The article below originally appeared in the The San Matean and is being reprinted with permission.
The College of San Mateo baseball team began Coast North conference play with a 5-4 victory, in extra innings at home over the DeAnza Dons, Tuesday Feb. 28.
The conference-opening win comes after CSM (7-6), facing high expectations after being ranked the pre-season number 1 in Nor Cal, finished non-conference play at an unspectacular .500 with six wins and six losses.
The game winning run was driven in on a sac fly that scored Brandon Defazio, on third following a lead-off triple, in the bottom of the tenth. Despite the victory, CSM head coach Doug Williams expressed some frustration with the amount of failed offensive opportunities.
“We left some runners on base,” said Williams, “but you always feel good with a win, certainly in the first conference game. We still have some areas to improve in.”
Starter and CSM pitching ace Clay Bauer earned a no decision after 4 ⅓ innings pitched and surrendering four walks, five hits and two earned runs. Dylan Nelson and Daniel Grazzini combined to quell multiple scoring threats by DeAnza, ultimately compiling 7 ⅔ innings of relief, giving up eight hits, one walk, and two earned runs.
“We competed our butts off and never quit,” said Bauer.
CSM infielder Cody Zimmerman hit a two run home-run in the bottom of the fourth to open up the scoring. Chris Stavrenos of Deanza tied the game in the top of the fifth with a bases loaded two run single, knocking Bauer out of the game. Nelson cleaned up the jam after Stavrenos was caught stealing and Pedro Tostado grounded out.
As was the case in previous weeks, the solid relief for CSM continued until the top of the ninth inning when Mark Milioto hit a game tying, two run home run for DeAnza off of Grazzini to tie the game 4-4. CSM failed to answer in the bottom of the ninth and the game found itself in extras. After a quiet top of the tenth, the Bulldogs scored with a walk off sacrifice fly in the bottom portion to clinch the victory.
Zimmerman lead offensive production for the Bulldogs, going 3-for-4, reaching base safely four times, finishing a triple short of the cycle. Stavrenos finished 4-for-5 with four singles and two RBI to lead the DeAnza offense.
CSM continues conference play, looking to improve after the early season’s struggles and their marginal record. They commence their first conference home-and-away series against West Valley college in Saratoga Friday March 8. CSM will then take a six day break before hosting West Valley Thursday March 14.