All posts by Mike Baca

New Day….New Energy…..I Believe

Tommy Lasorda was asked after a tough loss once how he slept ?

“I slept like a baby, one hour up and one hour down.”

I imagine the Chico State Wildcats baseball team had a few restless hours after laying their heads on the pillow last night. The magical comeback resulting in victory was not to be at the Division II West Region Baseball Tournament and now the #1 ranked in the nation Wildcats have no more tomorrows, because today, and today only is their day of reckoning.

The Wildcats will take on Division-I bound Cal Baptist this morning in an elimination game at this regional. The winner gets to keep playing while the loser sees their season come to an unceremonious end.

In my 20 years calling Chico State baseball this team ranks right up there with some of the best and most fun I have ever called. At no time do I ever believe this team is out of a game. As I sit writing this I don’t see a daunting task in front of them that may seem to the outsider as insurmountable. I see another challenge laid down before this incredibly competitive and talented group.

How does a club win four or five games in four days against really good teams ? Ahhhh, there’s the trap. Chico State doesn’t have to win four or five games in four days. All they have to do is win today. That’s it. Just win today. Win the moment. Win the present. Be aware, with laser like precision of this very  moment and the Wildcats will be fine.

This team has always wanted to do things that this historic program has never done. Here is their chance. No Chico State baseball team has ever come back to win a regional, let alone play for a regional or World Series title after dropping their first game. The gauntlet has been cast. The challenge is before them.

I am excited to see them get after it today !!!

 

Let the Second Season Commence…..

It was a record-setting regular season for the Chico State baseball team notching 41 against only 8 defeats and now the Cats enter the most important time of the year, the post-season.

Chico opens CCAA Tournament play against Cal State Los Angeles. The Wildcats swept the Golden Eagles in mid-April at Nettleton Stadium beating LA 11-8, 7-1 and 8-1 . LA is playing better baseball having won 6-of-their-last-7 after losing 8 in a row.

Chico sends CCAA Pitcher of the Year and Newcomer of the Year Casey Costello to the hill this morning. Costello led the nation in wins with 12 and notched a glittering 2.05 ERA.

Listen on the LISTEN LIVE tab at 11am to Chico State post-season baseball……

Update: Bumgarner Officially Diagnosed; Will Miss 3 Months

By Chandler Guadagnin

The San Francisco Giants have announced today that Madison Bumgarner has been officially diagnosed with a Grade 2 left shoulder sprain, which he sustained during a dirt bike accident last week.

Prior to the accident, Bumgarner started four games, going 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA. In 27 innings pitched, Madison struck out 28 batters while issuing four free passes and surrendering 2 home runs.

The injury will sideline him through the All-Star Break.

Statistics courtesy of www.baseball-reference.com

Bumgarner Out 2 Months After Motor Bike Accident

By Chandler Guadagnin

The 6-11 Giants received more bad news on Thursday. Their ace Madison Bumgarner will be out 6 to 8 weeks with bruised ribs and  a Grade 1 or 2 AC strain in his left shoulder, which he sustained during a motor bike accident during the team’s off day in Colorado. Bumgarner was placed on the 10-day Disabled List following the accident. MadBum, who was taken to the hospital, and has since been released.

In four starts this season, Bumgarner is 0-3 and owns a 3.00 ERA with 28 strikeouts and four walks, while allowing 2 home runs in 27 innings pitched.

To say that San Francisco has had it difficult in the injury department is an understatement. Thus far, in  17 games, the Giants have placed Buster Posey on the 7-day concussion DL, lost Jarrett Parker for 10 weeks after he suffered a fractured clavicle and have now added Bumgarner to that list. Before the season even started, San Francisco was forced to surrender pitcher, Will Smith, to Tommy John surgery and shelf Michael Morse after a hamstring injury.

The Giants will slot Ty Blach into the rotation to replace Bumgarner.

Statistics courtesy of baseball-reference.com

Jarrett Parker Breaks Clavicle After Crashing Into Wall

By Chandler Guadagnin

The Giants 5-0 loss to the Rockies on Saturday afternoon was compounded by an injury to left fielder, Jarrett Parker.

With two outs in the top of the fourth inning, the Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu drove an 0-1 offering from Matt Moore to let field. The ball seemed destined for the wall. However, Parker had a bead on it all the way; leaping full steam into the wall to make the catch. After making the highlight grab, Parker staggered to mid left field clutching his collar bone area and taking a knee. Parker would have to be helped off the field. Test results later revealed that Parker had a fractured right clavicle. After undergoing surgery, Parker is expected to miss 8 to 10 weeks.

