College baseball: SRJC drops series opener to Folsom Lake 3-1

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For the second Saturday in a row, Santa Rosa Junior College’s baseball team faces elimination in the CCCAA State Tournament.

The Bear Cubs set themselves up for another do-or-die day by losing Friday to visiting Folsom Lake, 3-1. Now, SRJC must beat the Falcons today and again on Sunday to keep their title hopes alive.

First pitch Saturday is 1 p.m. at Sypher Field and if necessary, there will be a game three Sunday at noon on the Santa Rosa campus.

A week ago Friday, Santa Rosa lost the opening game of a best-of-three series to Reedley and then had to beat the visitors two straight to advance.

The Bear Cubs came through with 8-0 and 6-2 victories.

“It’s pretty simple,” head coach Damon Neidlinger said. “We have to win two or the season’s over.”

His team is confident they’ll be able to do that.

“We can win two straight without a doubt,” said catcher Trace Cianfichi, a Santa Rosa High graduate. “The guys on the team are still definitely feeling confident.

“We just need to recollect ourselves and go out and win. Sure, we’re disappointed losing the first game, but we still believe we’re going to win this thing.”

The Bear Cubs, winner of the Big 8 Conference, came into the tournament with the No. 1 seed in Northern California. Folsom Lake was pegged No.14.

The visitors’ pitchers recorded 13 strikeouts which set the tone for the low-scoring game. Seven of those Ks were by winning hurler Will Felton, a Rancho Cotate grad.

“We didn’t have many quality at bats,” Neidlinger said.

The Falcons did all their scoring in the third inning. With two outs and two on, Tyler Kain hit a home run that landed just over the fence and the outstretched glove of left fielder Mitch West.

The bottom of the fifth started with promise for the Bear Cubs. Matt Bone doubled and George Foster knocked him in with a two-base hit. However, the next three batters made outs.

Santa Rosa also had two runners on base in the first, sixth and eighth innings. The Bear Cubs had five hits, two of those by Jake Scheiner.

Santa Rosa’s record is 31-8 while Folsom Lake improves to 26-13.

There’s a big reason for the home team to be confident today. Alec Rennard, the staff’s ace, will be on the mound. The Maria Carrillo alum sports an 11-1 record and 1.50 ERA.

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