Neither Cal Poly Pomona nor Cal State Los Angeles baseball teams have been impressive in non-conference games against mostly NCAA Division I opponents, but their fortunes could change with the start of California Collegiate Athletic Assn. play this week.
Pomona, which began the week with a 9-10 record, plays host to Cal State Northridge at 2:30 p.m. today and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for a single game at 2:30 p.m. Friday and a double-header at noon Saturday.
Los Angeles, which was 9-12-1 at the start of the week, plays host to UC Riverside at 2:30 p.m. Friday and defending conference champion Cal State Dominguez Hills in a double-header at noon Saturday.
Pomona, which finished second in the conference last season and is considered a strong title contender, is solid on offense with seniors like first baseman Tom Weeks, catcher David Schuster and designated hitter Jim Gomez.
Weeks, one of the top power hitters in the conference, has six home runs and 23 runs batted in and is batting .290, Gomez is hitting .410 and Schuster .327.
The Broncos have received strong front-line pitching from senior left-handers Tom Gorman and Charles Webb. Gorman, a former Covina High standout, has a 4-2 record and 2.54 earned-run average and Webb is 3-1 with a 3.34 ERA.
Los Angeles also has a top hitting squad led by junior outfielder Shaun Doyle, a former Diamond Bar High player who is batting .333 with a team high of six doubles, and sophomore second baseman/outfielder Brad Mengel, who is hitting .327.
The Golden Eagles, who may have the youngest team in the conference, have also received solid pitching from sophomores Bill Bene and Aaron Moore. Bene is 2-2 with a 2.74 ERA and Moore is 2-3 and has a 3.38 ERA.
Cal Poly Pomona women's softball team, tied for fifth with Louisiana Tech in NCAA Division I, will attempt to remain undefeated in Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. play when it is host to San Diego State in a double-header at 1:30 p.m. today.
It will be Pomona's first game at Bronco Field, the school's new softball stadium. The Broncos, who are 2-0 in the PCAA and 15-2 overall, will play host to United States International University in a non-conference double-header at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Broncos, who swept a pair of games from San Jose State in their conference openers last week, have been led by the brilliant pitching of senior Rhonda Wheatley. With wins in both games against San Jose, Wheatley stretched her record to 8-1 with 2 saves and a microscopic 0.12 earned-run average. The All-American also has six shutouts and has allowed only one earned run in 59 innings of pitching.
Another reason for Pomona's success has been its improved hitting attack. The Broncos are batting .304, considerably better than their .191 mark last season.
Pomona has been led offensively by junior outfielder Alison Stowell, an All-American second baseman last year who is hitting .400 with team highs of 13 runs batted in and 14 runs scored. Another leader is junior third baseman Dana Ramos, a walk-on transfer from Golden West College who is batting .397 with a team high of 23 hits.
The Broncos have also benefitted from the return of All-American first baseman Kandi Burke, a junior from South Hills High who is hitting .345 after missing last season because of a knee injury.
Cal State Los Angeles is not a strong contender for the team title but will have several top individuals competing in the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships today through Saturday at Belmont Plaza Pool in Long Beach.
In the men's division, the Golden Eagles are led by sophomore Jim Julian and freshman Brad Buchholz--two former All-CIF swimmers from Arcadia High. Julian is competing in the 100- and 200-yard breast stroke and 200-yard individual medley and Buchholz in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly.
Another men's performer is junior Joe Hunziker, who will swim in the 100- and 200-yard breast stroke.
The Golden Eagles also have a strong swimmer in the women's division in sophomore Jeanie Quintana, a Division II All-American whose top event may be the 200-yard individual medley. Quintana will also compete in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly and the 400-yard individual medley.
The men's track team at Cal State Los Angeles is sending only two athletes to the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday and Saturday at North Dakota State University in Fargo but both figure to place well in their events.
Stan Oporski will compete in the triple jump and Steve Jones in the high jump. Both are seniors who were Division II All-Americans last year.
Oporski, Division II triple jump champion last season, has posted California Collegiate Athletic Assn. records of 53-9 outdoors and 53-2 3/4 indoors. Jones finished second in Division II in the high jump last year at 7-2 1/2.