By Kian Karamdashti
A strong start by Luke Taggart and another timely hit by Christian Franklin gave the Foresters a 3-2 win over the San Luis Obispo Blues on Saturday night, maintaining their strong grip on the California Collegiate League standings
After pushing across 13 runs in their last game, the Foresters offense kept things going in the bottom of the second inning. Back-to-back two-out doubles by catcher Connor Pavolony and designated hitter Spencer Jones gave the ’Sters an early lead
Taggart, the University of Incarnate Word junior, was solid for the ’Sters. Despite allowing five hits, Taggart got through four innings with no runs allowed, three strikeouts, and one walk.
“He was really good,” said manager Bill Pintard. “He maintained his velocity throughout. We would have loved to keep him rolling but he’s on a pitch count from his school. We’ll take the four solid innings.”
The Foresters tallied on another supporting run in the bottom of the fifth after left fielder Ryan Cash scampered home on a wild pitch, giving the ’Sters a 2-0 lead heading into the second half of the game
In the seventh, the Foresters bullpen ran into rare trouble. After shutout innings by Drake Greenwood and Caden Monke, reliever Brock Helverson gave up three walks and one hit to four straight batters. Elijah Trest was tasked with minimizing the damage in a 2-1 game with the bases loaded and no outs. Minimize it he did, striking out the side after only walking one hitter. That got the ’Sters would get out of the seventh merely tied at 2-2. Trest, the University of Arkansas junior, pitched through a scoreless eighth inning as well, eventually picking up the win
“We got ourselves in a hole with all the walks” said Pintard. “Last time Elijah was out there, we put him in a stressful situation. He got out of bases loaded, no outs with only one run. It was really clutch.”
With momentum on the verge of switching hands, a big hit was needed from a Foresters bat, and Franklin was able to provide just that. After a blooping RBI double down the right field line by Tevin Tucker led off the bottom of the seventh, Franklin crushed a line drive in the right center field gap, bringing Tucker home. That run proved to be all that was needed for reliever Hunter Breault in the ninth, as he got through the Blues with 1-2-3 inning for the save.
“That RBI was clutch,” said Pintard. “Kennedy was out tonight so we decided to put some power in the beginning. Franklin also gets more at bats when he’s in the one-hole, so we like that.
Franklin, batting .364 with 11 RBI in eight games, reflected on what’s been a more than productive summer for him.
“I came in this summer looking to cut down on my strikeouts. Focusing on pitch selection, I’ve been finding good pitches to hit and putting good swings on them. I’ve been getting used to hitting third with Kennedy leading off, which allows me to see a couple pitches before I go up there. I hit leadoff in high school so it doesn’t matter too much.”
The Foresters complete their homestand tomorrow against the San Luis Obispo Blues at Pershing Park. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 pm on AM 1290.