San Francisco’s options include Michael Morse and Kelby Tomlinson as well as newly signed minor leaguers Drew Stubbs and Melvin Upton Jr. Michael Morse looked poised to break camp with the Giants before suffering a hamstring injury. He is currently in extended Spring Training.

Drew Stubbs signed a minor league contract with the Giants on April 6th. In a 2016 season that saw him suit up for the Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, Stubbs hit a combined .225/.330/.338 in 59 games.

Melvin Upton Jr. split 2016 with the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays. In 149 games, Upton Jr. hit at an average of .238, recorded an OBP of .291 and slugged ..402; while striking out 155 times and going 27 for 35 in stolen bases.

In 52 games for the Giants, utility man, Kelby Tomlinson, slashed .292/.370/.330 with four doubles and five stolen bases.

In nine games, Parker was 3 for 27 for a .143 average His most notable hit of his young season was a 2-RBI triple. He had struck out 10 times.

Statistics courtesy of mlb.com and baseball-reference.com

Giants Fall to 1 and 4 On Season

By Chandler Guadagnin

The 2017 season has not started as the Giants would have hoped. Over their first five games, San Francisco has a 1-4 record. This may not seem like a big concern so early in the year, however their are some concerning hints of last season. In all four losses, the Giants grabbed an early lead, only to cough it up. Perhaps, the most disheartening example of this was on opening day, when the Giants had a lead on three separate occasions; including, a 6-5 lead in the ninth. After all was said and done, the Giants fell 7-6.

Even in their 8-4 win on Tuesday, San Francisco struggled to close it out. From the bottom of the fifth, to the end of the game, San Francisco pitchers surrendered a 2-run home run and 3 walks. Thus far, the Giants pitching staff has a team ERA of 6.42. They have surrendered 6 home runs and walked 13.

At the plate, San Francisco is hitting at a clip of .278. Meanwhile, Jarrett Parker and Chris Marrero, the Giants platoon in left field, are a combined 0 for 19.

San Francisco will look to turn it around today. Game 2 of the Giants-Padres series comes your way at 5:40PM PT . The Giants will send Madison Bumgarner to the hill to face off against the Padres’ Jhoulys Chacin. The game can be seen on NBC Sports Bay Area and heard on KNBR 680 AM.

Statistics courtesy of mlb.com

Peaking Wildcats making a run at a National Championship……

 

It’s not that we didn’t think they could do it, but to expect it was totally unfair.

The Chico State men’s basketball is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota getting ready to take on Lincoln Memorial at the Elite Eight for Division II basketball. The Wildcats magic carpet ride was punctuated last weekend with three splendid performances against the three respective regular season champions in the West Region.

First, Chico knocked off high-scoring Western Washington 96-83. Despite giving up 83 points the Wildcats were more than happy getting in a shootout with the Vikings. For the first time in a long time the Wildcats found room to move on the floor. Passing lanes that were clogged and impediments that were common place during CCAA play all of sudden turned into wide gulfs of space with which they could run their offense unimpeded against a Western team that gave up nearly 80 points a game. It must have felt like a jail-break for Chico State.

The free-flowing offense where movement and motion was rewarded. It had been a while since Chico had been that wide open for drives and shots. The game was truly a testament to how good the CCAA is. To win the CCAA you MUST play defense, if not you will get carved to pieces.

On day two the Wildcats encountered a frisky bulldog-tough type of team in Hawaii-Pacific. If the Sharks were a baseball team I would affectionately call them a bunch of “dirt-bags.” Fluidity of play and dogged aggressiveness characterized the Pacific West Conference Champions. We saw them systematically take care of the best defensive team in the country, CCAA-rival Sonoma State. I was thoroughly impressed with their defensive doggedness and anticipated Chico State would have their hands full.

Chico’s 15-point lead with 9:30 to go eventually turned into a one-point deficit with 1:55 to go. A furious 25-9 rally by the Sharks had the Wildcats on their heels, before Chico State righted the ship. The Wildcats ability to rescue the game after coughing up a 15 lead showed Chico State had come a long way in a year. After Isaiah Ellis took a charge with the Cats down and with 4 fouls, Robert Duncan made a driving lay-up. After Corey Silverstrom registered a steal and driving bucket the Cats had the whip-hand and outlasted HPU 77-74. The win showed many of us Chico State lifers a toughness that at times had been missing over the last few years. It’s hard to be critical of a team that has had as much success as the Wildcats for the last several years. But, sometimes and on rare occasions, when things went south, the Cats had a hard time pulling themselves out of the abyss, especially in the middle of a game. Not this time, though.

