday and North Greenville of South Carolina (the nation’s top Division II program in 2022) on Sunday.
Audio of the games can be heard on KPAY Sports 1290-AM, online at https:// kpaysports.com and live stats online are available at chicowildcats.com.