From behind home plate, Associated Students, Inc. President Yahir Flores nodded toward Morishita and awaited delivery of the baseball. The president took a step forward and threw the ceremonial first pitch to Flores right over the plate.
“It was right where I wanted it to be,” Morishita said with a smile.
The pitch marked the start of the university’s fifth annual Cal State LA Night at Dodger Stadium hosted by the Cal State LA Alumni Association. More than 2,000 alumni, students, friends, and family filled sections of the stadium on Aug. 29, celebrated their shared Golden Eagle pride while cheering on the Dodgers. Morishita and Flores were also joined on the field by Mindy Larios, ASI undergraduate academic senator, and Alexis Narvaez, a student administrative assistant for ASI.
As part of the event, members of the Cal State LA community took home limited-edition hats commemorating the night, which proved to be a hit among fans. The black, bucket-style hats fused the two organizations’ Los Angeles identities, interweaving logos from both the Dodgers and Cal State LA with gold stitching that shimmered under the stadium lights.
“I think it’s very sleek and stylish,” said Cal State LA graduate student Celeste O’Neill, a first-time Cal State LA Night attendee. “I just love bucket hats in general and I could see myself wearing this outside of today.”
Decked out in their new bucket hats and Dodger blue, O’Neill and the rest of the Cal State LA community packed right-field loge-level sections taking in each moment of the game. Alumni, students, staff, and faculty sat together throughout the night cheering on the first-place Dodgers to an exciting rout of National League West rival, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Clayton Kershaw pitched five innings of one-run ball and the Dodger lineup exploded for nine runs on 16 hits to back their starter’s historic performance on the mound. David Peralta and Jason Heyward drove in three first-inning runs on a pair of RBI doubles, and the Dodgers added three more runs over the next two innings before Mookie Betts and Will Smith each hit a pair of solo home runs in the sixth to push the score to the eventual final outcome of 9-1. With his 209th career win, Kershaw tied Don Drysdale for second-most in franchise history.
“It was my first Cal State LA Night and I had a lot of fun with the friends and alumni I went with,” said Janessa Mata, an alumna and current university staff member. “Everywhere you went you saw [our community] all over the place and it looked like everyone was having a great time.”
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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 26,000 students and has more than 250,000 distinguished alumni.