This Chico State team made winning plays to beat Hawaii-Pacific. Sealed the game with defense and disciplined offense and moved on to the regional championship game against UC San Diego.

The championship tilt against the rival Tritons will simply go down as one of the great basketball games in Chico State Wildcats history. 10 days before this title match-up UCSD had come out in the CCAA semi-final game and as All-American guard Robert Duncan said, “punched Chico in the mouth.” With 4 minutes left in the 1st half UCSD had jumped out to a 27-11 lead. The Wildcat offense was stagnant. There was not movement, no aggressiveness, a passivity to their flow that was not conducive to winning basketball. When the final horn sounded it was San Diego 65-53 over Chico State. The final score only told a portion of the story. The Tritons had taken the fight to Chico State, and for this team to accomplish the things they wanted to accomplish, that had to change.

Right from the out-set you could tell the Wildcats wouldn’t lose this game for a lack of fight. On their first possession they would grab two offensive rebounds. They would attack on the offensive end. The ball moved, the players moved, there was cutting and motion, it was a thing of beauty. It was nothing like the three games the Wildcats had played against UCSD this year. There was a precision and rhythm to the Cats’ offensively that showed this team at their peak. To quote Norman Dale in the movie Hoosiers, “all pistons firing operating as one.”

Ellis was simply other-worldly. The Wildcat junior scored 19 of his game high 34 in the first half. The Tritons having watched Chico hit 25-of-50 from three-point range in the first two games of the regional were reluctant to double Ellis, out of fear of leaving the triumvirate of Wildcat shooters open, they paid the price.

Even after an 11-0 run by the Tritons sent their faithful into a frenzy, giving UCSD a 57-51 lead, Chico would counter with a 14-7 run of their own and this time it was more than Ellis. Corey Silverstrom would get hot taking top of the key and wing three’s to set it off. All the other pieces for the Cats played well including the other duo on the “core-fore” Jalen McFerren and Duncan. The beauty of Duncan’s play is he facilitated much of the Wildcat success. In past year’s Chico had to have Duncan score, but this year Duncan and Wildcats thrive when he facilitates ball movement and action. His talents necessitates constant attention. That attention opens things up for his mates and in the regional Duncan has never been better. McFerren took the slings and arrows from all teams to run the offense with continuity and flow. His 37-minute 1 turnover performance may be one of the more over-looked great games of the season for the Cats, but not by those of us that saw him play.

Everyone in uniform for Chico State played well against San Diego. In retrospect there just wasn’t a player who didn’t play well, that how championship teams are crowned.

With as well as the Wildcats played they still had to withstand an incredible shooting display by the Tritons. UCSD shot 14-of-26 from three-point range, making Chico State pay for their double-teams against sophomore post Chris Hansen. The complimentary pieces were tremendous for San Diego, but as CCAA-MVP Adam Klie said after the game, “we just couldn’t get stops. They (Chico) just played really well.”

Knocking off three conference champions in four days is not an easy task. When you do it, deep down you have to think all things are possible and that is the attitude the Chico State Wildcats bring to Sioux Falls. The Cats finished in a tie for third in the CCAA, got knocked out in the semis of the CCAA Conference Tournament but their championship pedigree is undeniable.

This Chico State core pushed themselves to heightened levels of exhaustion just to win a CCAA regular season title in 2016. They would never win another game the night after they clinched. They expended so much energy to win that regular season title, they had nothing left.

There was a conscious effort as many Wildcats professed to me in October to perform and win in the NCAA Tournament. The conference accolades and rewards were nice, but the NCAA Tournament riches are better. This team knew this, and their experience in losing in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years lit a flame that, at times dimmed slightly, but never extinguished.

They are peaking. They are hungry. And, they don’t feel like they are anywhere near finished.

BYU Slams Kennesaw State In Game 2

By Chandler Guadagnin

After falling 5-3 to Georgia Tech yesterday, it was clear that the Cougars had their minds set on evening their record.

The first inning went by without incident. In the second, however, it was a different story as Brigham Young struck for four runs on 4 hits. The Cougars never loooked back as they went on to score runs in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth. The run in the sixth came off the bat of the one and only Keaton Kringlen as he homered to left center as the Cougars cruised to a 13-4 victory.

BYU pitching was dominant as they combined to allow four runs on 9 hits, while stranding seven.

The Cougars will wrap up the first trio of games against the Panthers of Georgia State. Game time is scheduled for Monday Febuary 20th at 1:00PM PT from the GSU Baseball Complex.

