By Kian Karamdashti
After a two-game split on the last road trip, The Foresters struck early and often, shutting out the Blues in their 8-0 win Thursday on Santa Barbara Independent Night. Home runs by Christian Franklin and Conor McKenna led the way offensively, as solid outings by Ryan Bergert and the rest of the bullpen complemented the relatively stressless win
Nothing makes a Foresters debut better than a home run in your first at bat, much less to lead off the game. That is exactly what Franklin did in the bottom of the first, crushing a 1-0 pitch over the fence to get the ’Sters rolling early. Franklin, fresh off a deep postseason run with the Razorbacks, was excited to get going.
“This team’s really competitive, a lot of good guys, a lot of good pitching,” said Franklin. “Hopefully we can make a deep run into the postseason.”
Speaking of good pitching, the ’Sters staff was outstanding tonight. Ryan Bergert, making his first start of the season, was excellent for the ’Sters, pitching four innings while striking out six. He finished the night with only two hits and one walk allowed. The bullpen continued to reach the high bar they’ve set all year, relieving Bergert for five shutout innings, allowing only four baserunners while striking out seven.
The ’Sters continued to hit the ball well after the first inning. A triple by Blake Hall in the third inning combined with a two-run jack by McKenna in the fourth increased the lead to 4-0 by the fifth inning. The game was put to rest in the bottom of the sixth with a four-run frame behind a flurry of walks, wild pitches, a fielder’s choice, and RBI singles by Ryan Cash and Franklin extended the lead to 8-0, effectively putting the game out of reach
Manager Bill Pintard was not just in love with the hitting, but the whole performance.
“This was probably our most complete effort against a good ball club we’ve had all year. You go through the lineup, we were hitting the ball hard everywhere. We haven’t had a lot of power so far so that’s to see. The forecast is looking less foggy so hopefully the ball will start to carry more.”
The Foresters continue their homestand tomorrow against the Ventura County Pirates at Pershing Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm on AM 1290.