The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
Depth has served the College of San Mateo Bulldogs well on the baseball diamond this season. Case in point: CSM’s current 10-game winning streak.
The Bulldogs picked up their 10th straight with an 11-2 victory over De Anza Saturday at Bulldog Stadium in Jared Milch’s first start in three weeks. The freshman left-hander out of Terra Nova got the win streak rolling in his previous start March 25 against City College of San Francisco, firing seven innings of two-hit ball to pick up the win in a 9-0 victory.
Hampered by shoulder tightness in the weeks to follow, Milch returned to the rotation Saturday to throw four scoreless frames, taking a no-decision. Sophomore reliever Roger Kruse entered for a sturdy three-plus innings to pick up the win.
“We just get the next-man-up mentality,” Kruse said. “We’re super deep. … It’s nice to not have to rely on one guy.”
The only pitcher to not miss a start for the Bulldogs this season is sophomore left-hander Dalton Gomez, who served as the opening-day starter. Otherwise, CSM’s pitching staff has been decimated by injuries.
Sophomore Tommy Watanabe — who last season ranked second on the team in starts and innings pitched — hasn’t pitched since leaving the game in the third inning of his only appearance of the year Feb. 4. Freshman right-hander Ethan Heinrich — who started the year 3-0 through his first three starts — hasn’t pitched since Feb. 28 and is out for the season with an arm injury. Freshman right-hander Wyatt Tucker missed over a month between starts.
As a result, during its current 10-game win streak, CSM has used five different starting pitchers — Gomez, Milch, Tucker, Drew Reveno and Keolu Ramos — totaling a 7-0 record with a 2.68 ERA during the stretch.
“Coming into fall, we had a ton of good arms,” Kruse said. “But we knew there was going to be innings to be had.”
Kruse, in upping his record to 3-0 Saturday, now leads the Bulldogs with 26 relief innings. His 27 total innings pitched ranks fourth overall on the patchwork staff.
Nonetheless, the Bulldogs have found a winning formula. They entered the week ranked No. 5 in the state and No. 2 in Northern California. And with five games to play in the regular season, the Bulldogs are one game away from clinching at least a tie for the Coast Golden Gate Conference championship.
“One game at a time,” Milch said. “We’re really rolling. We don’t want to do anything to mess that up.”
Milch plans to serve as a rotation anchor for the remainder of the season, dismissing the notion his recent downtime was due to anything other than routine shoulder stiffness.
“It’s not a big deal,” Milch said.
Milch said he wasn’t on a pitch count Saturday, but threw just 54 pitches before giving way to Kruse to start the fourth. Kruse said he knew going into the game he would be piggybacking Milch, who still ranks second on the staff with 44 2/3 innings pitched and owns a 3-2 record with a 4.03 ERA.