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Solis, Lopez battle
• Ex-CVHS baseball teammates face off at college level
Alexis Solis and Gabrial Lopez
Former Central Valley baseball standouts Alexis Solis and Gabrial Lopez faced off for the first time at the college level earlier this month in Turlock when Stanislaus State and San Francisco State played a four-game series. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Former Central Valley High School standout baseball players Alexis Solis and Gabrial Lopez faced off for the first time at the collegiate level earlier this month in Turlock.

Solis and Stanislaus State won three of four games versus Lopez and San Francisco State in California Collegiate Athletic Association play.

The CCAA regular-season series was staged, April 14-16, at Warrior Stadium.

Family, friends and former coaches watched from the stands.

“It was a great weekend,” Solis said. “There was a lot of support there from Central Valley. That was my favorite thing to see. It was a big series, too.”

“It’s super fun playing against guys you know,” Lopez stated. “It adds to the competitiveness. I’m really appreciative of all the people who came out to support us.”

“I’m proud of both of them and what they’ve accomplished,” added Derrick Goblirsch, who coached Solis and Lopez in high school. “To get to watch them compete against each other was such a joy. They eat, sleep and breathe baseball. That’s a major reason they’ve been successful at every level.”

Lopez, a freshman, made his first career start at pitcher during the series finale.

He allowed one run and three hits with no strikeouts and two walks in four innings as San Francisco State lost 4-2 to Stanislaus State.

“I prepared and recovered well the night before,” Lopez said. “I just didn’t have my best stuff. I couldn’t find my curveball or fastball. I tried my best to get outs for my team. I did well at limiting damage.”

Solis, a junior outfielder, batted 1-for-2 against Lopez.

He singled to left-center field and grounded out to third base. 

“I was really looking forward to facing Alex,” Lopez said. “I had Stanislaus marked on my calendar for a long time. It was a really cool experience. I didn’t get the exact result I wanted. But I’m grateful to get the opportunity to face their guys. I tried not to make eye contact with him (Solis). I just tried to get him out.”

“I thought he (Lopez) did well,” Solis said. “He had some good composure, especially being a freshman and for his first start. Obviously, you want to beat him. But at the end of the day, you treat him like any other pitcher.”

Solis collected five hits and one RBI during the four-game series.

Stanislaus State leapfrogged San Francisco State in conference play.

The Warriors sat in fourth and fifth place, respectively, as of April 16.

“It was an important series,” Solis said. “We’re pretty close in the standings.”

Solis had a batting average of .306 with 38 hits, one home run, nine doubles, 16 RBIs, 20 runs and nine walks through the Warriors’ first 40 games (23-17).

“It’s really fun to watch him play,” Lopez said. “He’s a tough at-bat every time.”

Lopez had a 1-1 record with a 0.93 ERA, 17 strikeouts and eight walks through the Gators’ first 39 games (24-15).

He notched his first win on April 8.

He gave up no runs and two hits with two strikeouts and three walks in host San Francisco State’s 7-2 victory over Cal State San Marcos at Maloney Field.

Lopez pitched 131/3 consecutive scoreless innings to start his career.

His streak was snapped when he allowed two runs and one hit with two strikeouts and no walks in the Warriors’ 3-2 win over the visiting Chico State Wildcats on April 12.

“I’ve learned and matured a lot since I moved to San Francisco,” Lopez said. “I feel really comfortable and confident on the mound. The main focus is to take advantage of opportunities.”

“I’m not surprised,” Solis said while talking about Lopez’s success. “I know he works hard and he wants it.”

Solis and Lopez graduated from Central Valley High School in 2019 and 2022, respectively.

They both played varsity baseball for four seasons.

Solis earned first-team all-conference honors as a senior and junior and was a second-team pick as a sophomore.

He batted .339 from the plate with four homers, three triples, 31 doubles, 100 hits, 55 RBIs, 81 runs and 39 stolen bases in 105 career games.

He totaled seven wins at pitcher with 184 strikeouts and three shutouts in 1592/3 innings.

Lopez made program history as a junior by becoming just the second Hawk player to earn Most Valuable Player honors. 

He was named WAC South Division MVP in a vote by the conference’s head coaches.

He posted a perfect 7-0 record on the mound with a 0.60 earned-run average, one no-hitter, three shutouts, six complete games, 84 strikeouts and 18 walks.

Lopez helped lead Central Valley to it’s first-ever conference championship. The Hawks won eight of nine games against WAC South competition and amassed a 14-4 overall record.

Lopez and Central Valley pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Sac-Joaquin Section playoff history in 2022.

Lopez was the winning pitcher during the 14th-seeded Hawks’ 3-2 win against the third-seeded Elk Grove Thundering Herd in the first round of the Division-I bracket.

He allowed two runs and six hits with two strikeouts and three walks over five innings.

Lopez had a 7-5 record with a 2.42 ERA, 112 strikeouts, 34 walks, one no-hitter, one shutout and two complete games during his final season with Central Valley.

He was selected to the CCC First Team.

Lopez amassed a 16-12 record on the mound with a 2.51 ERA, 272 strikeouts, 91 walks, two no-hitters, five shutouts and nine complete games during his prep career. Opponents had a batting average of .188.