Under head coach Tyler Wright, the CSUDH baseball program has risen in stature year by year and is now considered one of the mainstays at the top of the conference standings. For the 2024 season, Wright wants to make sure the team continues to build on its success.
“Our goal is to continue to be a competitive force in this conference,” says Wright. “Every year, we want to compete for the conference tournament, conference championship, and beyond.”
The 2023 Toro squad was in the mix for a postseason berth until the final day of the season, but a loss to Cal State San Bernardino ended their season.
“2023 was an interesting year,” says Wright. “I thought we played hard and were competitive all year. At the end of the day, we didn’t have quite enough pitching to make the run we would have liked to. Off the field our club was successful: we continued to do well in the classroom and represented our university with class.”
The 2024 team will have to replace several major contributors to last year’s success, including four players who made the all-conference team: Eric Smelko, Aaron Greenfield, Vince Temesvary, and Scott Ogrin. “They’re probably the biggest losses,” says Wright. “They were four of our most productive offensive players last year.”
This year’s recruiting class is dominated by upper classmen, says Wright. “We had a lot of seniors on last year’s club and needed guys that could come in and play immediately.”
Among the newcomers are Jeff Ray (who transferred from Chico State), Pat MacDonald (CSU San Marcos), Garet Crenshaw (Sacramento State), and Dylan Schumacher (Rio Hondo CC). “We’re looking for big impacts from those players right away,” says Wright.
Although this year’s club is largely made up of new faces, Wright says that he expects big things from several returning players, as well. “We’re looking for big seasons from Tony Accordino on the offensive side, and Julian Diaz, Chris Cornelius, and Zach Geiss on the mound.”
Once again, the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) will be stacked with impressive teams for the Toros to contend with. “The CCAA will be the same as it is every year, extremely competitive,” says Wright. “In baseball, the CCAA is the toughest conference from top to bottom in the nation. There’s a lot of parity and every club can beat anyone on any given day.”
The coach says that for this year’s Toros, success will mean continuing to represent Dominguez Hills in a positive manner on and off the field, to be competing for the playoffs again, and continuing to thrive academically (the squad had a 3.4 team GPA this past fall, and have boasted a team GPA above 3.0 for more than eight semesters straight).
“Since 2020, we have been competing for something on the last day of the season, and we want to continue that,” says Wright. “There have been large stretches of DH baseball history where we weren’t in the playoff hunt. In 2020, we were in second place midway through the conference when Covid canceled our season. In 2022, we made the conference championship game, and in 2023 we were playing for a conference tournament berth on the last day of the season. We want to continue this trend and improve upon it.”
The CSUDH baseball team opens their home schedule at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, against Fresno Pacific at Toro Field. They also play a doubleheader against Fresno Pacific on Saturday, Feb. 10, with the first game starting at 11 a.m.
For the CSUDH baseball team’s complete schedule, visit https://gotoros.com/sports/baseball/schedule/2024.