Keaton Kringlen: 2-4; HR, 2 RBI

Daniel Schneeman: 1-5; RBI

Statistics courtesy of www.byucougars.com

 

Chico State shut down at tourney opener in Houston

 

*Photo courtesy of Skip Reager and Chico State Athletics*

The Chico State Wildcats were shut down in their first game at the Houston Invitational at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Wildcat starter Hunter Haworth pitched a gem through six but ran into trouble in the 7th surrendering 4 earned runs. Haworth was dominant at times striking out 10 and holding the Texas A&M Kingsville Javelinas to two hits through six. The Javelinas would load the bases against Haworth in the 7th and after throwing 5-straight balls he grooved a 1-0 pitch to Travis Geiser who hammered a three-run triple into the right-center field gap. The Javelinas would score Geiser from third capping their four-run outburst.

Chico would get on the board in the 9th when Wildcat pinch-hitter Brian Pozos tripled to deep left-center and scored on an RBI ground out by Cameron Santos.

Chico State will play St. Mary’s from Texas today with the start time between 3:30 and 4pm. St. Mary’s lost on Friday 9-6 to Tarleton State.

Chico Sweeps Simpson; Dubs done in by three ball

The Chico State Wildcats baseball team finished off a four-game sweep of the Simpson University Red Hawks on Monday with convincing wins of 7-1 and 11-0.

Chico’s pitching was stellar all weekend, but particularly good on Monday with Casey Costello tossing five innings of 1-hit shut-out baseball in the first game of the double-dip. Cam Greenough dominated the Red Hawks in the night-cap tossing five innings and striking out 12.

The Wildcats (6-2) outscored Simpson 32-2 in the series and now get ready for The Houston Winter Invitational at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Wildcats will play Texas A&M-Kingsville on Friday afternoon at 12 noon PST with our pre-game coming your way at 11:40am. Saturday the Cats take on St. Mary’s from Texas with first pitch slated for 4pm. Both of these games can be exclusively heard on the KpaySports app, right here on KpaySports.com and ChicoWildcats.com.

The series finale against the host institution, Central Missouri State will be on Sunday morning at 7:40am and can be heard on the app, website and AM-1290 KPAY.

(AP) — Nikola Jokic got his second career triple-double and the Denver Nuggets tied an NBA record with 24 3-pointers while shocking the Golden State Warriors 132-110 on Monday night.

The Nuggets tied the 3-point mark set by the Rockets in December against New Orleans. They missed two 3-pointers in the final minute, and Jamal Murray passed up an uncontested 3 to dribble out the clock. They finished 24 of 40 from beyond the arc.

The Warriors were just 8 of 32 from long range, including 1 of 11 by Stephen Curry.

Jokic set career highs in rebounds (21) and assists (12) to go with 17 points, and rookie Juancho Hernangomez scored a season-high 27 points, including six 3s. Will Barton added 24 points and Jameer Nelson had 23.

(AP) — A person briefed on the discussions tells The Associated Press that Madison Square Garden has lifted its ban of Charles Oakley.

The person who spoke to the AP on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the discussions were to remain private says the former Knicks star who was arrested at a game last week is welcome back at the arena.

Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan banned Oakley on Friday, two days after the former power forward had an altercation with security guards while attending a game.

But the sides reconciled quickly, helped by a meeting Monday at NBA headquarters with Commissioner Adam Silver and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. Jordan and Oakley were teammates in Chicago before Oakley was traded to New York, where he became a fan favorite with the Knicks from 1988-98.

(AP) — Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love will be out at least six weeks following knee surgery.

Love had the operation on his left knee Tuesday in New York. The Cavs said he will be sidelined approximately six weeks, which would have him returning by April 1. The playoffs start later that month.

The 28-year-old had complained of soreness and had swelling in his knee following Saturday’s win over Denver. Love is averaging 20 points and 11.1 rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who are in Minnesota to play their second-to-last game before the All-Star break.

Love, who recently missed some games with back spasms, has been having his best season with Cleveland. Following two seasons of drama and trade rumors, he has blended in with stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

Love’s absence will put further stress on Cleveland’s depth and could force general manager David Griffin to make a major move before the Feb. 23 trading deadline.

(AP) — San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has added three new members of his coaching staff.

Shanahan announced Monday that Mike McDaniel will be the team’s new run game specialist, Mike LaFleur will be wide receivers coach and Taylor Embree will be offensive quality control coach.

McDaniel and LaFleur both worked in Atlanta with Shanahan when he was offensive coordinator for the Falcons.

Embree is the son of 49ers assistant head coach and tight ends coach Jon Embree.