Seawolves win to enter playoff stretch run

Devon Zenn, SSU

Devon Zenn, SSU

By PETER FOURNIER
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

ROHNERT PARK — What’s the reward for the Sonoma State baseball team after winning three of four over 12th-rated NCAA Division II Cal State Los Angeles this weekend?

Just a bigger challenge from No. 3 Chico State in a series that begins on Friday.

Not to take away from the Seawolves’ three consecutive victories in two days during their final home series of the season — including Sunday’s 3-1 win and a doubleheader sweep on Saturday — but even coach John Goelz knows the path to the postseason for Sonoma is far from certain at this point.

“Even when we had great teams here — and we’ve had years where we won 50 games — it’s really hard to clinch a playoff spot before the last weekend, so we’re imagining were going to get to the last weekend having to win games to get in the playoffs,” Goelz said.

Sonoma fell in the Cal State L.A. series opener Friday, 6-4, but rebounded in the doubleheader Saturday thanks to clutch performances in each game.
Steven Filippi’s five-RBI day in the first game of the doubleheader pushed the Seawolves to a 7-3 victory and a three-hit shutout by Glenn Wallace in the second game led to a 9-0 Sonoma romp.

Goelz said Wallace, “throws strikes and he’s a bulldog.”

“He’s going to have a bunch of starts like that for us to continue to win,” Goelz said. “We’ve leaned on him all year. He’s been a clutch pitcher for us.”

Wallace is a senior, so Saturday’s start was his final at Sonoma State’s home field.

“It’s nice to go out on a high note,” he said. “It’s the last time I’ll be out on this field and it’s fun to play well and get the victory in a big weekend when we needed some wins. It’s nice to go out on top.”

Filippi said the Seawolves may be hitting their stride at the perfect time.

“It’s always nice getting on a roll right before we start playing these good teams,” he said.

“I truly believe the hottest teams in the playoffs are the most dangerous teams in the playoffs, so if we can do this, watch out.”

The Seawolves took the series with a 3-1 victory on Sunday.

George Asmus pitched 6« innings, scattering five hits and striking out four. The lone mistake by Asmus was a home run by James Wharton in the top of the first inning.

Sonoma started Sunday four games up on CSU Dominguez Hills for the fourth and final playoff spot in the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings. The Seawolves will finish the regular season in the first weekend in May at Dominguez Hills. It gained one game on Dominguez Hills and remains four games ahead of Cal State East Bay and UC San Diego after Sunday’s victory.

That four-game cushion could be trimmed or disappear completely if the Seawolves can’t hang in with powerful Chico State next weekend.

Goelz is welcoming the challenge.

“We’re looking forward to it,” he said. “They’re a great program. Over the years, we’ve just had an outstanding rivalry with Chico and we have a lot of respect for their program. A lot of years, we’ve been battling for the championship with them. We’re used to this and they’re used to this so it should be a heck of a series.”

Goelz has a plan.

“We’re just going to take it one game at a time,” he said. “We’re going to try and win that Friday game and I think when you’re playing really good teams, you just have to play one pitch at a time. It sounds corny and it’s cliché, but it’s really true. What happened today, next week, just doesn’t matter.”

Comments are closed.