By Harry Croton
It was nothing but smooth surfing Thursday in Fullerton, as the undefeated ’Sters shot the curl on the Orange County Riptide 13-0. En route to the club’s sixth straight win to start the season, Chase Illig, John Jensen, and Michael Hobbs earned the name of “Big Kahuna.”
Jensen homered for the second time each in as many games, driving in three of the Foresters’ 13 runs, providing starting pitcher Hobbs (5 IP, 0 ER) with his second win of the season. Illig’s blast was his second in three games.
Hobbs was spectacular, allowing just two hits, striking out six, and retiring the final 12 batters he faced in order through his five scoreless innings of work. He left with an 8-0 lead, and Bailey Reid, Miles Sandum, Jackson Wolf, and Chase Wallace all tossed perfect relief innings of their own to help secure the shutout.
The Foresters offense followed suit in emphatic fashion, exploding for six runs in the third inning, paced by Jensen’s two-run moonshot over the ivy-shrouded right center field wall.
“I’ve been focusing extra hard on my patience early in the count,” Jensen said. “[Coach Bill Pintard] has also really helped guide the mental side of my approach. He reminds me to ‘keep it suave,’ which allows me to relax at the plate and ‘dance with the pitcher.’” The dynamic outfielder is now riding a pretty suave six-game hitting streak.
Also contributing to Thursday’s offensive surge was leadoff hitter Logan Allen, who scored four runs and stole three bases, adding to his team-leading totals of 14 and 9, respectively. Illig also notched two more hits, including his solo homer in the seventh, giving him a team-high three round-trippers on the year.
The 13-run effort marked Santa Barbara’s highest total for a single game this season—a huge testament to the ferocity of a club that entered today’s contest averaging just under 10 runs scored per game (9.8).
The ‘Sters completed their three-game road trip on a perfect note, and will now bring an undefeated 6-0 record back to Pershing Park for a three-game home stand, beginning Friday against the visiting Ventura Pirates. Tune into 1290 AM for complete coverage, starting with the Coastal Copy Pregame Show at 5:50.