College of San Mateo manager Doug Williams will be the first to tell you that his baseball team’s first bite at competition in the 2012 season left his those in white and blue with a bitter taste.
"When you play a good team, and Sierra is a top team in the north, it can happen,” Williams said, referring the Bulldogs’ less-than stellar start to the new year. "Right now, it’s just one game and it certainly doesn’t determine who we are.”
It’s not that CSM expected to run the table from wire to wire in 2012, but pitching was their downfall in Friday’s 8-4 loss to Sierra College.
"I thought we played fairly well,” Williams said. "We paid for a big inning in the sixth with that four-spot and that’s really what determined the game. We got ourselves in trouble with a couple of walks in that inning — we walked a guy three times and the guy behind him got four hits. So, those things hurt and came back to bite us a little bit.”
That four-run sixth was the game changer. San Mateo trailed Sierra 3-2 at that point after squandering some opportunities early in the game.
The Bulldogs left three on in the first inning after Sierra handed them a two-on, nobody out situation. Prior to Jarrett Costa taking his cuts, Sierra’s Ryan Millison gift-wrapped the game’s first run for CSM, throwing a bunt attempt into right field that plated Brandon Defazio.
Costa grounded to third and after a Trevin Craig walk to load the bases, Chris Kileen struck out and Mark Hurley flew out to right to end the inning at only 1-0.
Sierra got the run back against Daniel Chavez in the second with Brad Gerig doubling to left-centerfield. The two-bagger was the first of a huge afternoon for Gerig, who, as Williams mentioned, made the Bulldogs pay time and again for walking men in front of his at-bats.
CSM regained the lead in the second only to give it back in the fourth when Gerig tripled to right-centerfield plating a pair of teammates putting Sierra on top 3-2.
It was a lead they would not give back. And that was due in large part to the pitching effort of Bryson Dymond.
Dymond came in during the fourth inning and shut the door on the Bulldogs. Not overpowering with his pitches, Dymond used a bit of a slurve and spotted his fastball well to keep CSM off-balanced.
"Sierra is a good team and that left hander that came out was as good as anybody out there today,” Williams said. "His tempo was very good. He was throwing three pitches for strikes in any count. It was tough for our hitters to adjust.”
Sierra figured out CSM pitching in the sixth, aided by a pair of walks and an error. Two men walked in front of Gerig to begin the inning and one more time the outfielder made the Bulldogs pay the price, doubling down the third base line for his third extra-base hit of the afternoon. He’d score two batters later on an error and that mistake would come in on a Brady Steiger single to right to make it 7-2.
Sierra added another run in the eighth and pulled Dymond after he got a 1-6-3 double play to end the CSM half of the frame.
The Bulldogs scored twice in the ninth, with Joseph Armstrong tripling to begin the inning. He’d scored on a Defazio single and Bo Walter plated him home a couple of batters later.
"It’s early,” Williams said. "It’s a good gauge for us. We’ve been inter-squading since the middle of November and now you see another opponent and realize the level you have to get it up to. We competed at the end there, so I’m proud of the guys for doing that. We have to get better. The best thing about that is that we’ll be out here tomorrow to try and get the bad taste our of our mouth.”