One night after their worst loss of the season to the rival San Luis Obispo Blues, the Santa Barbara Foresters headed north to face off at Sinsheimer Park and returned to Santa Barbara with a 2-0 shutout victory
Santa Barbara, trailing by three games in the standings to their California Collegiate League North Division foe, reduced the deficit to two with the win. The Forester pitching performance was a welcome sight following a tough loss as the bullpen allowed seven runs Tuesday night.
Parker French, a right-hander from Texas, returned to the mound for the first time since June 18 when he struggled against the Conejo Oaks, giving up five runs in only one-third of an inning. French ended his day after four innings and just 58 pitches, but could not earn the victory having not gone five innings.
Both sides did little offensively early on in Wednesday evening’s game, as both French and Blues’ starter Jordan Smith held their opposition scoreless for three innings. French struck out four through his four innings as he held down a potent Blues offense.
Finally, the Foresters broke through first in the fourth inning following a walk to Garrett Mattlage and an error to allow Ryan O’Hearn reach first on an error. A pair of sacrifices, a bunt by Louie Lechich to move the runners up and a sacrifice fly by Shane Hoelscher, pushed the first run of the game.
In the fifth, Colt Atwood drew a two-out walk and UCSB’s Joey Epperson ripped a ball off the wall in left center. With two outs and moving on contact, Atwood cruised into score to make the lead 2-0 for the Foresters.
Following French’s departure after the fourth, the Foresters bullpen took turns holding the Blues scoreless. First Blake Fox threw a scoreless fifth and Jace James followed up with a scoreless sixth.
Patrick Weigel entered in the seventh for his 11th appearance in 23 games, striking out the side. He remained in for the eighth, allowing a leadoff double which moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. However, he recovered to retire the next two, including a strikeout to end the inning. The four strikeouts added to Weigel’s season total of 25, equalling a 11.4 K/9 and 8.3 K/BB ratio.
Hunter Lemke entered in the ninth to close out the game and preserve the shutout, setting down the Blues in order and striking out two for his second save of the year.