The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
Cameron Greenough was contending with plenty of opening-day jitters. And it showed.
College of San Mateo’s sophomore right-hander opened the season throwing three straight balls to Cañada leadoff hitter Yordan Martinez-Garcia. But then Greenough settled in.
Not only did the Bulldogs’ ace bounce back to induce a harmless groundout to open the game. Greenough went on to fire three no-hit innings to set the stage for the Bulldogs’ 13-1 win over Cañada Saturday at Bulldog Field.
“There were plenty of nerves coming in, being our opening-day starter,” Greenough said. “But having experience from last year, you bring a lot of confidence in yourself and get a lot of confidence from your teammates.”
The Bulldogs pitching staff took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and allowed just three hits in the game. And when Greenough threw his final pitch of the day to end the third inning, he walked off the mound with a 1-0 lead. His teammates did the rest in securing the sophomore’s first win of the year as the Bulldogs’ offense soon put the game out of reach.
After scratching out a run in the first inning, CSM began hanging football scores on the scoreboard with three runs in the third and seven more in the fourth.
CSM sophomore Brad Degnan had the big swing of the bat to kick-start the offense in the third. With two on and two out, Degnan fell into an 0-2 hole. But the sweet-swinging lefty moved up in the box and shortened up his stroke, allowing him to wheel and fire on a hanging curveball, raking a double over the first-base bag to score Mike Reisner and RJ Prince and make it 3-0.
“It was a good rally-starter for us,” Degnan said of the clutch swing of the bat. “It was definitely a good swing to get things going for our team.”
With Degnan advancing to third base with the throw home on the play, Degnan later scored on an infield single by Daniel Slominski to give the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead. Then in the fourth, the Bulldogs sent 12 batters to the plate to break it open.
Cañada starting pitcher Nico Mayoral worked 3 1/3 innings, before departing with two on and one out in the fourth. At that point, CSM still hadn’t scored in the inning. But after the Colts’ bullpen opened by issuing a walk to Nick Adgar to load the bases, Bulldogs cleanup hitter Juan Gonzalez shot a two-run single to left to get the carousel moving.
Gonzalez finished the day going 3 for 4 with three RBIs. He also drove in the Bulldogs’ first run of the day with a two-out single in the first.
“We definitely knew we were a good hitting team,” Degnan said. “We didn’t know what to expect, but we came out swinging. That’s a good start.”
Slominski also produced a three-hit day, going 3 for 3 with a hit-by-pitch and five RBIs. The freshman designated hitter had the big knock in the fourth, producing a bases-loaded double to left-center to clear the bags. He added an RBI triple amid a two-run sixth inning, at which point he was sitting on three legs of a natural cycle. But Slominski didn’t get a shot at the feat as he was pinch hit for in the seventh the next time around the order.
For Cañada, Saturday’s game was not opening day. The Colts opened Thursday at home with a 6-2 win over Solano. In Thursday’s opener, sophomore starting pitcher Elijah Saunders worked six innings to earn the win, as Cañada held Solano to just three hits.
Colts manager Tony Lucca said he gave Saunders the ball on opening day because the right-hander is the most experienced pitcher on staff this season.
“Our staff is really inexperienced at this point and he is the one guy who has experience from last year,” Lucca said. “He’s looked up to by his teammates as a sophomore returning from last year. And he’s done well as far as that’s gone.”
Against CSM, Lucca turned to a trio of sophomores in relief of Mayoral. The third one, right-hander Frankie Corsetti, finally found a groove for the Colts as he finished the game with three shutout innings.
For the Bulldogs, looking beyond opening day, their staff gets younger in a hurry as well. Greenough is the only returning pitcher with significant innings from last season. Of the 15 players on roster listing as either pitchers or utility players, only five are sophomores, including Greenough.
CSM manager Doug Williams traditionally does not announce starting pitchers until game day, so Thursday’s starter against Solano is unknown. Greenough said he didn’t know he was starting the opener until he arrived at the field Saturday. But the Sequoia graduate made the most of his 60-70 pitch limit, striking out two against one walk while facing two over the minimum through three innings of work.
Colts catcher Robbie Galvan broke up CSM’s no-hitter in the fifth inning. Following a leadoff walk to Sean Walsh, Galvan singled to left-center and later scored Cañada’s only run of the game when pinch-hitter Caleb Romero rolled an RBI groundout to second to plate Galvan.
The non-conference game marks the only matchup of the season scheduled between CSM and Cañada. Previous to this season, the two teams had always played in the same conference, most recently in different divisions of the Coast Conference, with Cañada being in the Coast Pacific and CSM in the Coast Golden Gate.
This year, however, the two divisions have been reassigned as different conferences. The number of conference games played between respective teams in each of the conferences has increased from two games to three, leaving just three total inter-conference games for a single team to play. With six teams in each the Coast Pacific and the Coast Golden Gate, a team will play three teams from the opposing Coast Conference this year, then cycle to play the other three the next year.