By Matthew Landis
The Foresters scorched the Neptune Beach Pearl in the first game of the series, with clutch hitting and solid pitching, staying perfect on the year. The ‘Sters’ hot bats with a total of eleven hits forced the Pearl into changing pitchers three times during the contest. The Foresters defense held up in the 6-3 win despite committing three errors and giving up a soaring home run. The Pearl, formerly an independent ball club, joined the California Collegiate League this year apart of the north division.
The ‘Sters were strong on the mound only allowing three runs. Starter Nick Diamond from Arizona State pitched six and two thirds innings of solid baseball and Jeremy Montalbano from the University of Texas only gave up a hit en route to the save. On the other hand, the Neptune Beach Pearl pitchers struggled. Pitchers Andrew Boes, Jake Schulz and Chris Scyphers allowed eleven hits, despite striking out eleven Foresters’ batters.
The Foresters started off the game hot, scoring two runs. Jaylin Davis continued his hot start with a leadoff single, followed by an infield sing by Grant Davis. Shortstop Dillon Dobson hit a screamer to Pearl shortstop, who then botched the play, scoring J. Davis. Arizona State product and newcomer to the Foresters, David Greer was beaned by opposing pitcher, Boes, to load the bases. With a deep sacrifice fly by Dave Graybill, Grant Davis crossed home plate, giving the ‘Sters a 2-0 lead.
The Neptune Beach Pearl countered back in the first inning, scoring a run of their own. The first two batters for the Pearl, Matt Miller and Jordan Devencenzi were on board with a single and an error. With runners on the corners, Pearl batter Jared Gaspard grounded into a double play, scoring Miller and recording his first RBI of the series.
With two outs in the third inning, ‘Sters left fielder Granger Studdard hit a towering triple to dead center field that scored Dobson from third base. Graybill recorded his second RBI of the game with a single that scored then Studdard. Through three innings, the Foresters lead the Neptune Beach Pearl 4-1.
Down but not out, the Pearl showed off their hot bats once more in the top of the fifth inning. After shortstop Myles Babbit drew a walk, second basemen Zach McCoy from University of San Francisco hit a towering home run over the left field fence making the score 4-3.
Leading off the sixth inning, Jeremy Montalbano hit his first double of the season. Advancing to third on a wild pitch by Pearl pitcher Jake Schulz, Montalbano then scored after an RBI single by Jaylin Davis. Davis continued his blazing start to the season with his second hit of the game. Catcher Colin Yelich reached base off of a walk and then scored off of another RBI single from Dobson. The ‘Sters bolstered their lead to 6-3 over the Neptune Beach Pearl and would go on to win the ballgame.
The EP 19 Beverage Player of the Game was center fielder Jaylin, who went 2-4 with an RBI and a walk. Davis leads the ‘Sters in batting average and continues to provide Santa Barbara with a spark in the leadoff spot.